When I was fourteen or fifteen, I had endless conversations with my best friend at school about the kind of man we wanted to marry. Naturally, he had to have a fantastic body and be incredibly rich. Until this wonderful man materialised, we contented ourselves with the usual school-girl crushes.
One of our favourite occupations was to play The Game of Life… with a twist. Instead of playing the usual way of finding out whether we would be rich or poor, what job we would do, and whether we would end up in a mansion or a poky house, we preferred to write our own rules, and concentrated on acquiring as many children as we possibly could. Depending on which squares we landed on we could end up with one child, twins, triplets or quads. I think we even had a square for octuplets! We had to spin the wheel in the middle of the board to find out if they were boys or girls (yellow, orange and red was for girls, while blue, purple and green was for boys). We also had to name all of these children, and we wrote the names down so that we couldn’t get mixed up. They didn’t just get a first name, but second names too. (My first ‘daughter’ was always Kylie Frederica!) It was great fun and once we had run out of our favourite names we scoured her teen magazines for obscure and outlandish ones. One afternoon I managed to acquire 102 children!
We often discussed what we would do if we fell in love but then found out the man we were planning to marry couldn’t give us children (it never entered our heads to wonder if we might be infertile). It was a tough question. Do you ditch the man you love in order to find someone else and have children? Or do you stick with love but head for a lifetime of childlessness? In our young hearts, a lifetime of childlessness looked terrible, absolutely the worst thing that could happen to you.
I’m glad to say that now we’re both approaching middle age (ssshhhh, don’t tell anyone!), we’re both happily married to good men we love with all our hearts. And my friend has been blessed with two lovely children. As for me, you know that Adrian and I are infertile. And I’ve decided that now is the time to take the bull by horns, as it were, and address this on my blog. So many people, singles as well as couples, suffer from childlessness and in the forthcoming posts I want to look at how it can feel, how to learn to live with it, and whether there is healing for the emptiness inside.