- 4 years ago
- Wedding: July 2014 - Backyard
This is LONG.
Summary: I wish I just KNEW beyond a doubt that I did not want children, like some people. Instead, I have just sort of arrived here, childfree, by consequence. But I most definitely do not just KNOW I do want them, either. I have not urge to have kids at all.
FI is getting a vasectomy in two weeks. We are getting married in July and have been together nine years. We have lived together nearly the whole time. He is 37, I am 38.
I am pretty sure I am okay with this, but FI is worried I will decide I wanted kids 20 years down the road and resent him. I say, “I can only make decisions now based on what I know now, and now I am not overcome with a desire for kids and can give you oodles of reason why I DON’T want them and not too many good reasons to have them.”
My childbearing-mindfulness trajectory has gone like this:
As a kid: I threw my dolls around so they could do “gymnastics.” I do not have any recollection of “mothering” them. The babies that could wet themselves freaked me out because they always stunk.
As a teenager: Didn’t think much about kids other than assuming I would have them, they way you assume you will grow up some day, get a job, buy a house, and eventually die.
In college: Had many talks w/ roomie about how we would raise our kids. (Basically, I think we were articulating what we were discovering we believe in and superimposing those values on our hypothetical childrearing strategies.) I was mildly fascinated by pregnancy, but was never overcome with baby fever and knew I didn’t kids for a loooooong time. So long I couldn’t really imagine it.
Early twenties: Never even thought about them. I was having too much fun living in DC and living the life that is possible there. I loved it and have no regrets. Never thought of marriage with any seriousness, even though I was dating someone for a couple of years. Still imagined kids and marriage as something that would happen many years later.
Mid-late 20s – early 30s: Didn’t think much about kids here, either. I was in grad school and met FI. Still never got baby fever. Assumed it could still happen but not for “a long time.”
Mid 30s: BF and sister got pregnant. Mild freak out. I thought, “If I want babies I have to do this now or not at all!” Felt overwhelmed with an impending deadline. Fretted for a few months. Knew FI did not want kids. We talked a lot about it and it was an absolute non-negotiable for FI. I still did not experience any actual longing for a baby or children, just anxiety about missing my opportunity and wondering if I was making the right life-long decision. I expected to get baby fever meeting my niece and nephew, and I was absolutely overcome with love for them, but still never got those pangs of longing people talk about.
Mid 30s – present: lingering concern that I may regret not having kids, think about it more than before, but still not a lot. But, I do not think of the children or life with them, I just think about the opportunity. I wonder about experiencing pregnancy and birth since it is such an awesome thing my body can do. (Not that I think it is glamorous or anyting, but it is so very, very human and animal, you know? It connects you to every creative impulse on the planet!) But I still do not wanting the resultant children. Still no baby fever. Just lingering doubt about making the right decision. I admit I am a little sad that I am not going through the same experiences as my sisters together with them. (Not a good enough reason to have kids, in my opinion.)
When I imagine having kids all I can think of is constant noise, anxiety, and exhaustion. Of feeling trapped and lonely, or stressed about money and trying to juggle kids and work. (I am not particularly career-driven. I value a happy life more than the prestige of a successful career.) I can’t imagine just keeping them alive, let alone the REALLY HARD WORK of raising them to be honest, kind, and caring people. I do not think of only negative things. I do think about how cool it is to watch their little personalities blossom and of handing down family traditions and stories. But, I get to do that with my nieces and nephews, with the added bonus of giving them all of my attention when I am with them.
I had a pregnancy scare twice. Once before and once with FI. I was TERRIFIED both times. Terrified. No giddy daydreams, just terrified.
Best as I can tell, I am going to be okay not having children. Will I always wonder what it was like to have kids? Absolutely. Just like people with kids wonder what it would be like to not have them. Kind of how I wonder what it would like to live a fabulous life in NYC. It is just not something I am going to fit into this lifetime.
I wish I just KNEW beyond a doubt that I did not want children, like some people. Instead, I have just sort of arrived here by consequence but I most definitely do not just KNOW I do want them, either.
I don’t think I am fooling myself. Am I?