Clarification: No Exclusion Here
I want to be clear that I don’t think that I’m better than you are because I waited to start a family. Wanting to parent but feeling like the responsible thing to do was to wait was kind of like a scab that people kept ripping off with exclusionary suggestions that I could not understand or my experiences were not good enough because I did not have a child in my home full time. My years as a nanny weren’t enough to join in the conversation. Being the go to caregiver when a family member would travel for weeks at a time was still just babysitting, despite legal paperwork that named me as guardian. So often I felt I had to explain why, even as a single women, completing an education and establishing a career, I was not parenting “my own child”.
For me it wasn’t about infertility (that I know of), but I know many others who have felt the sting of comments and questions from others about parenting. As excluded as I felt, I am sure those suffering from infertility felt even more devalued and vulnerable without the defense of responsible choices that I tried to use. I still find it interesting that I felt a need to defend myself, yet apparently Americans are most skeptical about single mother families.
I don’t want that old defensiveness to in any way sound like judgement for those who were able to or forced to start families earlier than I did. Clearly, single moms need to stick together. Whether you are young or old, single or married, working or staying at home, if you are trying to do the best for your kids, I consider us on the same team. If you want to parent, are trying to get pregnant, or are in the process of adoption, you are likely consciously considering the best interests of your future children and doing research on what is best for kids and will be best for your kids. Of course you have something to add to the conversation. I have felt the sting of exclusion and want to ensure that I am not unintentionally doing the same to anyone else.