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Perspective: Not having a child

Aditya Romansa

The day my brother died, my cousin’s wife gave birth to a son. When I held him later that week, my arms ached to hold my own child. That ache eased quickly. I was not the kind of woman who played with dolls, who longed to bring children into the world. My mind, my emotions were too cluttered with trauma, leaving no emotional room for a child.

Even my friend’s babies did not bring back the ache. My mother was gone. Bruce’s mother scared me. Why add more people to an already crowded world? Besides what if I didn’t like my children? What if they were into Goth, or girly stuff, or became drug addicts. When I thought of children I had no hope, only fear and these ugly what ifs.

That same summer our pastor’s daughter announced she was pregnant with Joshua. She was not married. Her parents told the church. They supported their daughter. We all did.

When Joshua was born, we visited him in the hospital. I felt the hope I’d lost when my brother died. I wrote, “Even before Joshua grows enough to see, he has eyes like Jesus, accepting, wise. He smiles and a woman afraid of babies, refusing to bear any, is blessed because he recognizes her voice, looks at her with love. He squeals that life is good.”

I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.

Katie Andraski is an author, blogger, and retired composition teacher at Northern Illinois University. You can read more of her writing on Substack at Katie's Ground.