Hello, my name is Ashley and I am a childless, 30 something year old woman, by choice. That may sound like a bold statement to some, but I honestly believe it is because we don’t hear a lot of women making those claims. So, I wanted to have an honest conversation about this because the decision to have children is not always black and white. Some women know they want children, and other women know they do not want children, but there are some women that kind of fall in a grey area, like me. It is not black and white, and I am not always able to clearly answer whether or not I want to have children. Yes, I have been intentional about not having children up until this point, but it is not to say that I NEVER want children. Confused? Me too.
So, why have I made the personal decision to not have children? To give you some background information, I have been married to my husband for 10+ years and together for 12+ years. If we wanted to have children, we would have had them by now, right? Not exactly. To start, it has not been the right time, and I know, I know, there is never a right time to have a baby, but there are also times when it is truly NOT THE RIGHT TIME! I have been in school full time since 2013, that is 7 of the 10 years we have been married. Fortunately, I am nearing the end of my school career, but you have to understand that if I decided to have a baby at some point during the past seven years, I would not be graduating with a doctorate degree in physical therapy in April 2020. Yes, I know, I could have still pursued my educational goals with a baby in tow, but that wasn’t an option for me. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, and please hear me when I say, this was my personal decision. There are women all over the world pursuing higher education while starting and even raising a family. It is just something I did not want to do.
So, here’s the kicker. I am 35, going to be 36 in 2020. This means my chance of getting pregnant naturally has decreased significantly. I am well aware of this, but here’s the thing, my husband and I are kind of selfish. We really enjoy our time together, just the two of us, and while we are open to the idea of having a baby, we are also very much content with our life together. We love being able to plan last minute trips. We love being able to do all the things we enjoy without having to worry about who is going to watch the baby. We love sleeping in. We are happy with our life together as it is.
This is why we have not prioritized planning for a baby. If it were really important that we have a baby after I finish school, we would have taken additional measures to increase our chances, such as freezing my eggs, but having children has never been that important to us. And a quick note to all the women out there that know for certain they want to have children but plan on waiting for whatever reason, be proactive about it. Talk to your OBGYN or a fertility specialist to get all your options. Also, follow Natalie Crawford, MD on Instagram because this is her area of specialty, and she is extremely passionate about educating women.
Alright, back to me. You may be wondering if I ever have moments that I want to have a baby. The answer is yes, especially as I get older. I am a walking contradiction, right? Honestly, I think it is because I love my husband so much that I would love to raise a little human that is equal parts of us. I also think that after 12+ years together, we are better equipped to be parents together than say 10 years ago. We have grown tremendously in our relationship and there are moments I think it is time we take on a new challenge, such as raising a child together.
So, friends, as you can see, it is not clear cut. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that God has a plan for me and if having a baby is part of the plan, then it will happen. I also like to remind myself that having a baby may not be a part of my plan, and I am ok with that. There are so many things that I want to do, and I believe women have ways of “being a mother” without actually having children. As a physical therapist, I will have the opportunity to care for my patients on a daily basis. I also hope to help other women on similar missions. I am open to whatever God has in store for me.
To finish up, my word for 2020 is release, so I am going to release the societal expectations of what it means to be a mother, and trust in God to bring light to what that will mean for me.