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Childlessness [Feb. 6th, 2016|10:44 pm]
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So, during the whole transition process, I've always had the option of doing something to combat feeling bad about not being female enough.

The problem with that is that there's a natural limit to what can be done and, having gone nearly through the whole transition process, I've hit that limit.

The limit would be fine if what I felt and what I wanted could fit inside that limit. I've always been dreading, though, that one day, I might hit something I couldn't deal with, couldn't solve. Something I desperately need but could never have. I've often wondered that, if I hit that, would I be able to go on and would I have the courage?

I think I've hit such a point.

The problem is children. I can't have any. I've never really had a burning need to have any. I've never really considered that it's something that I need to do to feel female and even to be fulfilled.

Suddenly, though, I'm not feeling that way. I'm not sure why, but it's been going to work that did it. I pass very well and I'm generally accepted as being female. So when I was working in the school, I started trying to build social relationships with the women there. That's when I realised that everything they talked about involved... children. Pregnancy, what their 3 year old was doing, the school travails of their 14 year old and all the things that go with it.

I tried to cope with that and listened patiently, tried to participate and be sensitive to their need to talk about it. But it's a topic that hurt. And it kept hurting for me. To engage and deal with it was to wrap myself up in a blanket of pain that never goes away. It hurts. Like a bruise that I press and it doesn't seem to go away.

The scary thing is that, there's no sympathy or understanding there were I to try and talk about it. At least, I hadn't particularly talked about it at the school, but I tried at the current place I work at with a few people. The general view seems to be "then you should adopt", leaving me feeling a bit floundered and lost, because I feel like that should be a good response, but it isn't.

In the meantime, I'm trying to find interesting things to do, engage in a career or do interesting things. But there seems to be this bizarre assumption that I either am going to have a family or have one, so I'll be less reliable, less motivated and care less about what I do. Given that my job will have a huge chunk of my life, I'd like it to be cool and have some meaning.

I wouldn't mind being childless if I could do something useful or something useful would come of it. I think I have a lot to offer and, well, if I can't give any empathy or love to a child, I can use that in the world, make it a nicer and better place.

Only, I'm learning, that's really not available, because, yeah, too busy presumed to be having children to be offered the kind of jobs that I need. Meanwhile, no one really understands why I'd feel driven to abandon a physics based career which would pay really well in favour of something fulfilling in different ways.

It's also not something I seem to be able to talk about in interviews for jobs, either, which makes life difficult. It seems to be considered a "personal" thing, a lot like being trans is considered "personal", yet has real professional effects. It's maddening being told that it has no bearing on my professional relations yet having my presumed childfullness dominate my career anyway.

In terms of adoption, that scares me. I don't know if I want to be saddled with children that aren't mine, which really makes me feel guilty, and anyway, I don't know if I'd love some random baby thrust upon me by fate. It seems crazy to think that this would be equivalent.

In terms of relationships, it brings issues that complicate things. I'm a bit scared about whether anyone would love me if I couldn't have children. It seems that a prime purpose of women marrying men is to have children and it scares me that no one would want me or love me if I couldn't. If I like men, what use would I be to them? What good would I be? It's quite terrifying to suddenly think of myself as useless to any prospective partners. At the very least, it must also reduce my dating pool and this makes the adoption suggestion even more suspect.

If the main purpose of being married is to give your partner children, and having children requires your partner to support you, then why would someone support you raising other people's babies? It seems odd that people in secure relationships, those based on the very premise of providing children, seem to find it natural and right that I would just find someone who would be willing to support me.

What's also scary is that, from inside me, there's a sense that, if I love someone, I'd want to have their children. I don't even know where it's come from. I've never experienced it before and it terrifies me. If I love someone, would that feeling tear me apart? I don't know. If it does, wouldn't it be better never to love?

Where I go with this, I don't know exactly, although writing this out has helped a lot. For one thing, it's forced me to go looking on the internet for information about this and for other people in the same boat. The internet, being the internet, has obliged wonderfully and all it took was a Google search for "childlessness". I have facts and figures and no longer feel remotely so alone, or undesirable. Equally, I've realised that I'm not the only one. The things I'm complaining about are plastered all over these websites in much the same way. That helps a lot.

It's also brought a whole load of social pressures I've never experienced before into sharp relief. Having children was never something I was expected to do, nor to be the one raising them. It's completely new and alien to me to be the one expected to do that in a relationship and it never occurred to me that this would happen. It's like I knew I was a woman and I knew women would experience these kinds of pressure, but at no point did I think this would apply to me. Of course it would apply to me. I'm an idiot to think otherwise and at least I can do something about it.