I Don't Want Children
I was never the girl to have a baby-doll growing up. I liked dolls with full faces of glam makeup, blown out hair, and trendy fashion. (She says as she writes this in sweatpants whilst holding a taco.) When girls in high school would go goo-goo eyed over babies I always said I preferred puppies. (Still do.) I wasn't trying to be the edgy outsider, I genuinely didn't feel a connection to children, I hadn't ever been around them and they looked like an accident waiting to happen rather than something to make my ovaries sing.
I always assumed I’d have a family though. I can remember saying “when I have kids,” but it was more of a learned/repeated sentence rather than a conscious choice. Even when I started dating my now-husband, I remember having a few conversations in the beginning about what type of parents we would be or how we wanted to raise a kid or who would be present in the delivery room when I inevitably gave birth. It was never something we questioned, it was just the natural course of things, right? You date someone, you get married, you have kids. That’s the story-book fantasy that everyone strives for, right? (Of course, no, that’s far from the truth.)
Although that’s the ‘normal’ procedure, I’m obviously not oblivious to the fact that that’s not the truth for so many single parents, couples without kids, and all different sorts of families all over. But it just seemed that the kids thing had been the obvious thing that would one day be a part of my life, I didn't even question it. I’m not sure how or when it happened, I think it was gradual, but my husband and I slowly started to realize, we both really disliked the idea of having kids and didn't ever want children. I know it seems crazy, shouldn't that be something you inherently know? I think for a lot of people the answer is no, and they don't realize it before it’s too late. How many times have we seen parents and thought “no way should they be raising kids.” In fairness, I think it’s no one’s place to judge someone’s parenting style, but let’s call it what it is; some people truly don't or didn't want children, and had them because that’s “what you do.” And I think that’s the most disheartening thing.
I truly believe your child can feel if it wasn't 100% wanted. And I’m not saying at all that babies that weren’t planned can’t be loved, in fact, what I’m pointing out is that many, many people that DO plan to have kids do it for all the wrong reasons, and I’m a firm believer that if you don't know for a fact that you want a child you absolutely should not have one. Imagine what kind of parents my husband and I would have been if we didn't realize we truly didn't want kids, and then we had them? Would we resent the child? Would be just be looking for ways to escape? Would it drive a wedge between us of constant stress and fighting? I think for a lot of couples, that’s the sad reality. I think a lot of people are afraid to say they don't want children, and I can see why. I’ve had people look at me like I’m nuts, or the ever popular comment “you say that now, you’ll change your mind later.” I’ve had people go so far as to tell me that my life would be meaningless unless I had kids. What a whopper that one was. But I’d love to ask all of those people, would you rather me have a baby, and not really want to be a parent? Aren't there enough children in terrible home situations already?
It really doesn't make sense why society tries to nudge people towards becoming parents if they’re not ready or really don't want kids. Why would we want parents like that? Wouldn't we only want people to be parents when they’re ready for that life long commitment, or at least excited and looking forward to having a baby?
It’s taken me quite a few years to realize I’m not a monster. Me not thinking babies are adorable doesn't make me broken, but damn people can sure make you feel that way sometimes. I’ve come to know, and would like to reassure anyone else having any self doubt, that you’re not a sub-par woman because you don't have baby fever. Babies just aren't my cup of tea. But you know what, some people can look past the mess and the chaos that babies cause and still truly want that bond and connection, and I think that’s great! If that’s what works for you, of course you should go for it. But I’d encourage everyone to watch the reaction they have for someone who doesn't want the same.
I see a lot of parents who loose their personal identity when they have a child, and suddenly life outside of being mom or dad is nonexistent. I can understand how that is possible, having a child is all consuming. But I find it hard to grapple with the parents that suddenly think the world must cater to them and their mini-me. Or that everyone else who isn't a parent to a little one is insignificant and incomplete until they do the same.
I assure you I’m quite content not birthing a 10 pound human, I assure you my life feels fulfilled and complete and I have no dreams but my own to work on and encourage my husband to work on his, I assure you that my opinion will not change, and I assure you that my life has a ton of meaning. I can still be kind and happy and joyful and excitable, and for me, it didn't take becoming a parent for me to learn how. I don't have day dreams of swaddling a young one in a few years, I instead picture myself continuing to write more novels and cheer on my husband as his band -hopefully- continues to conquer the music world, with our future Rottweiler puppy, Bronson, by our side. I want to travel the globe and learn as much as I can, and I feel perfectly content to do that without a child. I’ve learned that it’s just as normal to not want kids as it is to want them, and my philosophy as always is do what works for you. (*And don't make anyone else feel bad if they’re goals are different!*)