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Somewhere there is a woman: 30, no children. People ask her, “Still no kids?” Her response varies from day to day, but it usually includes forced smiles and restraint.

“Nope, not yet,” she says with a chuckle, muffling her frustration.

“Well, don’t wait forever. That clock is ticking, ya know,” the sage says before departing, happy with herself for imparting such erudite wisdom. The sage leaves. The woman holds her smile. Alone, she cries…

Cries because she’s been pregnant 4 times and miscarried every one.

Cries because she started trying for a baby on her wedding night, and that was 5 years ago.

Cries because her husband has an ex-wife and she has given him children.

Cries because she wants desperately to try in vitro but can’t even afford the deposit.

Cries because she’s done in vitro (multiple rounds) and still has no children.

Cries because her best friend wouldn’t be a surrogate. “It would be too weird,” she said.

Cries because her medication prevents pregnancy.

Cries because this issue causes friction in her marriage.

Cries because the doctor said she’s fine, but deep inside she knows it’s her.

Cries because her husband blames himself, and that guilt makes him a hard person to live with.

Cries because all her sisters have children.

Cries because one of her sisters didn’t even want children.

Cries because her best friend is pregnant.

Cries because she got invited to another baby shower.

Cries because her mother keeps asking, “Girl, what are you waiting on?”

Cries because her in-laws want to be grandparents.

Cries because her neighbour has twins and treats them like shit.

Cries because 16-year-olds get pregnant without trying.

Cries because she’s an amazing aunt.

Cries because she’s already picked out names.

Cries because there’s an empty room in her house.

Cries because there is an empty space in her body.

Cries because she has so much to offer.

Cries because he’d be a great dad.

Cries because she’d be a great mother, but isn’t.

Somewhere else is another woman: 34, five children. People say to her, “Five? Good lord, I hope you’re done!” And then they laugh… because those types of comments are funny. The woman laughs too, but not in earnest. She changes the subject, as she always does, and gives the disrespect a pass. Just another day. Alone, she cries…

Cries because she’s pregnant with another and feels like she has to hide the joy.

Cries because she always wanted a big family and doesn’t see why people seem so disturbed by it.

Cries because she has no siblings and felt profoundly lonely as a child.

Cries because her Granny had 12 and she’d love to be just like her.

Cries because she couldn’t imagine life without her children, but people treat her like they’re a punishment.

Cries because she doesn’t want to be pitied.

Cries because people assume this isn’t what she wanted.

Cries because they assume she’s just irresponsible.

Cries because they believe she has no say.

Cries because she feels misunderstood.

Cries because she’s tired of defending her private choices.

Cries because she and her husband are perfectly capable of supporting their family but that doesn’t seem to matter.

Cries because she’s tired of the “funny” comments.

Cries because she minds her own business.

Cries because she wishes others would mind theirs.

Cries because sometimes she doubts herself and wonders if she should have stopped two kids ago.

Cries because others are quick to offer criticism and slow to offer help.

Cries because she’s sick of the scrutiny.

Cries because she’s not a side show.

Cries because people are rude.

Cries because so many people seem to have opinions on her private life.

Cries because all she wants to do is live in peace.

Another woman: 40, one child. People say to her, “Only one? You never wanted any more?”

“I’m happy with my one,” she says calmly, a rehearsed response she’s given more times than she can count. Quite believable. No one would ever suspect that alone, she cries…

Cries because her one pregnancy was a miracle.

Cries because her son still asks for a brother or sister.

Cries because she always wanted at least three.

Cries because her second pregnancy had to be terminated to save her life.

Cries because her doctor says it would be “high-risk.”

Cries because she’s struggling to care for the one she has.

Cries because sometimes one feels like two.

Cries because her husband won’t even entertain the thought of another.

Cries because he husband died and she hasn’t found love again.

Cries because her family thinks one is enough.

Cries because she’s deep into her career and can’t step away.

Cries because she feels selfish.

Cries because she still hasn’t lost the weight from her from her first pregnancy.

Cries because her postpartum depression was so intense.

Cries because she can’t imagine going through that again.

Cries because she has body issues and pregnancy only exacerbates it.

Cries because she still battles bulimia.

Cries because she had to have a hysterectomy.

Cries because she wants another baby, but can’t have it.

These women are everywhere. They are our neighbours, our friends, our sisters, our co-workers, our cousins. They have no use for our advice or opinions. Their wombs are their own. Let’s respect that.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Share your comments below.

Published here with full permission from Nadirah Angail

Read more from Nadirah here…

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  • Not very sensible or thoughtful people making comments like this ! My sister and brother in law got from his parents a year after they married baby clothes !! With other words give us grandchildren… So hurtful, they tried to conceive but couldn’t. Seven years later they did conceive spontaneous and had 2 more children after their first. When their 3rd child was born with Down syndrome his parents again were filled with their own sadness and grieve and walked away… So sad !

    Reply

  • It really peeves me when I hear people criticizing a woman because she doesn’t have any children. They don’t stop to think there may be a legitimate reason she doesn’t have or want to have children. There may be a medical reason other than one that prevents pregnancy. Ladies shouldn’t be expected to expalin themselves. Men may decide they don’t want to father a child for the same reason. Some medical conditions are genetic and reduce quality of life considerably as you go a little older. Would you willing have your child go through what you know you will go through?

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  • Everyone has a right to have kids or not have kids – don’t question it – unless they have kids and don’t look after them properly – I don’t believe they should have a right to have them especially if they have other children already in the welfare system

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  • I love this. It is no one’s business what you do with your family!

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  • Absolutely! People are too often quick to judge when we don’t know their story. Three different scenarios with all the typical assumptions and unwanted comments. So many women struggle with this and unfortunately we don’t realise just how hurtful our words can be

    Reply

  • Another is people commenting when you have a big gap in the ages of your children. There is a reason for that and not parents appreciate the questions or comments. Sometimes it is an unplanned pregnancy a few years later than the previous one.


    • Indeed, it’s quite common actually. My sister had two kids from the first marriage and another one with the second marriage. There are 11 years of difference between her second and third child.

    Reply

  • I’m the older mum with only one child and yes I did get all the questions and comments, but fortunately I was always able to stand my ground with a smile. People’s comments have never worried me because ultimately it’s my life and my family and no one else’s business.

    Reply

  • Wow, 3 completely different life stories involving children, or the lack of children here. Just goes to show why we shouldn’t jump to conclusions and judge people for the lives they lead, we do not know why

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  • Sure does. I’m the 42 year old with only one child, that one child is a miracle. My husband won’t have another

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  • So many women. So many stories.
    I’ve just got one child, luckily born with IVF. When people ask me me why I “decided” to have just one child, doesn’t she feel alone.. I really don’t know if I should even answer. Even worst when people tell me that “I have it easy because I just have one child”.
    Let’s stop judging women. Most of the times we don’t know what they are going through.

    Reply

  • Unless I know the person, and am close enough to know thee circumstances, I don’t ask or comment.

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  • Love love love this!!
    No one has the right to judge another for what she can’t control, and also for her choices in life.
    No two people are the same, we all have different circumstances. Think before you speak.

    Reply

  • Such beautiful words. Thank you for this, it is just beautiful .

    Reply

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