I usually reserve Fridays for brain spewage, the personal things, the things that go through my mind and that I want to talk about and to share with you. One of the things that I get asked alot is:
When are you going to have some babies?
The older I get, the more frequently I hear the question and the more frequently I get asked by strangers if I have kids. That question is like an instant ice-breaker when you’re meeting someone new. It’s something to bond over, something to talk about, and if you don’t have kids, people want to know why not.
I am never going to have kids.
I’ve been met with a lot of different reactions to that answer. Some people tell me that I will change my mind, others try to convince me I’d be good at it, some tell me that I’m going against what I was put on this earth to do, others think I’m selfish, and my mother gets that look of disappointment. There’s such a variety of different reactions.
As a kid, I was totally into babies. Growing up I had tons of dolls, I always wanted to play house, play mommy. I picked out names, I had daydreams, and my future seemed like it would follow the path of all of the women before me. I hit puberty and something twisted grabbed a hold of me. I fell into depression and that led to a lot of isolation and a deep, deep, loneliness. I still wanted babies, but it wasn’t a childish dream anymore.
It was a way to finally be useful and to have someone that would finally love me, forever. A way to not be alone. It was that magic thing that if I just had in my life I would be happy. If I hadn’t been so shy and introverted and someone would have put a guy in front of me and told me I could have a baby with him at the age of 15, I would have done it.
Babies = a way to be loved.
My sister became a young mom when I was in high school and I saw the attention that she got from the family. I saw my sister grew closer to my mom as she got to go shopping for baby clothes, she got my bedroom because it was bigger, they had something to bond over. She was initiated into womanhood, while I still felt like a child. She was living the dream of everything that I had wanted for myself.
Babies = a way to be loved and get attention.
I went out into the world as an adult. I got a job in retail, and I lived, still depressed, still feeling worthless, as I had for almost a decade at that point. I fell in love for the first time with someone that was married. He manipulated me, he lied to me, but I fell in love anyway. I planned my future around him. He told me that he wanted a future with me too. I asked him to leave his wife and start a life with me, but he had a child, he couldn’t do that. I had to wait and be patient. (I was such a cliche, it still makes me cringe!)
Babies = a way to get love, get attention, and get someone to stay.
Eventually, I left that relationship, and I started my journey, this journey, and things changed. I didn’t have to be a mother to be loved. I could love myself, I could begin to manage my depression, I could let go of the things that I didn’t like about myself. I could embrace and nourish the things that I loved about myself, even if they were teeny tiny to begin with. I could fill up my life with so many things that would make me happy.
I could do good things and feel fulfilled. I could create a purpose for myself that was outside of my reproductive system. I could discover that I was good at things, that I had hobbies and interests and passions, and ways to feel fulfilled and happy. I was a person that didn’t need another person to define them.
Deciding not to have children is the most selfish and selfless thing that I could ever do.
It is selfish because I will not have a baby because it takes up too much time. It takes too much effort. It requires too much loss of sleep, too much sacrifice, too much everything, and in the end, it would require too much loss of self. I’ve spent twenty-four of my twenty-seven years on this earth not knowing who I was or what I really wanted. Twenty-four years of not being myself or doing the things that I wanted to do.
I finally, finally have freedom. I feel free.
I have never wanted to be a mother for the sake of being a mother.
It is selfless because I would never want to resent another human being for taking away my freedom. It is selfless because it is something that I do not truly want and that I never wanted for the right reasons. It is selfless because I do not believe that I am capable of giving another soul a life that they would truly deserve. Why? Because I am too selfish. I would not be a good mother, and I know this, and I am okay with it. I wouldn’t be a good at being a fisherman, or a good carpenter, or a good ballet dancer either, and that’s alright. I could try, and probably do an okay job, but it wouldn’t make my soul sing.
There’s a quote by Oprah that really resonates:
“If had kids, my kids would hate me, because something in my life would have had to suffer and it would’ve probably been them.”
People tell me all of the time that I would be such a good mother. That I am patient and loving, and good with children. That’s like someone telling me that I should go start planting a rainforest because I can keep a house-plant alive. I have the disposition that I have because I can sleep whenever I want for as long as I want, because I never worry about money because I only have to provide for myself, because if I want to spend the entire weekend in complete silence, I can do that too. I’m still at a point in my life when I’m mothering myself, healing myself, and I can’t imagine the energy it would take to simultaneously mother another human being.
This life that I have, full of so many things that I love, one where I can put myself first without guilt – that’s my path. That’s what fills my soul.
That’s the happiest kind of life I can imagine, and I get to live it.
I won’t ever be a mother, but I love and appreciate those that are. I love hearing their wisdom, reading their birth stories, knowing how brave and wonderful they are. Mothers have helped me to become who I am, and I am so grateful for their loving spirits.
I’m not anti-kid, I don’t judge anyone who has them, it’s quite the opposite. It’s complete awe of them because I don’t think it’s something I could hold myself together enough to do.
When I am 80 years old and looking back on my life, I can’t say that I won’t wonder how things could’ve been, or that I will be saddened by the thought that I never got to hold my own child in my arms, or carry on my legacy, but I know that I won’t regret the life I lived instead.
I think that’s really all that matters.
Have you made the decision not to have kids?