Close Your Eyes And Trust It, Just Trust It

I’m feeling introspective.  Wondering why it is that I’m different from most others.  I’ve had a great life, better than most, I’d venture to say.  I’ve known what it is to love and to be loved, to be valued, every single day of my 30 years.  I’ve known very little pain, minimal heartache.  Why, then, do I not want what nearly everyone else I know wants, what my siblings, those people who grew up in the same house, raised by the same people, want?  You grow up, you get an education, establish a career, find a partner, get married, have babies, give your children the life you want them to have, right?  Isn’t that the dream?

It’s the dream of the vast majority of people I know and probably the vast majority of all the people I don’t know.  But it is not my dream.  I have a career, a job in medical science that I genuinely love (not the people or the politics, but the WORK), a husband I love, with whom I am truly happy, a nice house, a beautiful dog – aren’t kids the next logical step?  But everything in me tells me no.  And not because I don’t love children; I do.  Really.  I have 2 nephews and 3 nieces whom I adore, with whom I love spending time.  And I admit I am a little curious about what a product of my husband and me would look like, would act and think and be like.  But I don’t want to be a mom.  I don’t want to spend the next 18, 20, 25 years raising a family.  What does that say about me?  Am I a bad person, a selfish person?  An abnormal woman?  Perhaps.  One thing I most certainly am is different.

Here’s what else I know about me: I’m restless.  If I were to be completely honest (and hell, why not?), I’d admit that I equate having babies with the end of me as I know me.  The end of my life as it is, as I’ve shaped it.  I know I want more.  Not more family, not more people in my house, but more for me.  I hear parents say that without their kids their lives would be empty.  They’d be bored, dissatisfied.  I often feel bored and dissatisfied but I don’t think kids are the answer for me.  I don’t want something to fill my time.  I want to keep exploring who I am, what I’m capable of, what I have to offer.  And I think being a mother would greatly interfere with that.  Would it enrich my life?  I’m sure.  Would I love my children beyond what I’m even aware I’m capable of?  Absolutely.  But does that mean I should go ahead and bring people into this world when I feel in my very core that the life of a full-time working mom is not for me?  No.

What I did not expect is the great divide.  The wall that’s erected as soon as you say it out loud: “I don’t want to have kids.  Not now.  Maybe not ever.”  A line is drawn in the sand and I’m on one side and damn near everyone else on earth is on the other.  People look at me differently.  And not strangers, not mere acquaintances (well, them too, but who the hell cares what they think?), but people who’ve known me my whole life.  Family, friends, those with whom I have the oldest and closest relationships.  Don’t they know me?  I’m still the same person who’s played with their kids and enjoyed every minute of it.  I’m the same girl who’s babysat and cared for their children.  I’m not, suddenly, some child-eating monster lacking in maternal instincts.  I still love their kids and I love spending time with them.  Why does the fact that I don’t share their desire to have babies change who I am in their eyes?  I don’t feel like I’ve changed.  I feel pushed out, excluded, ostracized and I don’t understand why.  I didn’t go to the same college as them, didn’t choose the same career, I don’t live in the same city.  Yet those different choices caused no change in our relationships, no divide among us.  Why is the choice not to procreate different?

My husband and I (and our dog, of course), we are already a family and we’re enough for each other.  I’m enough for me.  I guess, naively, I thought everyone else would understand.

Thanks for listening.

~N.

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8 thoughts on “Close Your Eyes And Trust It, Just Trust It

  1. Pingback: And My Heart Is The Heart Of Life | ravingmadscientists

  2. Your post was really well written and clearly expressed what couples have been enduring for centuries. The subject matter is so personal and vital that I felt some research was necessary before submitting a cliched off the cuff response. What I found out was that history shows many creative and aritstic couples have chosen a life without children. It seems that they were completely fulfilled with their individual passions and were wise enough to keep their lives as they were. I also found out that many celebrity couples and singles who do not want to have children have found it prudent for their careers to keep this decision to themselves. They hand out PR derived suggestions that they may have children sometime in the future when the time is right. A sad commentary on our culture that these archaic mores still rule the collective attitude. I also found out that not having children is becoming a more common choice. I am impressed by your courage to make an intelligent decision that you are happy and fulfilled with your life as is. It makes me wonder how many people have married and had children without even considering an alternative. To extend that thought can only lead to wonder how many parents have lost their way under the pressures that parenthood brings and how may children have been raised in less than loving homes with parents and children increasingly resenting each other as years pass. I hope this quote supports you in thinking independently:
    “Seek those who find your road agreeable, your personality and mind stimulating, your philosophy acceptable and your experiences helpful. Let those who do not, seek their own kind. ” Jean-Henri Fabre

  3. I also have 0 desire for children; it’s not even that I hate them, even though they are usually sticky and make messes; I just don’t like to be responsible for other people. I am only comfortable being responsible for myself. I enjoy deferring to authority, not being it. I am also incredibly selfish with my time and attention.
    I think that a lot of people get married and have babies because “that’s what you do,” because that’s what has been done, and everyone sees everyone else doing it so they do it too, because it’s the average life path. Obviously some people genuinely want it; but I don’t think they account for 100% of the people that do it. I think a good percentage is on the fence and can’t think up anything else to do, so they get married and have kids; I think another percentage may be concerned about the black sheep alternative, so they get married and have kids. Most of the time this is fine. There is probably the occasional Revolutionary Road situation. I also think a BIG problem, maybe the biggest of all, is that you and I ARE NOT alone, and we are NOT the outcasts that we think we are: but the media and just everything, life in general, is built upon that stereotype. I feel the same way about how everything is geared towards couples. The ostracizing vibes you get about not wanting to have kids are, I think, the same kind that are generated when you are consistently single through your 20s and onward. Society is just so GEARED towards getting married and having babies, that the alternative is underrepresented.
    Sometimes I wonder how much, like, natural selection is involved. Technically if we do not want to have babies, we are not going to continue the species; maybe waaaaay deep in our subconscious we are programmed to find the concept of not having kids alarming.

    • Thanks for your comment, X. I agree that it’s in our DNA (probably in the DNA of every species) to want to reproduce and I genuinely get that. I just don’t see why so many people have a problem with someone else choosing not to, for whatever reason. It’s such a life-changing and utterly permanent decision that I don’t think anyone should enter into it because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do. If I ever truly WANT kids, I will have them. Until then, I wish people would stop telling me what they think I should do. Why do we all have to have the same life, anyway?
      I also totally agree with your observation about couples. Personally, I enjoyed being single, when I was. And with the divorce rate what it is, I think it’s smart to be patient and commit when you know you’re ready. Not that that can’t change, but you’re more likely to be happy with your partner if you’ve taken the time to really KNOW each other.
      Thanks for the “You and I are not alone” bit. Right on.
      ~N.

  4. I feel the same way sometimes. I work in a chemistry lab with a lot of nasty chemicals. Working with teratogens and mutagens, it freaks me out that I would have a kid and they would end up being mutated or have a disease from something I worked with. I have never had a need to have kids, and what I really wanted to do what either be a foster parent or adopt teenagers. I still have many years to figure it out and I haven’t found the right man yet, (I’m only 24) but it’s one of those things where I keep questioning if I want to have kids. The fact that you and your husband have chosen not to have kids isn’t unusual for newer generations. I wish you the best of luck! It’s also not uncommon for couples to have kids!

  5. Thanks, GJ! I’m sure that if I did have children, I’d be glad I did and not regret it. I know I’d feel that way AFTER they were here. But that’s just not motivation enough for me to leap into parenthood, if that makes sense.
    Thanks for reading.
    -N.

  6. Heavy stuff… I love the honesty though. It’s rare to hear a woman say “out loud” that she doesn’t want kids, but it is valid. If I didn’t have 2 kids of my own, as in NEVER, I don’t think I would be all that disappointed; having kids does put an end to a certain lifestyle. I don’t get to go out and do whatever I want whenever I want for however long I want. It’s a sacrafice, though retrospectively I’m happy now that I have my kids. I love them more than anything and wouldn’t change having them. But like I said earlier, if I didn’t have my kids (the first of which was accidental), and they were never even so much as a thought, I wouldn’t be disappointed. I don’t know if that makes sense, but know that you’re not all that different. Before I had kids…I didn’t want them. Great post.

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