A lot of these posts are really resonating with me!
I thought I would have kids – even wanted them – when I was younger. I, too, had an unplanned pregnancy at 20, but planned to keep it and (due to a religious upbringing) hadn’t even considered that there was any other viable option. To this day, I am so grateful that my then-boyfriend’s mom spoke to me about it one night, explained what she’d gone through when my then-BF was a baby/child and all the many surgeries he’d had because of his genetic disorder, and that she had terminated when she got pregnant again after him. She didn’t try to make me feel I had to do this, but made it clear that it was a viable option – and a kind one. I ended up taking her advice, and I did feel sad about it on and off for a while, but never doubted it was the right decision.
I still thought I’d have kids eventually, though. I got married to a man at 27, and we wanted kids but planned to wait until we were able to buy a house. And then we fought constantly and divorced 3 years later, and I was SO glad we hadn’t had kids.
I had discovered my attraction to women near the end of that marriage, and after the split I began dating them and then realized I was no longer interested in men. I still thought I’d have kids. I had a Girlfriend who turned out to be paranoid schizophrenic and addicted to opiates. Then I was with a wonderful woman who had three daughters, and I loved them all but didn’t LIKE the oldest, and was also able to go back home whenever I needed a break from them. Then she broke my heart and left me.
I started dating my current partner when I was 35, and told her a few months in that having a child was something I wanted to do in my life. My bio clock was kicking in big time at that point. She, at 31, was wishy-washy about it – it wasn’t a deal-breaker for her, but it wasn’t on her radar at the time.
And then I took a Human Development course in college, and learned about all the terrible risks to both mother and child (things like postpartum depression/psychosis, etc.). And I reconnected with a younger cousin who had two, and told me about the horrible nightmares she has every single night about every possible terrible thing happening to her kids. (I already had those types of dreams about my pet birds.)
Then, my Girlfriend and I adopted a 5-month-old puppy from the shelter. And she was a good dog, as puppies go, but I discovered that I had a terrible temper with her when she wasn’t doing what I wanted her to do. I’d start screaming at her, and this would make her more afraid to do anything, and I’m ashamed to say I even spanked her. I became this entirely different person. I’m sure it’s related to the way my step-dad was when I was a kid. And wow – I knew I would never want to risk doing that to a human child.
I’ve worked on and mostly conquered my temper with our dog, especially since she’s much more likely to obey when I sweet-talk her and/or offer treats. But she, and my birds, are able to be left alone at home in a cage when needed, and I can get just about all the alone time I want and still take good care of them. And there are times when I have a hard enough time taking care of just myself, and at those times I know I’d end up either neglecting or resenting a child – both of which are horrible things.
In the last year or so, my then-GF, now-FI, who is now 35, has occasionally said things half-jokingly about having kids. And I’ve told her about the things I learned in that class, and what hard work it is, and how easy it is to screw the kid up, and that I’m 40 and already have a hard time getting enough sleep and dealing with my neck and back issues WITHOUT having a kid, etc., etc. She has some adorable young nephews and nieces, and mainly gets to see them only for the happy and fun times, and I think her bio clock is ticking louder, too. So, I suggested that she have her two little sibling-nephews, who are 2 and 6, come up to stay at our place for a week, and I’d go stay at my friend’s place, and if she still wanted a kid after that, we’d talk (though I definitely would not carry a child).
She has yet to make any moves toward inviting the nephews over.
I honestly think we have the best of both worlds with being aunts. I do like kids in general, like helping them learn, etc., so we get to visit the nieces and nephews when we want to, and leave when we want to. ‘Tis a wonderful thing.