In the words of Peter Griffin, do you know what really grinds my gears? When people – family, friends, strangers, whomever – feel the need to provide their opinion on the way that they think you should live your life. Both of our families are supportive of our decisions, so we’re lucky in that regard. And our friends take things in stride and only give their opinions when we either ask for them or when they really feel like we could benefit from hearing them. But they don’t push or prod. If we take their advice, great. If not, no big deal.
The people I’m talking about are really strangers – people that only interact with you for a brief period of time who you only know in certain context and neither of you really know anything about each other’s lives.
I had a customer today I was chatting with while I was waiting on her, and somehow kids came up. She commented that she noticed I was married and asked if we had any kids. I told her no, we had 4 cats but no kids. She goes into this tirade about how I’m not doing my “womanly duty” to my husband and society by having kids and how she’s sure my husband really does want kids and then finished it up with a you know you’re not getting any younger. I replied that I believed that the decision to have kids was between my husband and myself. She told me I was being selfish and I’d regret it some day. She grabbed her receipt with a huff and flounced (I’m not kidding, she flounced) off.
Who the FUCK do you think you are? Why would you say any of this to someone? For all she knew we could have tried, had fertility problems, miscarriages, or just weren’t able to have them? Does she have any idea how damaging those kinds of comments to people she doesn’t know could be?
Between us, one of the biggest reasons we have for not getting pregnant (other than our ridiculous work schedules that would never work for day care and that fact that we’re broke), is postpartum psychosis. I have been psychotic before, so I’d be at a huge risk for it to happen again. I don’t want to be one of those women you read about that snapped and killed her child. My shrink claims that we could minimize the risk, but the meds I currently take and am stable on I would not be able to take if I were pregnant. I’ve been on the meds that are considered “safe,” and they just don’t work for me. I had major episodes while on them. Not psychotic, but still pretty bad ones. I won’t do it. Luckily, Mike understands and is on board. Sure, he’d like to have kids, but he understands that this is a really legit fear. No, fear isn’t the right word. Terror. Abject terror.
Which brings me to my next point (not really, but I couldn’t come up with a better segue. Sue me). People assume that I’m jealous of my friends that have achieved even a modicum of success. That it must be hard for me to watch my friends succeed in their careers. I’ll admit that sometimes it can be hard, but it’s not jealousy or even a ‘when is it my turn’ kind of thing. Sometimes it makes me sad that we’re not able to live the kind of life we want to right now. I feel bad because I dragged Mike into this mess, even though I did it with his permission. But I know that at the end of the day, when I do finally achieve my own successes that we’ll be better off for it. We’ve learned a lot of hard lessons about budgeting and living within our means. We’ve learned that mental health is more important sometimes than anything else. We’ve learned what it’s really like to rely on each other. We’ve learned to make hard choices. We’ve learned to do without and to be thankful for what we have. And isn’t that a success in and of itself?