Like so many other ladies, I was blindsided by infertility. Playing with dolls as a little girl, it never occurred to me that my arms would never hold a wee babe of my very own. That my belly would never swell with a new little life growing inside. Being a mother was an assumption I never questioned so my baby fever was agonising and, to this day, my husband Rhys and I still don’t know why we can’t conceive.
The cure for baby fever came from an unlikely source: my step-children. But not in the way you might expect.
As the victims of lifelong parental alienation from their father, my step-children have shown me just how badly children can turn out. How much pain they can cause you. They showed me a side of motherhood that is so dark, so painful, that I lost my baby fever.
If that sounds bitter, it’s not. I’m actually relieved.
Three decades ago when Rhys’ ex-wife bamboozled the family courts into believing her to be a wonderful mum, she had only begun the charade of the century. It gave her carte blanche to raise the children to be duplicates of her–liars, thieves, fraudsters, alcoholics, criminals–while blocking any ‘interference’ for good by Rhys.
Rhys and his ex-wife are such polar opposites, I often wonder how they got together in the first place. Rhys is the kind of person they call ‘classy’. He has morals, ethics, refinement and charming old world manners. Rhys may be poor as a church mouse but he’s a gentleman. He reads philosophy. He may enjoy a single beer on occasion, but he air conducts Mozart while sipping his beer.
If Rhys is champagne, his ex is mud. She has no class, no ethics, no refinement. Her sole motivation is money, as much as possible, always ill-gotten, never earned. There is nothing she will not stoop to, no crime she won’t commit, no abuse she won’t turn a blind eye to, nothing she won’t steal to fund her alcoholism and greed.
The few visitations Rhys’ ex would allow him to have with his children exposed them to a more elevated way of living, good morals and high ethics. But since reaching adulthood they have all chosen to perpetuate their mother’s culture and ethics or, rather, lack thereof.
Given a choice between scholarships, education and employment, they have chosen to sell street drugs.
Encouraged to care for their mental health after a truly horrific upbringing, they’ve chosen to drown their pain in ever increasing amounts of alcohol, cannabis and hard drugs instead of therapy and counselling.
This is particularly blatant with Rhys daughter. When her mother knowingly allowed her boyfriend (one of many) to sexually abuse Rhys’ daughter, that was only the start. She taught her daughter that sex is a woman’s currency. If she wants money, why pursue a career when you can get down on your knees or spread your legs. She taught her daughter to unwillingly ‘consent’ to be sodomised. Rich men are preferred. In a pinch, escorting is even okay. Anything to get money with stooping to get a proper job.
After watching my step-children embrace every vice, every crime, every depravity including incest, it shocked me out of my baby fever. ‘If this is how children can turn out bringing their parents nothing but heartache, then I want no part of having children’. I told Rhys. ‘I wanted a cute, cuddly, cooing baby. But who’s to say they’ll grow up to be a person of substance who’ll make us proud? They may choose the wrong path too! I’ve had all the pains of motherhood. I don’t want to risk more pain just have a little joy’. Rhys was relieved.
Do I think it was inevitable that Rhys’ children should live such self-destructive lives? No. It was a choice. They knew there was another path but to the last man, they all followed in their mother’s footsteps, recreating her life while claiming to despise her.
Rhys and I can only shake our heads and hope that someday they’ll realise that they don’t have to live that way. There is a higher, happier, simpler life full of joy and beauty. But perhaps they have to suffer more heartaches, more stints in gaol, more fatherless children, more STIs before they’ll realise that life can be sweet, straightforward and kind if they choose that life.
Or maybe they’ll continue to perpetually blame their father for all the pain they cause themselves with their poor adult choices.
Time alone will tell. But I really don’t want a baby anymore.