“People keep telling me I’m going to regret not having kids.
But what if I have one, and then I regret having it?”
I have a confession to make.
One that I’ve been so nervous to admit out loud, partially because I’m scared that if I admit it then it may make me realise how I’ve pretty much made up my mind about it, but mainly, I’m scared that I’ll be completely and unfairly judged. Society has ingrained into our minds that if we steer away from this societal norm then we’re horrible people but I really don’t think that that is the case.
So here it goes…
I’m afraid to have kids. So much so that I don’t think I want to have kids at all.
I grew up in a big family, I was basically raised with all of my cousins and there were loads of us. We were one big family, then when we moved to the UK though significantly smaller, for a typical English family we were still quite big. My Mum, my Dad, my Dad’s son, my half sister, my older sister, my younger sister and I. For most of my life it feels like I’ve been surrounded by kids and I think that played a big part in helping me have a happy childhood. I love being around kids, they bring with them the curious, brave and innocent presence that I think life sucks out from us in adulthood.
I honestly love kids, I have friends who have babies and I love being able to play a doting aunty. I always thought I would someday have a house full of babies, I actually looked forward to being able to see a mini me and Hubert running around. It really was something that I was hoping would be on the cards for me.
When I found out I had polycystic ovaries, I felt like my world had ended. I knew of people who used abortions as a form of contraceptive, you’d hear of kids being abandoned or hurt by the people they thought would love them unconditionally and then there was Hubert and I who knew that the moment we became parents we would love and take care of them, we knew we would be nothing but supportive parents. But my diagnosis made me feel like that choice was taken away from me. The sadness that surrounded us was overwhelming. We tried to be optimistic but after being checked out too, Hubert found that he was also going to struggle to conceive a baby naturally.
I mean one person have fertility problems makes things difficult but 2 people well you can understand why at this point we feel like it’s basically impossible. From me to you, I can tell you how devastating that is.
“We’d have made great parents.” I would cry to my partner at night feeling so defeated. Of all the unlucky things to have happened in my lifetime, I really thought having kids would be the one way I would be repaid, it was probably a selfish thought. I know people are thinking well there are ways to have a baby, to raise your child. I have taken that into consideration, but can I just ask you to understand how it feels to be in that moment. That moment you’re told that if you want to consider having a baby you’ll have to add 5 years before possibly conceiving, being told you may get lucky and pregnant naturally but your chances of carrying to full term is also unlikely. It’s like the wind gets knocked out of you because something that is so natural has suddenly become such a complicated process. Yes, I could adopt a baby and give it a life that it may not have been able to have, yes I could foster a child who wants nothing more than a forever home. I hope someday that may still happen. But at the moment, I am grieving, I feel like I’m going to miss out on experiencing pregnancy, the excitement of finding out you’re finally pregnant, the connection you feel with your baby inside you, that bond you have with your partner as you both anticipate the arrival of a baby that is half you and half them.
Once we started discussing our feelings, thoughts and plans we wanted to make, Hubert and I had to decide whether we wanted to take the advice of the doctor and start trying now.
“I’m not ready for this,” I told him to which he agreed. Hell, we were barely in our 20’s we still had so much we wanted to do, but at the same time, we were both very conscious of the fact that the longer we waited the harder it was going to be for us to have babies naturally.
Can I just quickly say that I hate that term, ‘natural conception’ to describe having sex and producing a baby. I don’t see things as adoption or IVF as unnatural and I feel like by using terms like that it can add shame and make people who are having babies via other methods feel like anything other than natural, I don’t feel like that is fair.
So during our discussion, in trying to comfort me, Hubert would remind me that with or without babies we were still a team and that it meant when we did finally have kids, we would know that we wanted them more than anything in this world.
I guess to a certain extent I feel comfort in what he says but at the same time, it did strike a nerve in me.
Yes, if we did want kids, we would have to seek active methods to bring a child into this world and in our lives. That means that we will have to think long and hard about whether we want to have children or not.
This idea scares me so much. I know that there’s no returns policy on kids but isn’t the thought that you’re 100% responsible for another human being just the most terrifying thing?
I’m scared because when you really want something, and it goes wrong, well it’s just so much more disappointing. I’m scared we’ll fail, that we will be so clueless and won’t be able to manage parenthood. I just feel like because we’re not going to get accidentally pregnant, because we’re going to actively seek parenthood, that there’s so much more pressure on us to do well, that there will be little forgiveness. We won’t get to complain about parenthood because there will always be that fear that people will be thinking that we have no right when we wanted it so badly. I’m scared that the process of trying to have a baby will put a heavy strain on our relationship and maybe we just aren’t strong enough to handle that. Hubert is my best friend in this whole world and I don’t want to loose him.
I’m scared that parenthood isn’t for us, that we’re too selfish to have children, to have the privilege to have someone follow in our footsteps. I just don’t know if I have the courage to take that all. Sometimes I think it would be so much easier if we could have an unplanned pregnancy because I know if we didn’t have the choice like that then we’d make the best of the situation and embrace our new roles. I guess it just shows how I am not mature enough for that next step yet. But at the same time, I feel frustrated that I feel intimidated into feeling like I can’t not want to have kids.
It’s like the world wants you to believe that our sole purpose on this earth is to have kids and raise more people to have more babies. It’s such an insignificant mission in life when you think about all the other things you could do too. Like instantly a person is a terrible one if they decide they don’t want to have children or be responsible for raising them. Why can’t I just be the fun and exciting aunty? The one that the kids love to play with? The one who is really good at looking after children but can give them back when I’ve had enough? Why does that make me a bad ‘woman’ if I honestly don’t know if I feel any maternal instincts at all? Hell, I can barely get my baby bunny to give me cuddles and the only time she willingly sits on my lap is when I have a treat bag to give her. Shouldn’t animals be easier? And I’m struggling to get a bunny to love me.
How much harder will it be to have a child listen to me? What if I’m not nurturing enough? What if I don’t feel any love for my baby? What if my partner ends up loving our baby more than he loves me?
Are these normal worries to have? Because I really would love to talk to a parent who isn’t afraid to admit that they don’t have it all together. Honestly, I feel like if people were a little more understanding at parents who are still figuring things out then I would probably feel a little more at ease about parenthood. I guess I get some kind of comfort for being able to think about these things now, then at least I can figure it out before the stress of deciding whether it’s for me comes along.
I just wish it were an easier process, like; I wish that this wasn’t the hardest thing to decide on. How do parents do it? How can they put a lot of their hopes and dreams on another human being that will probably grow up to resent them? I mean my parents did well at parenting but we had a very difficult relationship during my teen years, I feel sick at the thought that my kid may put me through what I put my parents through, it’s so unfair and unjustified.
Its times like these that I suddenly become very aware that I’m an adult and these are adult thoughts. I just wish that having children wasn’t the be all end all of life. I mean people can live fulfilled and content lives without them right?
Maybe these are just thoughts I need to have another day when life calms down a little bit and I’ve had time to truly reflect on what I want for my life. We’ll see. Only time will really tell what is meant for me.
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday but most importantly, you proud every day!
Peace and Love