When I was a child, and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I often responded, “A mom – like my mommy!” (sometimes, “football player!,” but that’s a story for another day.) To which my mother would think (either to herself or aloud), “Oh, I do hope you have bigger dreams for yourself than that.” She wanted what was best for me and knew that I would likely make a fantastic mother, but I was a highly intelligent, precocious child and she had much higher hopes for me than just procreator.
Fast-forward a decade, and I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, in the ’80s. That’s it for me – not only am I NOT bringing more humans into existence, but I am devoting my academic studies to environmental preservation and restoration, and joining the fight to slow the Global Climate Crisis. I never looked back.
As I grew older and watched my (Irish Catholic) siblings raise their dozen-plus children (many of whom are adopted, thank goddess), I realize there are many, many reasons for me to not take on motherhood – not of other people’s children, not of my own. For one, I am quite financially savvy, and it is a really poor Return on Investment. It costs on average a quarter of a million dollars to bring up a child in the US. Some of my siblings are still supporting their 20-somethings, not to mention higher learning, so that price could easily double when all is said and done.
Another thing is the ongoing headache/heartache I see parents go through – especially single women, and there’s no guarantee that won’t happen. Whether you make kids, buy or rescue them, you have no idea what little (and big) surprises they come with along the way.
I spent my 20s roaming the earth solo and deepening my education. In my 30s I worked as a Hollywood-based actress/cellist and passed my footloose-and-fancy-free existence enjoying a bounty of beautiful, young lovers (try explaining that to yer wee ones). The past decade was spent buying an orchard in Ecuador, learning Spanish, bicycling, leading senior and adaptive yoga, and meeting The Love of My Life – who would NOT have been interested in a woman saddled with children, especially since they wouldn’t have been his! We are blissfully raising our Enlightened Master of a Rat Terrier, Dobby, and are now considering growing our family by one more canine.
To me, it’s a no-brainer. Never in my adult life have I questioned this decision. Now that I’m about to turn 50, I’m happy to say that ship has sailed!