So I always anticipated being a mother. I was always the one playing with young kids, I taught swimming to children for years, and they always seemed comfortable around me. Not having children was never not going to happen – I was sure. Then I got to my mid-twenties and met my partner who has a typical, indecisive attitude about children. I should note that we are both only children, but my parents have remained married, while his parents divorce has greatly impacted his attitude. I was told that “women are always ready to be mothers, men only become fathers when they see the baby.”
We have been together for six years and are still figuring what we want out. Simultaneously, all of our friends are married and having children and while we think that is wonderful, we both have reservations. I do think his attitude influenced me, but only insomuch as it made me think about why do I want a child? Is it for me? Is it for my parents? Why? I consider myself a logical person and I would think any logical person looking around at the state of the world, the environment, the politics, the availability of resources, and the cost of raising a child (not just watching one grow up) is oppressive.
At this point, I am 33 and am leaning more heavily towards not having children. I have also said if I am not pregnant by 35 I won’t have children. As the daughter of older parents (34 and 37 when I was born) – I don’t want to be older and pressuring them to get married or have children like my family has (except my dad). While there are a variety of justifiable reasons for not having a child, I think the one I am wrestling with is, why do I really want one? Who is going to benefit? Having a child is very selfish – insomuch as it is for you, the future child has no say.
I don’t know if we will have a child. I don’t think I will feel any less fulfilled for not having one, and I may have a life fulfilled in different ways and let my friends who find fulfilment in parenthood enjoy their decision. I would never judge someone for wanting to have a child (well maybe not a reasonable amount of children), and I would hope not to be judged for my decision not to.
I think it ultimately comes down to respecting someone else – both adults and children.