Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate children.
I could for sure be someone’s cool auntie and be great at it. When it comes to making my own babies though, that’s an entirely different story. As a child of parents who conceived too early in life, pregnancy and the concept of sex were about as offensive as saying “Voldemort.”
They’d tell me “if you ever get pregnant, you’re out.”
Or, I’d be forced to have an abortion.
I know they meant well. They didn’t want me to struggle the way that they had, and their relationship was often quite turbulent. They stayed together for the kids, and eventually divorced after I turned 18. Even in adulthood, I often felt like the cause of their problems and vowed that I’d never, ever have children.
Not only is it deeply rooted within my mind that a baby is a very bad, bad thing that could have potentially ruined my life as a younger person, it’s become a phobia. A real, ever-present fear that persists as the years goes by.
The terror was exacerbated when I found a very supportive, loving partner who does want to be a parent, and would probably make a great father. During the first few years of our relationship, we’d had many discussions, and arguments, about our future.
We agreed to give it time as we were still quite young ourselves and had only been out of high school for a few years. Even toward the later part of my mid-twenties, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of having “my own” family. Just saying it sounds so cringey.
Fast forward nearly 11 years later, and find myself in a weird place.
…Do I want kids?
I don’t know. I never thought I’d say it, but maybe I do.
We often moved from place to place during my childhood, and many of the family connections from “back home” were lost throughout that time period. As a result, I frequently find myself longing for a village of my own during the holidays, birthdays, and those huge milestones that are meant to be shared with loved ones.
The other side to that coin is that I love my freedom. I like being able to wake up late when I’m not at my day job, and taking off to the store at a moment’s notice, for any reason at all. I like that I don’t have to worry about car seats, baby gates, diapers, feeding and sleep schedules.
Additionally, I don’t know the first damn thing about caring for an infant. To be honest, when I hear other women describe it, the experience sounds absolutely miserable.
“I’m sleep deprived, I haven’t showered in days, I barely have time to feed myself, my stomach is swollen and my nipples are sore, but it’s SO worth it!”
In essence, motherhood is hard. I know it’s hard because I’ve heard so many women say it’s harder than anyone tells you, and never what you expect. Somehow, they still do it…successfully at that. They make it look it so effortless, no fear or doubt.
Babies are such fragile little things…doesn’t the idea of caring for one terrify anyone else out there? Anyone? Bueller?
Once they reach a certain age though, I can teach them to play the drums, go hiking, or take them to Brazillian Jiu Jitsu classes like my father did with me.
That is the part I look forward to.
Why couldn’t I just be a dad? Being a dad sounds awesome, you get the whole kid and none of the pain associated with creating it.
I try to read stories from other women and watch Youtube videos in the hopes that I’ll get used to it. But every time I see a foot protrude from a large, swollen belly, it makes my skin crawl. So, you can probably take a guess as to where my mind goes when it comes to the actual birthing portion of all of this.
It’s not just an “ew” thing, though. I’m scared.
I’m afraid of bleeding out, infection, emergency surgery, preeclampsia, and any of the number of things that can go so horribly wrong.
It’s one of the reasons I get so frustrated when people say “you were MADE for this. It’s natural.”
Yes, I think we’re all aware of what reproductive organs were made for. However, that doesn’t mean that women don’t die in labor or suffer from bizarre ailments like hearing loss after baring their child.
The whole home birth thing seems long and risky, but the thought of trying to push out a baby with a room full of strangers watching is equally disturbing and petrifying.
Could I get a surrogate? Sure.
Would it ease my mind? Not necessarily.
I know that I’d have a whole new set of worries to deal with:
Will I be able to bond with that child?
Will this person be a good surrogate?
What if there are complications?
What if it doesn’t work?
If I wait too long, I suppose that decision will eventually be made for me.
Ever go to Google and type in “geriatric pregnancy”?
Not a good time, let me tell you.
Then again, I have an aunt who unexpectedly got pregnant in her mid-40’s and has a perfectly healthy child. Mariah Carey had her kids when she was like 40, right?
I like the idea of being a bit more established and having the financial security to stay home with my child during their infancy. Not to mention, the recovery time needed after BIRTHING A BABY.
That’s right, I put it in caps.
We’re also in the middle of a pandemic of which there seems to be no end in sight. A pandemic that has forced some mothers to deliver their child alone. For someone who is already dealing with a bad case of tokophobia, that sounds like a nightmare.
For now, I remain on the fence.
Who knows, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that things change.