“When are you planning to have kids?”
I have been asked this question so many times over the years. It’s started up again because I will be getting married next year and for many people they think this is the next step in a relationship and having kids is something that all couples will eventually do.
Not in mine.
I’ve been carrying a secret for many years and it’s time I told it because I am sick of hurting and grieving.
I had a miscarriage when I was 17. I didn’t even know I was pregnant at the time.
My mum kicked me out when I was 17, she didn’t like the fact I had a boyfriend and she was furious about it. We had a huge fight, not just verbally, my mum beat me up. At one point she had me upside down over the stairs and held me by one leg and was kicking me in the head. She only stopped because I went to grab her leg so she wouldn’t keep kicking me and we ended up both falling down the stairs. My mum was screaming at me to get out, and to never come back. She wouldn’t even let me grab a bag of clothes. I ran away in tears. The neighbours had heard the screaming and shouting and their curtains were twitching, but no one came out.
I got picked up by the police a few hours later because my mum had called them and said I had beaten her up and stolen things from her. I hadn’t, but because we had both fallen down the stairs my mum was already showing bruises and so that was all the evidence they needed.
When the police had finished questioning me and said I could go I went over to my boyfriend’s and I was hysterical. I could barely tell him what happened I was so upset. His mum said I could stay with them and my boyfriend gave me a sleeping tablet to calm me down and I managed to get to sleep. In the morning I woke up with agonising stomach pains and I, and the bed was covered in blood. My miscarriage lasted for two weeks. My relationship didn’t last too long after that either.
Over the years, another pregnancy has not been possible and I don’t know if I would have even carried to full term had I not had a miscarriage. I am deeply scarred by that incident, and I haven’t been able to fully forgive my mum for that night or how my life spiralled into depression and homelessness soon after. She doesn’t even know I was pregnant, and she likely contributed to my miscarriage. I don’t see any point in ever bringing this up with her, especially not now. It won’t change anything, and I need to forgive and move on so I can continue healing. I have tried to forgive her over the years, so I can be free from this pain but every time someone asks me if I have kids, or do I plan to have kids I am transported back to that moment.
I have been told many times I would make a great mum and I should have kids. People think that’s a kind thing to say, and to be told. For me it’s a double edged sword. I don’t know if I would have been a great mum, I am far too scared I might end up becoming abusive and toxic like my mum towards her children even though I have worked long and hard to try and not be anything like her. I know I have the power to break the toxic cycle of learned family behaviour, we all do and we mustn’t be frightened to break the awful cycle.
Over the years I have also heard numerous people say you don’t know what love really is unless you have children. Again, another knife in my heart – just rip it out why don’t you?
Society imposes expectations onto women that the natural life progression is that you get married and have kids. If you don’t do either, people think there must be something wrong with you. I show love in many ways, and I don’t think it’s fair for my capacity to love to be based on whether I have children or not. I didn’t realise there was some kind of hierarchical scale and being a parent was top of the love charts. Congratulations parents – you’ve won the grand prize!
But what about parents who don’t love their children? Whenever I read about a child who has been abused or killed by their parents or care givers, it throws me into such a huge head spin. I have cried numerous times over the years and mourned for babies and children that I read about in the papers or see on the news. How could you do to that to your own flesh and blood, or your partner’s child who is not biologically yours? Having children is a huge blessing, one that isn’t an option to everyone. So many people assume that everyone can have, and wants kids. There are so many reasons why we don’t.
So next time someone asks me if I have kids or when I plan to kids, you will have to excuse me for not wanting to give you a response.
You’ve just reopened my grief for the baby that I lost, and for the baby I probably won’t ever have.