Am I childless or childfree? Or am I neither? Am I somewhere in between?
I drafted this blog earlier this week but couldn’t finish it at the time. I’ve returned today to edit it and to share it with you ahead of World Childless Week next week, 10-16 September.
Gosh, this blog is going to a tough one to write. I wrote some of it in my head while running along the beach this morning and then while swimming in the sea, looking through my goggles at the shells on the seabed, diving down to pick one up that looked like a heart, running my fingers over its smooth surface, noticing the tiny crack at the top – the tiny crack in the heart.
The first thing that occurred to me as I ran is that I can have these wonderful, peaceful, solo mornings because I don’t have children. I can roll out of bed into my car and onto the beach. I can jog along the sand, allowing my thoughts and feelings to move through me with every stride. I can feel the cool water against my body as I swim.
What a gift. This life of mine really suits me.
But then I don’t know how it feels to be woken up by a child’s soft hand or flawless cheek brushing against mine. I don’t know how it feels to snuggle up to the warm body of a young soul I’ve created with somebody I love, or even on my own.
Of course, nor do I know how it feels to be woken up through the night by a screaming baby or a child who’s having nightmares – to feel like I haven’t slept for weeks, like I’m sleepwalking, like my brain has gone to jelly and my life is unravelling; to feel there’s a little person who depends on me but I’m barely holding it together myself.
Because parenthood is a mixed bag, so I imagine and so I’ve read. There are good days and there are days when you feel like you’re losing yourself, losing your mind.
Just as not having children is a mixed bag too – at least for me.
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