So a few weeks ago my mom sent me an article that ran in Self Magazine about a 30-something lady who claimed to not have the "baby" gene. The article started great and I immediately related to it fully until...it led to her undergoing multiple fertility treatments and eventual Momdom.
You could say, she lost me at stirrups.
I thought - hey, finally, an article from my point of view - refreshing! So many articles start that way but end "as I rocked my beautiful bundle of joy to sleep, I couldn't possibly imagine life without her/him and I too drifted to sleep". (EYE ROLL.)
Defeated again, I vowed to write a blog entry from the "Childless and Happy" - or at least doing just fine, thanks - point of view - just in case there happens to be even one other person out there in my shoes.
As a married person in her early 30s, there is quite a lot of pressure to have a "family". (As if my husband and I don't count as one - our own holiday celebrations, fulfilling careers and large circle of friends and extended family not withstanding.) You may have seen my response in Redbook recently regarding their article "What is the Right-Size Family". Not one childless couple was included, and so - you know me! - I wrote in and lo and behold they printed my letter.
The pressure comes from everywhere - not just friends and family. The media, complete strangers, co-workers, you name it. There is even a weird internal pressure - like later in life I'll regret it...but at the moment - and still with some time on my side (albeit it dwindling) we have put the "trying to start a family" thing on pause. But it doesn't stop people from asking and then reacting with such disdain and rudeness when we say we might not ever have kids. "Ever?" No, we don't think so. "EVER?" No, we just don't think so right now. "You will. You're just frustrated. Have you tried Dr. Such and Such? Standing up? Elevating your hips after sex?" You know random lady at the airport...it's none of your business!!!!
See, a while back we thought we'd try. And so we did. Very quickly it became obvious it was not nearly as easy to get pregnant as our junior high gym coach led us to believe. Both of us have minor "equipment" problems, and therefore, if we were to proceed, it would most likely require scientific intervention. The initial poking and prodding was enough to beg the question - perhaps this is not meant to be?
If I have to force it so much - maybe it's not in the cards. We aren't wealthy enough to try everything under the sun, plus I don't know if I'm strong enough to endure what some women gladly do for even a slim chance at a baby.
So, instead of trying, lately we've been playing around with the idea of getting use to not having any kids - and are tentatively finding that it may suit us better. As a matter of fact, a calmness and sort of comforting resignation has settled in.
It's not that we really dislike kids. We are completely surrounded by kids in our condo building - all of them adorable and fun to play with and watch grow. But.....in such close quarters we have also realized that children, even really well-behaved ones, are loud, needy, use tons of crap that would not compliment our current decor, and constantly require attention. Since I already demand these things, it doesn't seem fair to my husband to double that annoyance. Nor does it seem fair to bring a child into a home where we might...dare I say it? Resent it, even a little.
I know, that there may eventually be a different ending to this story for us - perhaps we'll adopt a few years from now, which is an amazing thing to do - and could be an even more fulfilling experience for us. However, then we'll have to go through such a rigorous process to be deemed "acceptable"parents that it too, seems like a lot to deal with.
What if we just didn't - wouldn't that be okay too? What is a family anyway?
Here is a short list of Pros and Cons that run through my head on shuffle constantly:
When we get old they (might) take care of us.
I suppose car trips and vacations might be fun.
Christmas would be a lot more fun.
Feel like you're leaving a mark on the world.
Payback for the neighbors (just kidding!) Okay, just kidding a little. Okay, not kidding really at all. PAYBACK.
(More) grandchildren for our parents.
Funny dinner conversations, inside jokes, stories.
Finally, a use for my boobs.
Have I mentioned that I lost nearly 40 pounds recently?
Won't have someone to teach what we know (that for a little while, thinks we're the best at it.)
No more going to St. Martin a week before Christmas.
They leave marks on everything.
I'm an actor and improviser - how would that work?
No more fancy dinners.
Having to serve macaroni and cheese with hot dogs cut up in it alongside sushi.
If you're out there - this is an open invitation to connect! What are you stories and thoughts about not having kids?