In 2010 I blogged here about the thoughts I had regarding Kyle's and my decision of whether to have children. Much thought has been given to this issue since then, and much discussion has taken place. Either decision was going to have its drawbacks and neither was an easy choice.
We've decided that we will not be having children - at least not our own. We are fortunate to have friends and family with children, and so children will still be a part of our life, even if they're not our own. Kyle and I have a 5 year old goddaughter who is precious to our hearts. We adore her and she is very much a part of our lives and us a part of hers. She stays over at our house a couple of nights a year, and her and Kyle have a Pixar film party. We make Christmas cookies together every year and then go look at Christmas lights, followed by mugs of hot chocolate and pizza. We babysit her, go to her school programs and love her to bits. I hold onto these bits of time with her and know how fast the time is going by. I don't take her for granted for a moment. We have nieces and nephews, and friends with beautiful kids. We get our kid fixes when and where we can.
Lots of reasons exist for our decision, but two factors played the biggest part - my health and wellbeing and the difference in our ages. I am not currently in a healthy place - mentally or physically - to take on parenthood. I've struggled a great deal with managing my mood and anxiety and getting back to full time gainful employment. I get easily overwhelmed, easily tired, and my sleep schedule is a wreck. I would want to be in the best possible place to become a mom. Meanwhile, Kyle and I are 19 years apart, and while he may still be able to make babies, he doesn't want to start having kids much older than he is now. And I respect that. So now is not a good time for me, and later doesn't work well for him. In some ways I guess we fall into the "now or never" mindset. And now just isn't the time.
To prevent any "oopsies", we also talked a great deal about birth control. My experience with bipolar disorder gives me enough meds to remember to take, so I wasn't wild about anymore pills. I also had to address a legitimate concern with hormones and birth control. Bipolar disorder comes with enough mood issues on its own - I didn't need the added chaos of hormonal fluctuations. Neither of us were wild about surgical intervention. So I finally opted for the Paragard intrauterine device. This IUD is made of copper and hormone free. It's good for 10 years, so no pills, patches, injections, etc. I think it's interesting how little information there is for women with bipolar disorder about their options when it comes to birth control. This is such a big issue, and so hard to find resources.
I'm going through a sort of grieving process with this. It's a loss of sorts, but it would have been the same process either way. It's just a matter of what is being grieved for either path. I'm content with my decision, though. I haven't second guessed it. I am confident we are doing the right thing - even if it isn't the easy thing. I know that someday we may choose to foster. Plenty of children out there looking for a soft place to fall. So I'm optimistic that the future holds lots of delights, even without children of our own.