It’s pretty weird what you can and can’t remember from your childhood. I remember being a curious kid – I asked a lot of annoying questions and wanted to know the reasoning behind everything. I remember wondering how many children I would get when I was older and thinking God got to decide when and how many children would come to you. There was a conversation with my mom where I asked her how she felt about God giving her three kids! Did she want that many? Even my brother? That’s a lot of kids… ;) My mom told me that she wanted to have three babies and she was very lucky to have three babies but some women out there want more (my grandma had five) and some may want less – some may even want none at all. WAIT WHAT?! *screech halt*
I thought women grew up to be mommies and you know, blah blah blah. I remember wondering if I wanted kids or not! Whoa, I got to choose?! How would I know how many and IF I even wanted babies then? Thankfully I grew up with parents who educated me and openly discussed a lot of things with me – most importantly, we could decide what we wanted in our life. I remember my mom told me that my Aunt didn’t want any children and that she always kinda/sorta knew and some women only want to be aunts and that it was important for me to find a partner who also respected that wish and I respected theirs. Run on sentence. I apologize.
I learned early on that we as women are our own bosses when it comes to our journey into motherhood. Women who don’t have children aren’t baby haters and making the wrong decision. They are choosing to explore their own boundaries around motherhood. I am so so excited for you to read Eden’s story below. And Eden, thank you for sparking a fun memory I had when I was younger. <3
Eden’s Story • Possible Trigger Warning //
“What if you regret it when you’re older and don’t have anyone to take care of you?”
“You have no idea what you’re missing out on.”
“There’s a piece of you that just won’t be complete.”
“But you’re a TEACHER. Don’t you like kids?”
“Well, that’s just selfish.”
There are times I want to scream in people’s faces. Not a cute contained scream that just somewhat releases stress. But an ugly, all consuming scream that causes veins in my neck to bulge and a headache to form when I’m done. It’s almost 2019 and I so badly want to believe that my choices as a woman are not as restricted and scrutinized as those of my mother and her mother before her, but the older I get, the more I begin to understand that society might be moving on but at a sloth’s pace in certain respects.
I do not want to have children. In fact, whenever I give the idea of having children serious consideration, I am gripped with intense fear and anxiety. My chest literally tightens and I can feel a panic attack brewing unless I think about something else… which obviously I try to do. This doesn’t sound like a difficult task— just don’t think about it. But you’d be surprised how many people FORCE me to think and talk about it no matter how overtly uncomfortable I am.
When someone asks me why I don’t want to have kids, I never point out just how personal that question is, but dammit if it’s not insanely personal.
Not everyone had a beautiful, rosey childhood. I struggle with discussing certain aspects of my childhood because I know so many people had it worse. I had a roof over my head, I had meals provided, and parents who weren’t all bad. But at the same time I did not grow up in an environment of unconditional love. There was verbal abuse. There was physical abuse. There was anxiety, depression, and what some would call borderline personality disorder all under the same roof. I had a parent who could be found laughing and hugging someone one moment, and screeching in uncontrollable rage the next. It was exhausting to tiptoe around this person, always wondering if you would be the one to do something that set them off, while also simultaneously craving their affection and fighting for their attention at every turn.
It was not an ideal situation and looking back I know it had a severe impact on my adolescent years and into my early twenties. A lasting effect in my later twenties and now my thirties is very different though; I fear I would turn into the same type of parent.
I have times when I battle intense inner rage. Rage that (as a logical adult) I know doesn’t match the situation I’m in. In these moments, my temper can shoot through the roof and it takes a very concentrated effort to contain the heated words and actions I want to lash out with. The older and more mature I get, the better I am with coping with these fits of anger, but I still know they’re in me. I saw what having children did to my parent with anger issues. I can’t help but feel paralyzing terror at turning into that person myself, to the point of wanting to ensure it will not and cannot happen.
“Well how does your husband feel about you not allowing him to become a father?”
Calm down, Janet.
I have a husband whom I love more than anything and he loves me more than I ever knew a person could be loved prior to meeting him. I don’t want anything about that relationship to change. I know it’s naive to think that simply not having children will cause our marriage to stay the same until the end of time, but it’s also naive to think that having a child wouldn’t affect our marriage. I’m comfortable with the idea of growing old and changing WITH my husband as I get older. I believe in us and our capacity to do that without children.
I am insanely lucky to have a husband who is not just content with my choice to not enter motherhood, but he’s 10000% on the same page. This is a partnership between two adults, not me bulldozing him into an empty future where he’ll forever feel a gaping hole that only a child could fill, which is exactly how some people want me to feel based on their passive aggressive (and sometimes not even passive) comments.
I have so many friends and family members who are nothing but supportive of my lifestyle choice. These people are the breath of fresh air that I sometimes desperately need when I’ve had a long day suffocated by judgement, contempt, and just overall societal pressure to be something I’m not. I wish more people realized how hurtful it is to question someone’s life choices simply because they’re different than their own.
I am happy. I genuinely love my life the way it is. It’s a different life than some other women desire, and that’s okay. It has taken me many years to come to that conclusion, but I firmly believe it and hope others do too.