I am barren, as in the Biblical sense. While I am only 41, I am in the full throes of menopause, complete with hot flashes, mood swings, and all of the wild rumpus that accompanies the "change" . . . approximately ten years earlier than most of my peers.
[Insert 3-letter acronym here.]
This was a tough diagnosis. While it was suspected for quite some time, confirmation provided an immediately unwelcomed sense of closure. It would not be impossible (until I had no period for a year) but it would be highly unlikely. The idea that I would never bear a child took my breath away. For a while, I lost my sense of value, my sense of purpose. I felt broken and betrayed, feeling like I was less of a woman because my barren body would never produce fruit. I was profoundly devastated and incredibly enraged.
As I wrestled with my anger, I prayed for a sense of meaning. And for forgiveness for the terrible things I said and thought.
Perhaps I am grasping at straws, but I may have achieved some closure. The fruit we would bear would not be of the human variety, but fruit that sweetens our lives as a couple, fruit that enriches us, body and soul.
My definition of baby was starting to shift. Whether the paradigm shift generated from self-preservation or self-actualization, I will never know. But it's there.
I am 41. My love for children is no less, but my desire to parent may have faded. Maybe it's natural. Women younger than me have children for a reason.
I have so blessings in my life. My husband and I are happily married. I love spending time with him and pursuing our own interests, which mostly involve travel. We are both lucky to have good jobs that we love. We have nieces and nephews that we adore, and we also love the freedom afforded to us by a childfree life.
But this doesn't mean that we're "baby" free.
We hear others call pet projects their "baby" all the time. They take great pains into nurturing their new business or personal goals they set for themselves. Like a baby, it changes and develops and develops new needs. As time goes on, the demands may be less and tasks may be delegated in a way that infancy didn't allow.
I understand that the value of human life trumps any business or pet project. However, for the person or couple who, either by choice or by chance, have not become parents in the traditional sense, this definition or redefinition of purpose, is no less important.
And their lives . . . our lives. . . . are no less full or meaningful because of our lack of offspring.
Our fruit is our lives in love, always fresh and always sweet . . .not a human fruit, but no less treasured.