“I’m never having children.”
“I don’t want any kids.”
“I’ve just never felt the urge.”
These, and many other phrases, are strings of words I have loved to hear over the years. They have been a quiet, meaningful signs that I am not alone in my feelings.
As a child I thought I wanted children. I looked around and all of my friends were from families. I was from a family. I would grow up and have a family too. I also wanted to be a Power Ranger when I was seven, so to say I could not be trusted with my life goals at that age would not be hyperbolic.
The feeling of having a family one day stayed with me, for a while. I thought meeting somebody, marrying them, and raising a family was a part of what love was. Not all of it, but a part. Time went on, however, and it seemed more like that was just a test to see if this was the right person or not. Meet, marry, have a kid, see if you can raise it or not? Possibly divorce and leave the child confused? The logic was flawed, and I began to have my doubts.
Moreover, the more I examined my desires to have a family, the more I realized if I was honest with myself, totally honest and uninhibited, I didn’t much care for the idea of having a child.
Don’t get me wrong. Children are wonderful and I love them. Watching as they learn, hearing their funny stories, and teaching them new things are a joy in anyone’s life. Having one of your own, however, is different and I can recognize this without having one at all. I reached my mid-twenties, bogged down by epilepsy and many other realities of what my life had become, realizing that no, I did not want a traditional family.
My boyfriend and dog brought insurmountable joy to my life and I had no urge to procreate. Why bother trying to stifle my vomit as I was up to my elbows in boogers, poop, vomit, or all three while there are things like date nights, on a Tuesday, where I don’t need a babysitter? Or weed, all day, just because my love and I want to watch cartoons and be silly? There was no good reason because I didn’t want to be a mother. I accepted this, felt freer than I ever had before, and continued my life. Until now.
Biology has not been a friend to my family. Throw a stone and you’ll hit somebody with an abnormality. Most women in my family are predisposed to diabetes. My father has a proclivity to addiction. My sister was born severely autistic with a sensory disorder and pervasive developmental delays. I myself was born with a cavernous angioma in my right parietal lobe, causing a myriad of symptoms, including my epilepsy. I should have known biology would take every chance it could to fuck me, and recently it has in the form of my urges to procreate.
I see children, babies, mothers, families, and think to myself, “How nice for them.” and then I usually think of my dog, or go back to browsing which coffee I want.
This past year, I have seen these same happy images and it is as if a compass located in my uterus is pulling me toward my boyfriend’s genitalia. I would not call the feeling ravenous, and it is not the same as the passionate arousal that accompanies when one significant other woos another.
It is an urgency, almost an obligation.
Ladies, even gentleman, whoever is reading this, I’m being serious. We were in the grocery store a few months ago when I saw a happy mother doting on a small girl with girly pigtails. Both looked elated. Suddenly any thoughts of late night feedings, screaming infants with purple faces, endless worry over if the child is safe left my mind in a flash. My only thought? That. That image. That life. A baby. A child. Hey boyfriend, take your pants off in the cracker aisle, I only have a few years left to make one!
Suddenly I understood why so many people I know now had had a child, seemingly out of nowhere, and later with obviously no intention of raising said child adequately. Said child was left to its own devices emotionally and psychologically. Biologically, if it was sick the parents cared for it. Biologically, if the child was hungry they gave it food. And to some extent if it cried they consoled it, but they never discussed feelings, or helped it grow as a human. They, like me, had seen a happy family, felt a ticking clock or a pulling obligation in their loins, and gone with it without thinking ahead. Perhaps they had always wanted children and this caused them to leave out the planning.
My issue at hand? I still don’t want a child. I don’t want that family. I’m still very happy with the family I have. Boyfriend, dog, my mom and sister, even my boyfriend’s family. It’s all enough for me. The clock though, I can hear it. I can feel it. It’s so strange to walk in between the conjunction that is your rational and primal brain, even as your primal brain is trying to flip a switch. I can feel a part of myself yelling, “MAKE A BABY! TWINS IF YOU CAN!” and my rational brain calmly replies, “Well, you can try. She’s already taken her birth control though.”
I wish the women who had said all of the aforementioned phrases would have also spoken up on this matter, if they felt it. At one point I felt supported, even if these things were being said by women I had never met, but now I feel alone again and, to be honest, a little crazy. Much like the hormones experienced during puberty, when you hear the clock ticking it is hard not to question your own decisions and similar experiences would be nice to hear.
So here is mine, for any and all women who do not want children, know there are other things out there for them, but have still heard the foreboding, annoying, misguided ticking of their biological clock. You are not insane and your decisions are not faulty; the same thing is happening to me and despite biology, I still do not want a child. It is okay to not want one while the clock runs its battery out, much like it was okay to not sleep with that cute boy in high school without a condom just because he asked you to.
The only advice I can offer so far is if you’re open to it, it can make sex better. When you get there you’ll know what I’m talking about. To the child-free!