Having just passed a milestone birthday, I’m now entering the age where older generations are perpetually curious about whether I plan to have a family and, more importantly, when. Now that my sister just received news that she’s growing a little nugget of her own, they’re becoming ever more persistent by the day. But honestly, for as long as I can remember, I’ve never wanted a family. I already have such wonderful parents and a brilliant big sister (not to mention one of those boisterously large extended families), why would I need a separate one of my own? I always had my list of reasons for not starting one and maintained those reasons confidently, but it wasn’t until I said them out loud did I discovered a commonality between them: they were only about me me me. This doesn’t change the fact that I’ve never felt that motherly instinct or desire, nor has it changed my decision to have children but I’ve certainly started to reconsider my reasons. Spelling them out has shown me just how self-absorbed I’ve really been.
Vanity – I have fears about my body changing, stretching out like a balloon, and never being the same again. I don’t want to risk making my body undesirable indefinitely.
Financial Freedom – I’ve always wanted a beautiful home, expanding real estate, and the best kind of anything. How can I have all these things with children to support and put through college?
Overall Freedom – Like anyone else, I have dreams of seeing the world and although I have been fortunate enough to travel with my family throughout my life, there are still many sights to be seen and countries to be visited. If I start a family, I won’t be able to travel as often, my schedule won’t be as flexible and frankly, vacations with children just aren’t the same.
Quality of Life – I want to enjoy my time, have the leisure to manipulate my time as I please, and enjoy the finer things in life. I don’t want to have to invest in the future of children when there are so many things I still want.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting these things. Most of us want financial freedom and a better life in general — whether children are in the conversation or not. There’s also nothing wrong with not wanting children. It’s a woman’s decision to carry a baby or not and it’s a couple’s decision to start a family or not. But I have been so set on my own wants, I won’t even entertain the conversation with my better half. I’m so determined to get what I want, I haven’t even considered what he wants. Frankly, he can’t even say what he wants. The way I’ve been behaving diminishes his value in the relationship. When I silence his opinions, it only builds up frustrations that strains the relationship and soon there will be no compassion left to withhold the relationship.
I still haven’t changed my stance on having a family and I don’t know if I ever will, but now I want to hear what my better half has to say about it. I want to shift my perspective to us collectively. I want to listen.
And who knows, it might be nice to have more family around to love and laugh with once I’m old and gray.
DAY 16. Love, Ro