To Procreate or Not to Procreate?
I once asked my friend Erica what it felt like to want a kid. She said that when she saw other people's babies, she just wanted to steal them and have them for her very own.
I have never felt this way.
Although, admittedly, I want to steal other people's dogs and take them home and have them for my very own. When I confided this to Erica, she was not especially impressed by my puppy-mothering instincts.
"But doesn't that mean something?" I asked, forcing my mouth into what I hoped was a beatific maternal smile.
"It might, um, mean that you should have dogs instead of children," she said.
Of course, she is right. Baby dogs are cute to me in a way that baby children have never been. People say that babies are cute and smell wonderful. I maintain that even though babies *can* be cute, this is not always the case, and that they typically smell like poo.
My lack of desire to procreate is something I've been thinking about lately, as I am solidly in my mid-30s, and it's now-or-never time if I want a tiny human to spring from my loins. Originally, my mother didn't want kids, but changed her mind and decided she was okay with it, and then she loved having them (and, truth be told, was the best, most engaged mom ever). So I have kind of assumed for most of my life that although I never wanted children at the moment, there would come a time when having children would go from seeming wretchedly inconvenient to seeming kind of fun.
But this time has not come.
If I had a partner who (1) was dying to have kids and (2) was willing to do four-fifths of the work, having kids might sound fun. But my DGF feels the same way I do, meaning that in tandem, we would still be sixty percent short of a parent.
Don't get me wrong--I like kids, particularly after the age of fiveish. I've done a lot of teaching and coaching of various types and at various levels, and I think kids are awesome (my favorite being high schoolers). And if someone gifted me a baby, or something happened to a friend and he or she left me with custody of their kids, I guarantee I'd throw my whole heart and soul into parenting--I really would--and I'd probably love parenting, too. I can guarantee I'd be both open-minded and overprotective.
And yet, I have no special desire to proactively become a parent. Not only does this make me feel like kind of a bad person, but it's also a little odd. After all, tons of babies need good parents and are up for adoption. Why don't I just adopt one? Is it really all that different from a friend leaving me their kid? Somehow, it feels that way.
I also keep feeling as if, one of these days, the desire to have a kid is going to grab onto me, and then I'll "get it." But for now... I don't get it.
Can anyone else relate to how I feel about all this?
Next post: Well-Meaning-But-Obnoxious Things People Tell Lesbians Who Don't Have Kids. (Anything I should be sure to add to this list? Tell me!)
11/19/2013 02:37:31 am
I have been thinking about it and I don't want kids either.
11/19/2013 02:45:45 am
Damn I missed you! No worries..don't get your boxers in a bunch..It's all good, I've missed you in a proper and platonic way. Welcome home.
11/19/2013 03:16:09 am
Dude. This is how I feel. My butch wife is dying for kids and I'm waiting for the lightbulb "ready!" moment and I don't know if it will come, and that's scary. There's the potential for regret either way. I'm just too selfish, or at least, that's how it feels - I, too, want someone else to do 4/5 of the work, but it would be unfair to the other parent. What am I to do?
11/20/2013 08:25:59 am
We don't all get the light bulb moment unfortunately and you never know if your "motherly instinct" will kick in or not. I know people that were dying to have children and then hated it! And I didn't want children and found out it was the biggest blessing I could've ever gotten in this life. There is no light bulb moment.
11/19/2013 03:24:41 am
Always wanted kids and raised two sons with a partner. She had them through AI. We split when the boys were 14 and 16 years old.. Yes a lot of work .. They are 26 and 24 now and are still my pride and joy..
11/19/2013 03:33:06 am
I have known since I was tiny that I wanted to be a parent. I've always loved babies and little kids and I'm at perfect ease with them. That said, I think it's perfectly normal and alright not to have those feelings. And it's ok to not have those feelings now but decide to be a parent later. As many babies and little kids that need families, there are also plenty of teens and especially queer teens who need mentors and teachers and coaches. It sounds like you share your talents and love in the ways that make sense for you, and I am so grateful for that!
11/19/2013 04:06:58 am
As a step-parent/full time caregiver to 2 kids who was ambivalent about children to begin with, I feel pretty strongly that it is much better to be a terrific aunt, uncle, Big Brother/Big Sister, or other mentor to children who need extra adults around than to take on parenthood before emotionally ready.
11/19/2013 07:27:04 am
Is it about "emotional readiness," or is it a simple desire--a life preference, that some people have or develop and some people don't? For some reason, although I don't think you meant it this way at all, the term "emotional readiness" made me balk because I thought, sooooo does that mean I'm emotionally immature or stunted?!?
11/19/2013 02:49:22 pm
11/19/2013 07:21:24 am
I always knew I didn't want to be a parent and got a TL when I was 30 so no legislation can force me to become one against my will. This wasn't a tough choice for me but if you Google "child free fence sitter" there are some good resources to read. You are not odd or alone in not wanting kids of your own!
11/20/2013 02:13:59 am
This is one of those topics I've wanted to write about on my own blog, but will probably put on a whole new blog because there's such stigma about being someone who absolutely does not want to have kids. I've felt that way since age 12 and I'm now middle-aged. I have physical problems that would make me a horrible parent; my father suffered from the same problems and should never have had kids. I know that I'm doing the world a favor by not having kids, and should I ever want to spend time with them, there are plenty of children and teenagers around who need more adults in their lives. I think it's much better to realize that one is not cut out to be a parent and not have kids, than realize this after you've already given birth or adopted. My brother, who's also middle-aged, feels the same way. It's safe to say that we feel relieved that we don't have to have them, although our mother applied a bit of pressure when we were younger.
11/20/2013 02:56:15 am
always knew i didn't want them! i think too many people are having kids anyway, only people who really want to be parents should be having them, there is too much pressure on people to have them
11/20/2013 08:28:50 am
I guess I was lucky. No one ever thought to put pressure on me. They just assumed my sisters would have the kids. I guess I was lucky. However.. It would've pissed me off if pressure had ever been put on me and no one should EVER do it for that reason.
11/20/2013 03:27:53 am
Ok..heres the real deal. I have never thought babies were cute..hated the crying and couldn't understand why people actually wanted them. I was comfortable feeling that way..didn't feel guilty in the least. Well at the time I was married and did become pregnant. From the moment I found out..I was already in love with this baby. So heres the thing. I never thought I would be a good mother. Wrong. Ive been a great mother. I couldn't love my child more and we are very very close even thru her teen years. I love being a mother..the maternal instinct does kick in for some of us. I thought my baby was the cutest baby in the world..and nothing she did bothered me. Do I feel this way about other people's children? NO I DONT. So there it is.
11/20/2013 07:08:55 am
I've known for a long time that I don't want kids, but even before I was certain I knew that I'd rather regret not having kids than regret having them. The former only hurts me, the latter hurts the kid(s), which is messed up.
11/20/2013 11:54:04 am
I was shocked at how strong my own bio urge to have kids was. But I get that not everyone has that. I am glad I had mine, and it was always totally worth it. No regrets that I did. However, now....I look at dogs and think about them, and my pups fulfill all my maternal needs now that my kids are grown....my kid urge is completed. If you want kids really bad, have them. It is not easy to parent...it can be really hard...and way expensive.
11/23/2013 07:21:33 am
In my 30s and early 40s I wanted kids a lot. I always really liked spending time with babies and little kids. I did not want to give birth. I thought I would adopt or find a partner with kids or a desire to have them. But I never did mainly because I was ambivalent and the right relationship and life circumstances never happened. I got a certain amount of family pressure, but other sibs provided grandkids, so it was not overbearing pressure.
Yes yes yes, I can definitely relate to this! I also think I would be a good parent, and so would my wife... but we are not going to make any babies. We have been talking recently about doing foster care, though - using that good parent potential to help someone who needs it, rather than making a new person.
I think this is an awesome blog post (and topic).
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.