For most of my youth, I was fervently against having children. The very idea sounded pretty damn awful, and when a good friend got pregnant in high school, it kind of sealed the deal for me that there was no way I wanted to have kids. I didn’t put a ‘NEVER’ on the idea, knowing that one day I’d most likely change my mind, but I also never really dug other people’s kids, either. Babies smell weird, aren’t half way as adorable as people seem to think they are, they get awesome right around 5 to 7 years old, and then grow out of it to be little monsters until you can legally boot them out when they’re 18. So what’s the deal with making more of them?
Sometime around my 27th birthday or so, I started thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be too bad to settle down and have a rugrat of my own. Somewhere in there, my imaginary family grew to three or four kids, plus some kind of large, sweet dog (my imaginary family lives somewhere in the woods of Maine, in case you were wondering). I would bake cookies for them, and they’d build a tree fort and somehow not end up breaking any bones in the process. The girls would kickbox and go rock climbing. The boy would be the artsy, non-sporty, musician type that The Man and I would have arguments over (The Man would want him to play baseball, but Son would HATE team sports) and then we’d finally agree on letting him try out for the track team when he wasn’t playing with the school band or entering student art competitions. My imaginary family just has big blank holes where the issues should be, other than that one. Thus, I could safely imagine myself becoming a mother and not killing any of my young.
Then last year, my sister in law got pregnant. It was unexpected, but still a welcome occasion. The family went nuts when my niece was born – she’s the first grandchild, and quite the little beauty, all chubby cheeks and dimpled knees. I haven’t met her in person yet, but I’ve seen my fair share of photographs, and she looks nice enough. Somewhere along the way, though, something happened. I changed my mind. Looking at my niece has made me realize how very un-ready I am to have kids. Though my body is quickly passing it’s sell-by date, and the time will come when I’ll no longer be able to safely conceive, I just don’t want to have a baby yet. I still feel just as grossed out by babies as I did when I was a child. I don’t want to hold one. I don’t like the way they smell, the work involved with caring for them, the stupid little tights and headbands girls wear, or the screaming and nonsense talk. It’s just not my scene. Not at all.
I talk to all of my friends about their kids; the friend who had a gorgeous little girl our senior year of high school is now watching her finish up Jr. High. I have another friend with two sets of twins (madness, I tell you), who tells me all about mommyhood and how wonderful it is – but none of her stories sound fun at all. I love hearing them, since I love my friend, but it’s just not my cuppa. Another mom friend has an awesome, pretty chill little boy who’s just hitting the naughty stage. I couldn’t handle one tantrum. No idea how she’s handling one every couple of days. No idea how other parents with more high strung kids handle screaming multiple times a day.
And so it is that I’m trying to talk myself into having a baby in a few years, because it’s expected of me, because that’s been the grand plan since The Man and I met, because it’s just what people my age do. But I don’t want one. A voice deep down whispers that maybe I’ll be unable to, and I’ll get off on a technicality. Another voice whispers that I’ll be a better, fuller person when I’m a mom, and this time of selfishness will be forgotten. I’ve decided to let them duke it out. In a few years I’ll revisit the question. I have got time. My ovaries aren’t going to shrivel up and fall out while I’m busy enjoying what’s left of my youth.