No Child – Left Behind

**Please note, these feelings are mine, and mine alone.  I am in no way encouraging anyone to make different decisions for themselves, and understand this is a very personal topic.  Please keep that in mind as you read the following post.  And know, I love you all – and your children!**

Before I start on the wedding, I thought I’d take a minute to share whats been on my heart and mind for the past few weeks.  No, this post is not about the No Child Left Behind law, originally encouraged and supported by President Bush (W.) to allow for stricter testing, hoping to encourage all children to succeed.

No, this post is not about that.  This post is about the decision my husband and I have made and agreed upon about not having children.  And the fear that leads me to, in which I am “left behind” by my friends who are and will be parents.

What?! You DON'T want kids?!?!/Source

I’m not suggesting that this left behind process will be intentional, or rational.  But I have a very real fear of it happening.  Dave and I made our decision to not have children both individually and together.  We both knew, prior to our dating each other, that children were not in the cards.  I cannot fully speak to what lead Dave down that path, but I can tell you about mine.

For as long as I can remember I have been petrified of pregnancy.  I remember saying at a very young age that I would NEVER give birth.  I would adopt.  I felt that there were plenty of children out in the world who were either orphaned or abandoned, that could use a mother, thus allowing my selfish need and fear of my who-ha expanding enough to squeeze a watermelon out of a lemon to be obsolete.

I realize there are many who will not agree with this line of thought.  Some who will argue that birth is a miracle, and that children are a gift given to us by God.  And I am not suggesting otherwise.  I agree.  Parenthood is a gift to be cherished.  It is also a sacrifice, and a commitment.  And I’m quite honestly bad at the sacrifice part of things.  Oh and patience….it requires boocuse of patience, and that I am severely lacking in.

Choosing to be a parent, or not choosing to be a parent is a very personal decision.  If there is one thing I have learned in our adventures of deciding to be or not to be parents, and revealing said decision to those who ask, that is the biggest thing I have learned.  Just because YOU feel I’m going to change my mind, doesn’t mean I’m going to.  If you infer that the reason I feel this way is because I’m not meant to be with my husband, I will be upset.  My relationship is not validated by my desire to have or not have children.

It is as if society cannot understand my desire as a woman to not be centered on eventually wiping the poop off of a baby’s behind.  Or cleaning up the vomit and spit-up associated with being sick or eating too much.  As a female, I am supposed to want these things.  I am supposed to want to raise a human being and teach them to love and respect and to live.  And as a Christian, I am supposed to want this even more.  To hopefully add a new soul into God’s army.  And while I can relate to these feelings and these desires – I want nothing more than to help to contribute to bring glory to the Lord and making the world a better place.  I just don’t feel that the only and necessarily best way to do that is through raising a child.

OK OK...so I'm not THIS bad. LOL/ Source

But this post wasn’t supposed to be about WHY I don’t want to have children.  It’s supposed to be about HOW that makes me feel.  Let me explain where this is coming from…I feel like I am at that age, where there are babies being born all around me.  Our nieces and nephews are being born, my friends are having or planning to have babies, there are women at work who are pregnant.  And in the back of my head, with all of my excitement, lays a little voice saying “you won’t be able to relate.”  And you know what, I won’t.

I will be the BEST aunt that I can be.  I love all of my nieces and nephews like crazy.  So much so that it hurts sometimes.  And one of my best friends just had a little girl, and I’m already in love with her, and I haven’t even met her.  This is how I will always feel about my friend’s and family’s children.  They will ALL be my nieces and nephews.

I will love all of these babies like I would my own…but they won’t be my own.  So I won’t know what it’s like to have gone through labor.  I won’t know what it’s like to bring a baby home for the first time from the hospital, or what it really means to learn all the different cries.  I will NEVER be the one that a child runs to when its most upset, or most excited.  I will always be the one who gets it, but can’t fully understand.  And that’s hard for me to accept.

The last thing I ever wanted to happen when I made this decision for myself, and then with Dave for ourselves, was to feel like I was putting a small wedge between those I love who have children and us.  I hope that these fears will be obsolete, that I will find reasons to abandon them, and believe that while there will be things I certainly can not comprehend, that these things will not change the shoulder I can offer, and the ears I have to listen to my friends and their lives, and their experiences in raising their families.

I would like to believe (and I guess deep…deep deep down know) that this will actually not affect the way I relate to my friends.  I want to hold strong to the belief that the friendships I have are strong enough to withstand the differences we may have in life.  And while your adventure will be seeing your child in a school play, mine may be exploring a different country with my husband on a random weekend away.  Both quality ways of spending time with those you love.  Both a little different.  But at the end of the weekend, we can still come together and talk about what we did.

And of course, as the super cool aunty and uncle, we’re always up for babysitting!!  The best part about that, is we get to love on them, spoil them rotten, then give them back.  😉

So, any other non-kiddies out there?  How are you coping with your decision?  Ever have some irrational fear monster come to you at night and make you feel like your decision isn’t good enough?

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12 thoughts on “No Child – Left Behind

  1. I love your post Brittney! I never wanted children, had them for the wrong reasons (husband wanted them), and I can’t tell you that sometimes I don’t regret it. I would be horrified to be one of those women whose entire life revolves around a child. I love my kids, and they are a PART of my life, but they aren’t my WHOLE life. Some women just LOVE having children like it’s their purpose on this earth, and while that line of thinking is completely foreign to me, I respect it (as long as they don’t have more than they can take care of or support).

    I also don’t agree with the notion that some people believe, that if you have children you are tied down and will not have as full or as diverse a lifestyle. Although I love to travel, I don’t do it as often as I like (which has more to do with work schedule and $ than with the kids, ha ha!). My son is my best friend and we plan on going to Greece in the next couple of years…I wouldn’t want to be sharing that experience with anyone else.

    I may have a “skewed” sense of parenthood… because I’ve been very lucky. I’ve never had to discipline my kids, never had to deal with a tantrum or disrespect from them – they’re just extra people for me to talk to. I feel like I’ve gotten a “free pass”, which is why I would never dare having another one, lol!!!

    Everyone’s experience is different…you and Dave have chosen your road and I think it’s wonderful, just like I’d think it would be wonderful if you decided to have a kid. You aren’t going to do what people perceive as “what you’re supposed to do”, you’re doing what’s right for your own life, and I think that takes a lot of courage. And just as you do not think less of people who have kids, I trust no one will think differently of you because you don’t.

    Sorry for the long reply!!!! 🙂

    • Thank you April!! I love the long reply. I’ve been so nervous about how this post would go over, but figured, its me, and if this blog is me then this needs to be a part of it. Your reply warmed my heart and made me smile, so thank you! 😀

  2. Let me start off by saying I applaud your strength to write this and allow your friends and family to have a deeper understanding of something so personal between you and your husband.
    This was a hard one for me to get through reading. Tears were pouring down my face halfway through considering the decision me and my husband have made regarding the topic. Fear, questioning, and religious aspects are something that will probably never go away, but won’t be something that will tear me down either.
    And at the end of the day the ones you love will love you for you, and enjoy the friendships/sisterhood that can only get stronger through sharing experiences ( first hand or not). The differences can be a blessing to a friendship as much as the similarities.

  3. My dearest and loveliest of friends,

    This post is reason 5,637 that we were somehow kismet-ed into each other’s lives. I think we’ve had a similar conversation before. I am also terrified of pregnancy and never want to have children. My family constantly tells me that I will change my mind, and my answer has always been and always will be. “Well if that happens, then I’ll adopt” with the litany of reasons that you enumerated in your post about why adoption is amazing and how I think that someone’s need to give birth to their own biological child comes from an ego-centric frame of mind and not necessarily a desire to be a parent ( I have been around so many adopted children, and its because the parents so wanted these children that they could get over their own body’s inability to comply with their desire that they opened their hearts and lives to someone who really needed them at that time…THAT is sacrifice).

    I digress. I wanted to say 2 things. One is that you’ll always always always be able to talk to me about this. I understand your reasoning, and I am right there with you, sister. The second thing I wanted to say is a response to this:

    ” I will NEVER be the one that a child runs to when its most upset, or most excited. I will always be the one who gets it, but can’t fully understand. And that’s hard for me to accept.”

    And my response is that I think you’re wrong about that. At points in some of your nieces and nephews lives, there might be things that they get really upset or excited about that they’re not comfortable going to their parents with. Or if you’re babysitting and something happens, you’ll be there with open arms to comfort and protect them, and you’ll always be looked at as a safe haven.

    OK, that’s my two cents. I love you!!!!! And you’re just awesome. xoxoxoxo 🙂

  4. Britt, I wanted to respond to this and say how much I respect your bravery! It takes courage to make decisions that not everyone gets. Not every woman was brought into this life to be a mother. I’ve struggled with this decision for quite sometime, and it isn’t a decision I take lightly. If its not for you, its a wise decision to make. TRUTH is better than surrendering to the desires and wishes of others. God made you unique and designed you for a purpose, and whatever that may be will beautiful because its HIS design. Know that whatever friends are lucky enough to have you in their lives are truly blessed, because you have MUCH to offer.
    Much Love, Danyellow

    their lives are truly blessed, because you have much to offer.

  5. Britt, just read your blog and applaud you. You and Dave have made a brave decision and I fully stand by it with you. Some may not agree, some may, but come what may, you and Dave have to do what you think is best for you and your life together. I agree with Krystalrose, Be the best Aunt and Uncle you can be, be there for your nieces and nephews, and I am sure you will be blessed with more love than you can handle. God Bless you both and know that Dad and I love you and always will.

  6. FF- I admire your bravery. Truth is only we can fully understand our lives and with that only we can make these decisions for ourselves of what we need and what will enhance our lives and make us happy. Screw traditionalism and the ideas that have been ingrained in us by the world. One-size does not fit all. And I dislike ideas that we all should be the same and have the same desires and wants. That is not reality. Good post. love you.

  7. To some extent there is some truth to your worry; parents tend to gravitate to other parents especially in times of trouble because there is that understanding. However, I have (and still do) value the opinions of my friends. We all have our own life experiences from our own childhoods that enable us to bring valid advice and understanding to the table whether we have children or not. We are all in different stages in our lives (heck, I’m a grandparent!) but it is the love & support I receive & can give myself that is most important. And don’t underestimate the power of being an Aunt; as these children in your life grow there may be times they’ll confide in you & ask questions because you’re NOT their Mom. I think anyone who offers a child a safe place to learn, speak & grow; a person who offers them love … well, that person is just plain wonderful. It takes a village.

  8. Pingback: Committed to Us: Let’s get this party started! | Lemieux Love

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