In late 1996, I was 21 and about to drop out of college to move in with my soul mate. He made it clear that he had no desire to become a father. He was 34, so I knew he was not going to change his mind. Instead of feeling sad, I felt relieved.

Ten years ago, we eloped while on vacation in Maui. We could have had a “proper” wedding, but I wanted to be a wife, not a bride.
I got my tubes tied 20 days later, to ensure that our marriage remained childfree. Most people thought I’d reach my thirties and bemoan my sterility, especially if my marriage didn’t work out. Well, I’ve reached that age, and still get giddy about being in a childfree marriage.

Our marriage is definitely not what we thought it would be at this point in time. You see, my husband was diagnosed with two painful spinal conditions a few months ago. His condition has no cure, and has deteriorated over the winter. Being his sole caretaker and advocate has been quite an ordeal. Interestingly, I have found a few similarities in caring for a spouse with chronic pain and taking care of a child. However, unlike a child, my husband can express his needs and show gratitude, which makes it easy for me to have the strength and patience a caretaker requires.