When people hear I got divorced after 10 years of marriage, the question is inevitable. "Do you have kids?" I usually purse my lips together and shake my head while I answer. "No... No kids."
And then I hold my breath.
Because nine times out of ten, the response is the same. And I catch myself bracing for it.
I keep my lips pressed tightly together, and slowly nod obligatorily.
I understand what they're saying. With as much as my life fell apart when my husband decided to leave with another woman, I am grateful there weren't children's hearts also so deeply wounded. So yes. That part is good.
But what most people don't realize is there is such a bittersweetness there.
I don't not have kids because I didn't want them.
I longed to have children, and we were finally at a place of attaining certain goals that would allow me to step back from working full-time so we could start a family. And the irony is that he began pushing for a baby right when he started his affair. And since I knew something was going on—even when I didn't know how bad it really was—I knew adding a baby into the mix wouldn't "fix" anything. So I'm the one who made the decision to wait. Because I needed to be sure we were okay.
And we weren't.
And we never had kids.
So while I'm glad there weren't little people dragged through the devastation of my past few years, and I'm beyond thankful I don't need to figure out an international custody arrangement, there is also a huge sense of loss for what could have been... and for what will never be.
It's an added layer of grief. Of mourning. Of letting go. Of uncertainty about ever having the opportunity again.
So yes. "That's good." But it also sucks.
Just think twice before you make a quick remark to someone. We never know the whole story. We can never comprehend the full situation. Don't presume. Don't preach. Ask.
Ask questions. Hear what the other person is thinking... feeling... saying... not saying...
Don't jump to conclusions.