“So, when are you going to have kids?”
Not wanting kids yet, it’s a question I get a lot, as anyone who’s been married, but is currently childless probably does. It shouldn’t catch me off guard, but it usually does. It’s not a question I would ever think to ask someone – because it’s really none of my business – but I know it’s a well-meaning question.
“I don’t know. It’s not the right time,” is my usual response as my heart starts to race and I try to quickly change the subject.
“Oh, ok,” is how they answer with a disappointed look on their face. They don’t want me to see it, but I do. (I’ve also gotten the “Well, you’re not getting any younger” to which I have mental flashes of punching them in the face, but that’s a different story).
I want to tell them the truth, but I just don’t think they’ll really understand.
I always thought I would have a child. Someday far, far in the future. It was just something that I took for granted was going to happen. But now that the future is here, my outlook on life has changed.
The truth is: I love my life too much to have a kid. I love my career. I love the money that I make. I love my creative and community projects. I love to sleep. I love coming home after work and reading a new book or learning something new. I love traveling and hanging out with my husband. I love hanging out with my nieces and nephews – and then giving them back their parents.
Children require so much of your time and attention. They require giving them so much of you. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs you could ever have – and I admire those who choose that path. I see the love, time and energy the parents in my life give to their kids. The love and sacrifice my parents gave to me.
Some people know they are meant to be parents. I wasn’t.
I think about having a kid, putting myself in the situations parents find themselves in, and I just can’t make myself feel happy or excited about it. I get tired just thinking about all the things parents have to do for their children. I get annoyed thinking about all the things I would have to give up, the sacrifices I would have to make.
It’s not that I don’t think I can do it. It’s that I don’t want to. It’s something you have to really, really want because it changes your whole life. And I don’t want my life to change. I’m not done creating the me I want to be.
I often think about what I’m giving up by not having them. The special family memories. Someone to take care of you when you get older. The love parents talk about having for their children that they’d never give up. Sometimes I see a baby and think “aww, I want one.” And then they start to scream, and I quickly say “Never mind.”
I also think that I may regret not having them, but that still doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason to do it. Children deserve more. They deserve to be truly wanted.
With the exception of my husband, I still can’t seem to bring myself to admit this to my friends and family. It’s partly that I don’t want to disappoint them, to see the sadness on their faces when they realize there probably won’t be a baby at Christmas or birthday parties to plan or soccer games to attend. And maybe one day I’ll change my mind and the disappointment they felt was all for nothing (never say never!).
But mostly, I just don’t want to be judged for loving myself, my life, more than wanting a child.