**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.
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.
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?