Babies or No Babies – Do we get to decide? How do we decide? Do we decide and then something else happens anyway? Do they come to us, but are taken away? Sometimes the final result is that we are in the No Baby land. What is that?
Choice: No Babies
We live in a wonderful land where we have been given the freedom to choose our life and lifestyle. – mostly. This means that most have the choice to marry and whether to bring children into the marriage. Some married couples make the purposeful choice to not have babies. The rationales are many and varied. For some, it is a political or societal belief system that they hold closely that includes not bringing more human beings into the world to populate the planet. For some, it is less about population and more about chosen lifestyles where children would not fit. Others may have family history of a disease, genetic disability, or mental disorders and decide not to chance passing these things on. I’m certain there are others and certainly variations on the ones I have mentioned.
The most unfortunate thing I see transpiring between the Babies by Choice and the No Babies by Choice groups is a lack of compassion toward each other. We do not walk in each other’s shoes. We walk in our own. This is an enormous life decision for each group and there is no room for cluck-clucking or derision – as in the Baby-full crowd bemoaning all the fine experiences missed by the No Baby crowd – or, the No Baby crowd calling the Baby-full crowd “breeders.” Please. Let us be respectful of our fellow life-travelers.
No Choice – No Babies
This is a tough one. Those who would choose to have Babies, but through the vagaries of life, were denied that request. Perhaps their life partner failed to show up in a timely manner. Or, as a married couple, no babies came after years of trying. Sometimes, pregnancies occur, but, as a friend of mine explained, “they just keep falling out too early,” which was her way to apply humor to her series of early miscarriages. Whatever the reason, the result is the same: no children of our own in this life. Adopted Babies come into the lives of some – but not all. Many are still without Babies.
There is usually a grief process to slog through when the final curtain falls and there is certainty that no babies are coming. Profound losses deserve grief time. And, as with anyone walking with grief, a time comes when a new direction is required – a reconstruction of the former life plan – a reconnoitering and mobilization. I have witnessed this process with a variety of people and they are among some of the most-admired people I know.
When denied babies of their own in this life, some go find themselves some Babies in other places. One especially grand lady I know explained to me that while she and her husband planned “to have a dozen,” nature would say no to them. She had many siblings who had children and she found that as the childless aunt, she had both the resources to fill in for their physical needs and the available ear and understanding heart to care for Babies in need or crisis. She was able to place bicycles under Christmas trees when otherwise there would have been none. She has been consulted on many occasions in the role of confidant that sometimes the Parent cannot fill.
I have two other wonderful people in my life who have shown me how this is done with style, skill, and phenomenal grace. No babies of their own, they have entered the lives of nieces and nephews and provided shoulders, ears, transportation and cheering section. The resources, examples, bonding, support and parenting they have provided will hold sway with those children forever. I have seen mothering and fathering at its finest in these so-called “childless” people. One never knows when and how Babies can come into a life. It is best to have a channel always open for when they come.
If your arms are aching for Babies, somewhere there are Babies aching for your arms. Impacting the next generation – no matter whose body they come from, is a noble calling indeed.