311. Childlessness

Many folk tales and other stories begin by telling about a couple or individual who has no children and dearly wishes for a child. And then some miracle or other happens, and a child appears. It could be the regular miracle – a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby. Or it could be something a little more out of the ordinary – perhaps a fairy comes and
turns a wooden puppet into a real child.
No matter what kinds of difficulty you may be having with a child or children of yours, please believe me when I tell you that there are still plenty of people around who dearly wish for children. There are couples dealing with infertility, people who waited to have children and found that they may have waited too long, people who once hoped to have partners and have gradually lost that hope, but still hope to have children. For one reason or another, not everyone who wants children has them.
Childlessness was not one of the sad realities (sad, for me) of life I was willing to cope with. I’ve always wanted to own a house, but if that never happens, I’ll still be okay. I used to dream of travelling, getting married and living happily ever after, and lots of other things that many people dream about. And some of those dreams have lost some of their grandeur not coming true.
But I don’t think I could have coped well with childlessness. I know there are people who haven’t ever had children and don’t ever want to. I’ve spoken with some of them enough to know that they mean it; they know what they want out of life, and there’s no room in their plans for children. For their sake, and for the sake of their non-existent children, I hope they remain childless.
On the other hand, there really are many people who want to have children. It’s a very natural thing for human beings and other animals to want. It hasn’t been long since surviving and reproducing were all we were supposed to do, and although I try to be open-minded about the idea of not ever wanting children (some of my friends say they don’t ever want children, but my best friends have or hope to have them), I can’t really identify with that mindset.
I wish there were a way to straighten out the situation – to bestow children upon the ones who want them, and make sure those who don’t want them don’t have them. Maybe a magical fairy who would go around finding the children who are born unwanted, or who don’t have parents, and skillfully matching them up with people who would make great parents but for lack of children.

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