I have written before about how I think it is really horrible the way that society likes to make all women feel as if they are missing out if they don’t have children. It is a ridiculous and an old fashioned notion that needs to be put in its place, in the past. I adore my kids, and my foster kids as well, and nothing has been as rewarding in my life as being a parent, but that just doesn’t mean that it is for everyone. I am a huge admirer of adult couples who are self-aware enough to make the decision that parenting just isn’t for them. I believe that it is a mature, rational, socially conscious decision to make, and I become quite upset when I hear people putting pressure on these couples to reproduce. So I wanted to list some reasons why a person might not want to become a parent.
1. The fear is absolutely immeasurable. From the moment I became pregnant, I started to worry, and I am actually a relatively easygoing person. In pregnancy; I was worried about coming in contact with anything that could hurt the babies. I got panicked if the car was stuck in traffic and I could smell exhaust from the other cars, I ran out of the room if the microwave was running, and I wouldn’t touch the cat. After the twins were born, I became paranoid about home invasion because I didn’t know how I could grab two babies at once and run and hide. I have a friend who became physically ill when she had to drive over a bridge after her daughter was born. I sat up nights watching them sleep even though I was exhausted, because I was afraid they might stop breathing. Then it was worry over unnecessary medical bull, and additives in foods, who and what they are exposed to. Now that my kids are older, it is easier, but I still live with the fear every single day, and it will never go away because they will always be my babies. I also have a much greater fear for myself now. I am no longer interested in sky diving someday, or bungee jumping, or any of the other adventurous things that I dreamed of doing when I was young, because I have this immense responsibility. I must take care of myself because I must be around to protect them.
2. The loss of self is astounding. I love the person that I have become, and I enjoy being a mom, but I am in no way the same person that I was before I had kids. I think that people who are really well centered and happy with who they are in life, need to seriously consider this before they start thinking about having children. The me that I was disappeared when I became a mom. You have children and suddenly you are Joey’s mom, and even your own name disappears from the conversation. My own interests became whatever my kids were interested in when they were little. I was so brain dead I would watch Elmo for gods-sake! I am a prolific reader, and I think that I went for a few years without reading one damn book when the kids were little. It has gotten better as my kids have grown, but I will never be the same person that I was before. So I suppose, the question that I would ask someone considering parenthood is; are they willing to give themselves up?
3. There is so much sacrifice involved. My children are always my first consideration; that is just the way that it goes with good parents. We sacrifice our own bodies to begin with as mothers. As parents we sacrifice, our belongings, our homes, our time, our sleep, our health, and our sanity. I have seen families demote the pets that they treated like children to the basement when the first baby was born. To this very day, my children will ask me for food as am just about to place it in my mouth, and I just give it up to them. My furniture is destroyed. I am regularly experiencing grossness that I could not even have anticipated before I had kids. I have practically zero privacy in my life. I do not know a single couple whose sex life did not suffer severely when their children were little, and then there is the expense of kids. From childcare, to everything else involving children: you can just kiss your money goodbye.
4. Parenting is a gigantic investment, and a huge risk. There is that old advice that idiots pass onto expectant parents when they are worried about what they are getting themselves into, where people tell them that it will all come to them, and they will figure it out as they go. I am telling you right now all that is a giant load of bull! Parenting is complicated, and difficult, and incredibly mentally taxing, and the most important job that any person will ever do. It is probably for the best then, not to frigging wing it! I do constant work, spend countless hours on research, and I am always learning. Anyone who tells you that all you need is love to raise kids is full of shit! The risk comes in big time for parents when they buy that load of crap, because the guilt related to screwing up your kids can honestly destroy an individual for life. I am just saying this stuff because no one else will step up and admit it. I have actually read articles where authors suggest that some children are just bad seeds. That is not true, bad parenting is involved in the creation of every asshole that I have ever met. The pressure not to mess up and screw my kids up for life is the greatest pressure that I have ever felt. Be sure that you have complete confidence in your own parenting abilities and in those of your partner before you make the choice to be a parent: that is the message that society should be handing out. Parenting requires a hell of a lot of guts. There is a community responsibility here too: if everyone were making sure that they were helping to contribute healthy, well-balanced children to the population, then we would be looking at a much brighter future.