Over the past few days I’ve seen this meme floating around that says:
Serious question for the parents of 5-11 year olds who are getting their kids the shot. What if it does affect fertility? Are you ready for that conversation with your kids 15 years from now when they ask you why they can’t have kids? A
And I have a serious answer.
Yes I will be ready for that conversation in 15 years if it does come down to that. Because along the way…
I will teach my children that their identity is more than any one thing. They are more than a sibling, a daughter or son, an athlete, a writer, a dancer, a scientist, a parent… I will teach them that they have innate worth completely separate from any outside identity and that if one of those outside identities is taken away, they will never cease to be their fully actualized selves. I will teach my children to be so grounded in their own sense of self that the loss of any one thing, while hard and sad, will not shake them.
I will teach them that it is okay to grieve and I will teach them how to process their grief. I will teach them resiliency.
I will teach them about families. I will teach them that family is more than biology. I will teach them that chosen family is just as vital as the family with whom they are raised. I will teach them about infertility and I will teach them about options; about adoption and the choice to remain childless and surrogacy. I will teach them that those ways of having or not having children are just as valid as having biological children. I will show them what this looks like. They will know people who are happily childless. They will know people who wish they could have biological children but don’t and we will talk about how they processed that loss. They will know people who are adopted and have adopted, people who have had fertility treatments both successful and unsuccessful, and people who have used a surrogate.
I will teach my children to give people the benefit of the doubt. I will teach them that most people are simply doing the best they can. I will teach them that I, as a parent in a pandemic, did the best I could and made the best choices I could for their safety and the safety of the community. I will allow them to hate me for making that choice if need be and I will teach them that no matter what they feel about me, I will never stop loving them. I will give them space to process their feelings. I will quietly support whatever choices they make.
And most of all, I will be confident in the choice I made because I believe in my children and their ability to face all that life has to offer them, both the good and the bad.