There. I said it. I don't. What can I say? I just don't. It's not that I don't like kids. Not that I don't think it's probably the most fulfilling thing one could do. I just don't. I know what it looks like to want to have kids. My friends get that excited, hopeful look in their eye, similar to the look they got in middle school when thinking of that one cute boy.
Let me tell you something. I've never had that. Not once.
It's not that I don't like kids. I love babies. A coworker brought her cute 4-month old into work today, and I wanted to hug him and snuggle him and press my nose against his. No, I don't have bad feelings about babies or families, I just flat out really don't have any feelings on the topic--no desire. I have intellectual thoughts on it. But people typically have kids because of desire, not just intellectual thoughts.
(People might say, "having kids is good because they can take care of you in your old age." But that's not usually the deciding reason why they had kids. They had them because they wanted them.)
So much I feel the world telling me to just change my feelings. Just want kids, alright? Then we'll know what to do with you.
But how do you change your feelings? And why would I in the first place?
There are so many great reasons to have children. But here are, honestly, the only reasons I have ever wanted to have children:
- I'd like to name them. I love words and meanings, therefore I love naming.
- Maybe I'd finally get a rack if I nursed the wee things.
- It'd be fun to see what my face and Mike's face look like all jumbled up into another face.
- I'd like to not go into an office every day.
- Other people tell me to.
That's it. I swear. Now you tell me--are any of those good reasons to have a baby? Some people think you should have a baby as an insurance policy--just in case you'll want one later. Or in case you're lonely in your old age. But is baby as insurance really any better than any of these?
I will have a child if I feel God leading me to. But I just can't have a baby because it's what I'm supposed to do according to some cultural standard. I can't do it because it's what anyone else thinks I should do. It's just not reason enough for me.
I am married, so of course this isn't just about me and my feelings. Up until this point, I haven't had to seriously face these questions because baby-having hasn't been sensible yet with Mike in school. Of course, Mike and I will make this decision together.
I'm reading a book by a woman whom I disagree with on virtually everything. And yet I feel like I've finally found a friend whose arms and words I can relax into becuase she gets me. Reading her book I feel like laughing and crying and...I feel understood. This affects me deeply.
In closing, I'll quote from this book ("Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert), from which I felt finally understood. It probably won't mean much to you, but I found solace here.
"The Bhagavad Gita--that ancient Indian Yogic text--says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection. So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly."
This is my confession: My life resembles me. Not anyone else. Is that so bad?