Monday, February 29, 2016

Single/Diabetes/No Children. Married/Diabetes/No Children

I should have titled this post: Single/Diabetes/ No children. Married/Diabetes/No Children.
Sometimes It's A Choice, Sometimes It Isn't - either way, don't be a jerk.

Recently, I attended a friend's work function and was having a good time, meeting interesting people and enjoying my night out. 
Midway through the evening I was introduced to a friend's work acquaintance, who informed me (after quizzing me on my lack of children/single status,) and one too many drinks: Well... it’s your own fault you don’t have kids - you should have made it a priority in your early 20’s and gotten married - even if you got divorced, you'd still have a kid.
I wanted to tell her to fuck-off. 
Instead, I turned around and walked away.
Walking away doesn’t mean I wasn’t hurt or angry by what she said, because I most certainly was.
I could feel my face turning red and my eyes were starting to sting.
I walked away when all I wanted to do was rip her a new one,  because I refused to argue with someone who was at least two martinis in.
More import, I was attending a friend's work function where I was a guest  and I needed to be considerate of my friend and her employers. 

And I'm better than that - at least I'm better than the MartiniHarpy. 

And FTR, I always wanted kids - and I still do. 
And every day I struggle with the reality that it most likely isn't going to happen.
Outside of the DOC, I am a single woman without children - to many I don’t count - or at least that’s how it feels.

And inside the DOC there are times when I still don’t count. 

I’ve gone to events where they have support groups for young people with diabetes, married people with diabetes, parents who have diabetes, parents whose kids have diabetes, grandparents whose grandkids have diabetes, pregnancy with diabetes, change of life with diabetes, seniors with diabetes - just to name a few. 
ALL, GREAT & MUCH NEEDED Diabetes SUPPORT GROUPS - And I'm so incredibly glad they exist.
 But when you’re single without children/married without children and not sure it’s ever going to happen/or it’s your choice for it to not happen, you don’t fit into any acknowledged or considered groups - things get awkward quick and feelings get hurt.

Bottom line: Everybody needs support. 

I don’t want society or my community to overlook us - I don’t want you to feel sorry for us either - but I do want you to consider us and remember us.

When a woman or a man is struggling with accepting not having children (because of life, diabetes, infertility issues, because it’s their choice,) it’s a very emotional issue that is always there - even when you think you’re “OK with it.” 

It only takes one insensitive remark to realize that “it” still hurts. 

Remarks like: 

What’s wrong with you? 

Is it because of your diabetes? 

Is it because you have diabetes complications? 

Who will take care of you when you’re old? 

Well... it’s your own fault you don’t have kids - you should have made it a priority in your early 20’s and gotten married - even if you'd divorced, you'd still have a kid.

Here’s the thing: Like living with diabetes, people will say whatever they want to you if you don’t have children. They feel it is their right and that they are doing you a favor - never once considering your feelings or circumstances. 

Or they ignore you. 
Or they brush you off by saying: You wouldn’t understand, you don’t have children.
And true or not, that statement cuts many of us like a knife - so don’t say it.

Personally, I always wanted children, I always thought I would have children - biologically, through adoption, or both. But I don’t have children, and I mightn't ever - and it's hard to to accept. 

And sometimes it makes me really sad. 

But not being a parent doesn't make me any less of a person.

That doesn’t mean I’m not maternal or a "kid person"( I am both,) and if I was neither, that doesn’t mean that it’s OK to overlook others like me, because it’s not.

Not being a parent doesn’t mean I’m stone hearted or invisible - though invisibility would be an awesome super power to have. 

Being "childless," doesn’t mean I haven’t loved, mentored, and been there for my nieces and nephews, my friends children, and children/teens I’ve become friends/mentors with because of diabetes. 
Now more than ever - I make it a point to be there for all of the above - to be an aunt for other peoples children - and to be there for others who struggle with the same issues I do - and many issues I don’t. My world isn't childless. 

If you're my friend, I'm there for you. 
If you have diabetes or someone you love has diabetes - I'm there for you, no matter the type. 

So why am I writing this? 
  1. I’ve struggled with these feelings for a long time
  2. I get emails on this subject from women in the DOC who don’t have children 
  3. I’m friends with many women and men in the DOC and outside the DOC who struggle with this issue
  4. **See above paragraph in blue. Then use it as a reminder that kindness, empathy, and compassion count. That what you say/how you say it matters, that opinions are like other parts of our anatomy, and that in the world and in the DOC, it does indeed take a village. 
And our village is made up of all types, each with a story to tell - and every member in our village needs support.


EM's Corner said...

Hmmm, I've heard other D people lament similar feelings. It's strange while very maternal, I just don't give a crap what other people think!

Frankly, with severe climate change and water shortages I would never put a human on this planet. People are walking around populating this world with so little thought, consuming everything in sight-- wake up it ain't getting better. At all.

As far as getting old and having someone care for us - what a selfish and horrible reason to have children! Awful! Make friends with a shot gun is the way I think. Why do humans want to extend their time on this in crisis over burdened Eart?

As for fostering and adoption - I 100% think this is the very best thing anyone can do. I often play with the idea, and then realize how much money it is to bring a child up right in this world. I have grown more comfortable in my late 40's with the idea that I am not going to have kids. Most of my friends don't have children either interestingly... And I put my energy into my community, wildlife, rescuing animals.

Any one that has the chutzpah to critique you or give you their unsolicited views- work, parties otherwise, I usually say it like it is. I don't have children and I am doing great! And then I say I hope your children will have the resources to thrive in a a world that is over crowed. I smile raise my martini and toast them.

StephenS said...

Thank you Kelly... Thank you.

k2 said...

It's great that it doesn't bother you & I respect your choices and applaud your stance on adoption involvement in your community and rescuing wildl life, everyone is different & it's an emotional issue for manny.
While it may not bother you, many PWD planned to be parents - and it didn't happen - or that window is closing fast.
Like you, I almost always speak my mind, but It was important for me to be respectful to my friend & her employers.

k2 said...


Rick Phillips said...

Kelly: I do not think anyone gets to judge any situation or lack thereof. I made a choice many years ago to get married and as part of being married Sheryl and i decided to have children. I love my sons more than life itself and we have been married almost 38 years. It has made all the difference to me.

But that is to me and we live in a world of infinite choices for different people. I am inspired by my great aunt who was married 8 times to 6 different men and never had children. Her response to all of these question was mind your own business. Well OK she had a word in there between own and business. I loved my great aunt. LOL

I want you to know i referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of February 29, 2016. I hope this brings you some additional readership.

Susan said...

My sweet, if I go into why this touched me, I'll be in tears all day - so let's have this conversation on a beach in AC with our own martini's. Love you!!!

That said - Karma bites back and her children may be trolls as a result. Then she can be one of those parents people look at like "It's you own fault for being a terrible parent" and maybe she will understand... or not...