As a child I had the wild assumption that all older women were Moms. It didn’t occur to me until later that some women were not moms. When I first discovered this oddity, I pitied them… thinking there must have been something wrong with them. They must have had an inability to have children or their spouse did. Perhaps they had a child, and it died. Another assumption was that they never found the love of their life and therefore didn’t have marriage and a baby carriage… lalala. I know some close to me, even relatives that didn’t have children and I assumed it was because they couldn’t.
I took pause when I found out some of them simply were not interested in having children. This boggled my mind and I truly believed these were some of the most caring women I knew and they would be great mothers. Why had they decided not to have children? It seemed like such a highly personal question, that I never asked. It wasn’t until lately that I had the realization that I might end up to be one those women who would never had children. There was no single moment, no horrible event, or hormonal imbalance or personal defect that would keep me from having one. I simply do not have a burning desire to become a mother.
I have two nieces, who I love with a love so unconditional it astounds me. I hear them cry and I worry for them, unlike the non-nieces who cry around me and the sound is like finger nails and I am instantly annoyed. I see how they grow and change and learn and it is so amazing and heartening to see. Every discovery is monumental, even as monumental moments, like walking, are just necessary stepping stones for the child to reach something sparkly that they shouldn’t. I long to see more of them and watch them grow into the amazing women I know they will be one day. I’m excited to see how they grow as individuals and how they grow as sisters. It is fascinating and amazing in a way that words cannot describe adequately.
Still, knowing and experiencing all this does not fire up a ticking clock inside my girlie parts to grow one of these fascinating children inside me. Do I think that if I had a child that everything would work out and I would be an adequate, if not great, mother? Most likely. Do I also think that a square peg can fit into a round hole as long as the fitter of the blocks has a dremmel tool, yes. Will the square peg ever be the same once its edges are rounded? No.
I know that having a child tests every aspect of your life. Every fiber of your being is altered once your body starts making another body. Hormones change, priorities shuffle, personal relationships falter and some new ones blossom. The world changes from a place of mild comfort as an adult, to an apparent death trap for the wiggly baby that will eventually be exploring it. It’s not that your life stops. You can still travel, it will just take a while before the logistics of carrying a child become manageable enough to stop outweighing the perceived joy a vacation would give you.
For the early years traveling with a child is possible, however the child will never remember the vacation at all and those moments of pure bliss in commercials where you are sitting on a beach drinking a corona while scantily clad people play volleyball and flit about the beach… will all tumble down when the baby gets diaper rash and an ear infection and then eats some decorative plant in the hotel and you spend the rest of the vacation examining the bowel movements of a baby to make sure nothing weird is coming out, or going in.
I could list the pros and cons of having a child until I am blue in the face. It simply comes down to the fact that if I look at my life as it goes on, and wonder if I am okay with NOT being defined as a mother… am I okay with that? Yes, I believe I am. Would I like the opportunity to be the best Aunt I can be and vicariously live through my sister and her babies, of course that would be wonderful. Would I feel a sense of lose if she moved so far away that I could no longer visit and wouldn’t have a bond with the girls? Who wouldn’t.
I’m not saying I’m ready to hog tie my uterus and remove the possibility of a child, I merely am content with the current plan of not having one. Nothing in life is constant, besides change. I have never looked at a baby and thought… omg I need one RIGHT NOW. I have looked at a baby and thought, what an amazing thing to create life and watch it grow and change and evolve. Am I less of a person if I do not explore the ability to create another life? Will other people think I am selfish? Will the people that think it is odd I may never have a child be the ones up at 3:00am changing the baby they so wanted me to have with exploding diarrhea and colic? No, that will still be me.
Recently I have done a lot of soul searching and I found that the thing that bothers me the most is not being a grandmother. Isn’t that weird? The thought of not being a mother is unsettling because it seems as though it goes against the grain, but the thought of not being a grandmother saddens me a little. Is it the idea of not having a little one to spoil and do all the fun stuff with? The fact that I loved my grandparents and that relationship is such a unique and different one? Is it that I won’t have anyone to share my stories with, share my history, that will miss me when I’m gone? Yeah, it’s a little of all those things.
This is one of those things that I don’t think can ever be written in stone, but it is definitely something that should be thought about deeply and honestly… unlike the car you most want, you can’t decide at 67 to have a baby. Your body is your own enemy and will let you live in regret if you haven’t truly thought about and made peace with that kind of decision. Who knew that at 30 years old I’d be spending so much time thinking about NOT having a baby.