When I told my Mom I didn’t envision myself having children she wasn’t terribly surprised. Disappointed, I’m sure, but not surprised.
“You never did play with dolls as a kid,” she said, as if that fact alone determined that I wasn’t the maternal type. She herself wanted to be a mommy from the time she was 4. And she was an award-winning, best-ever kind of Mom. Which I think also had something to do with my not wanting—or needing—to try and replicate the relationship we had. It was already pretty perfect.
I had a very happy childhood, with lots of love surrounding me, and among the many gifts bestowed upon me by my parents, they gave me a very strong sense of self. I knew who I was—and who I wasn’t—from an early age. And since I didn’t have anything to “fix” in terms of a parent/child relationship, I didn’t need a “do over”, which is something I’ve observed on many occasions with my friends and colleagues whom I’ve casually interviewed about the topic over the years. Many of them seemed to want to parent children the way they wished they’d been parented. Others said they wanted to have kids as a “symbol of their love”. P.S. Most of them are no longer married, or at very least, shouldn’t be.
I married young the first time. So young, I thought maybe I’d eventually want or at very least regret not having kids. My first husband ended up being a lost soul… and a cheater… freeing me up to find my true love, who, thankfully, also never felt swayed by the pressures of our pro-natalist society. The more time went on, the more sure I was: I was content, my life was happy and full, my career was stimulating and exposed me to international travel and some of the world’s brightest minds. We’ve had the luxury to focus our energy on the arts of love, mutual respect, kindness, and most of all, honesty and communication. (And some kick ass vacations!)
And let me be clear, we adore our nieces and nephews, and friends’ kids, and have a very robust relationship with most of them. We just never felt the need to parent. We’re both nurturers by nature. My husband is a licensed clinical social worker and I’m an empath, so we both take care of our friends and family all of the time, as great listeners and support systems.
I’m just grateful that my parents instilled a strong sense of self in me, and that I followed the path that was right for me. I live in gratitude for this each and every day.