parents

You don't need to be a mum to have kids in your life.

Jen Aniston with Courtney Cox and her daughter, Coco

I signed up for some new health insurance on the weekend and as I was clicking through the checklist of boxes of what I did and didn’t need, I realised that I’m not going to have kids.

It hit me like a tonne of bricks as I scrolled to the ‘pregnancy and reproductive services’ box. I hovered over this box for about half an hour. I kept getting up and down from my desk, wandering around my office feeling a range of totally unexpected emotions.

I was completely unprepared for this.

I’d probably describe myself as a career girl; I work in the media, I get to travel a lot, and to date, have had some great loves in my life and some great adventures thus far.  I lead a full life. Is it a happy life? Yes it is. Is it a full life? Yes it is.

So why did this little frickin box cause me so much torment?

It’s the smallest things that unravel us sometimes. I’m about to turn 42 this week and I’m really loving being in my forties. I’ve never felt as confident as I do these days – I have a really clear sense of who I am and what I want in life. So maybe I’ve got some pre-birthday blues?

Dunno.

That frickin box.

It made me wonder if I’m not following life’s recipe properly or if I’ve missed an ingredient somewhere. I don’t ever remember feeling the yearning to have children that some women talk about. I’ve never felt the pain of an empty womb or getting clucky around babies. I’m lucky to have 7 nieces and nephews that I’ve watched grow into amazing people and have been a really ‘hands on’ aunty.   I’ve always adored other people’s kids, loved them to bits in fact.

So why am I feeling this now?

I don’t want to buy into the notion that because I’m a woman I should be procreating but is there something lurking deep down in my psyche that in fact, still clings to the hope that I’ll have a kid?

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Maybe.

Some would say that I’ve left my run too late whilst others would say it just wasn’t meant to be. I’m not comforted by either to be honest. I was briefly filled with the sense that I may have missed out on something and that little box made me realise that I’m entering a phase where the possibility of give birth is drawing to a close. I was stunned to feel sad about this: staggered in fact.

I sat in front of the screen, clutching the mouse until my fingers ached.

I’m not saying I won’t have kids, I’ll always have kids in my life: this I know for sure. They’re just not going to come out of my body.  There, I’ve said it.

So why am I so sad?

I reckon if you’re lucky enough to have a kid in your life whether it’s a niece, a nephew, a god child or the kid of a friend, your title becomes irrelevant – you offer your love, boots and all.  The bottom line is who we love, and how we love. That’s what’s important.  When I reached this in my head, I finally exhaled and let the mouse breathe a little.

If I buy into the notion that not having kids means I’ve failed as a woman, it will sink me. I’ve simply not trodden the birth path and this is ok.

It has to be.

So did I tick the box?

No, I didn’t.

I finished the application and I got a great deal. Just as I logged off the doorbell rang and my nephew was on the doorstep to surprise me from WA. A big hug and a few tears later, I’m more than convinced that as long as you have the love, the rest falls into place.

Except the mouse. I’m going to need a new one of those.

Serena is a producer / journo and the co-creator/producer of the reality series Mad Hatters. An adoring owner of her puppy Lola, a drinker of big reds and a penguin at heart, her secret shame is her addiction to Jersey Shore.