I recently announced my engagement which brought forth messages from a lot of old acquaintances. Including one from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in 5 years. This friend was living in the middle east with her husband and new born child.
After congratulating me on my engagement, she hinted that once kitty and I were married, the kids would start rolling in.
I think my heart skipped a beat. In fear. I don’t want kids. Nor does kitty. I think it took a while before my brain figured out that just because she wished it, I wouldn’t start popping out mini humans. Unless she was into voodoo….
I told her that we weren’t planning on having kids at all. That offended my well meaning friend. A lot.
She launched into a speech about how having a kid was a privilege and that if I don’t have one soon I won’t be able to have one later (she made it sound like a fact rather than the opinion it was). What’s more she said not having one would bring me pain.
Really? How are you so sure? How could you possibly know what I want from my life.
I knew we couldn’t have a logical conversation when she said “you and your husband will get bored of looking at each other’s faces one day. What then?” implying that a kid would be necessary to save my marriage or somehow make kitty’s face more interesting to look at.
I lost my shit. Internally.
Externally I kept my end of the conversation respectful and logical. I let her know that I would never bring an unwanted child into the world on the off chance that I might fall in love with him / her.
I haven’t heard from her since.
It’s a running joke amongst my friends who know her. They frequently ask if I will invite her to the wedding.
Why parenthood is a conscious decision
In my world, having a kid because..
1. If I don’t do it soon it might be too late
2. I need a baby to keep my marriage interesting
3. I’ll inevitably regret the decision not to have one
…is not a good reasons to jump on the parenting bandwagon. Infact it’s a little unfair to both the kid and myself. Also if I need a kid to save my marriage, maybe it’s better we split up.
I know people who have kids and think that it was the best decision they ever made. Some of these parents are the coolest people I know.
I also totally get their obsession with their kids. I mean if you saw me talk about my bird (which to the horror of my pet free friends happens a lot) you would think I was nuts. Which I am a little given that I let kiwi poop on me all the time and yet I shower her with kisses and cuddles as soon as I get home. No matter how tired I am. She is my baby. I’m sure it would be very different if she was my own flesh and blood. Another dimension of feelings all together. So I get it.
But I also know parents that wish they hadn’t taken the leap. An acquaintance once admitted to me that if she knew what having a kid would be like, she wouldn’t have done it. I don’t know what its like to live with that realization but I don’t want to find out.
I think parenthood should be a conscious decision and not one you make “just in case you can’t do it later”. Because what this well meaning friend forgot to mention was that while I may not be able to have kids later, once I have them I can’t make them disappear either. So it’s not a decision you take on a whim.
Figure out what you want from life and prepare for the possibility that kids might not be a part of your story. And that’s perfectly ok. Overpopulation is a reality and you won’t be doing humanity a disservice if you choose not to have your own set of mini humans. But if you do, make sure you are having them for the right reasons.