The following are some things I know I want to do. Some of them are more short-term, others less so.
*be in a long-term relationship and marry someone that challenges me and I don’t want to smother in their sleep (and vice versa)
*go to Rothko Chapel
*write more seriously
*take up piano again
I could go on; the point is that it isn’t hard to come up with things.
Over the past 2 years it has become clear to me that there is something that does not belong on this list. When I think of it I do not get a feeling of happiness & possibility of all the things that could be. Instead, I get a tightness in my chest and a knot in my stomach. I’m pretty sure this is dread.
So I am removing “having children” from the list of things that I want to do.
I still love children. They still love me. I still take seriously my call to work with people experiencing homelessness, which of course means a lot of holding, hugging and snuggling on babies – it is, in fact, one of my favorite parts of the job.
But I have felt some ambivalence for a long time now about babies being part of my future. And when I truly talked through it with several wise friends I realized that my worry wasn’t how I felt at all but that “I don’t think kids are for me” isn’t really something you hear that often from a young (enough) not-yet married Southern woman in a helping profession. My not wanting to deal with this ambivalence probably had a lot to do with why I decided not to date during some of my prime incubation years (28-32).
But I require a lot from other people and one thing that I tolerate the least is wishy-washiness. I cannot sit on the same type of fence I would just as soon push someone else off of.
I’m quite sure children aren’t the type of thing you are supposed to be uncertain about. I don’t even buy shoes I am not at least 90% about — and I buy a lot of shoes.
And you can return those.
So whether or not you aren’t supposed to say things like this or not, there are so many things I have done already in this life of mine that have far surpassed anything I ever imagined. There are so many things I have yet to do. But one thing I will not consider myself a failure for not being is a mother, because I don’t feel that urge. I am honestly OK if I do at some point – I would love to – but right now I don’t. I haven’t met anyone that I have said to myself, “I want to have children with this person.” And that’s OK, too.