Ambivalence About Having Kids Shouldn’t Be Taboo
All my life I have assumed that I would get married and have kids, but I never once had an active urge to make babies.
I knew women and men who had always dreamed of the day they could have their own families, and next to them I felt like I was a bad person. Their behaviour, shock at my ambivalence, and society’s influence made me feel like something was wrong with me. I was broken. I was not a good woman.
Focusing on my career has brought great rewards. I have a Masters degree and a good job and my own small business. But I still felt like something was wrong and I was being judged even though I know that is crazy — I’m a good person whether or not I want children.
It wasn’t until I finally started talking to another career-oriented female friend of mine that I realized there’s nothing wrong with me. In fact, there’s a lot of women just like me out there! They don’t know if they want to have kids or not. Maybe they assumed they would but never actively desired them. They haven’t made any decisions yet.
Eventually people do make the decision to be or not to be parents and it can be for a whole host of reasons. People who might not feel very maternal might decide that they want to have loving family surrounding them in their old age. Or they might fall in love and want to have kids with their partner. Or they might be afraid that if they don’t have kids they will come to regret it when it’s too late.
I also have realized that desire for children definitely is related to age and circumstance. Age is a given; the older women get the less fertile they are, so it’s likely that if they previously were unsure, they will finally make the decision to have children in their mid-30s. As for circumstance, I’ve become an aunt for the first time. Since then my desire for my own children has become stronger. I find that I am now actively looking forward to the day I have my own family.
But maybe my baby thoughts will disappear as I get used to having a baby in the family and it’s no longer a novelty and I’ll go back to being ambivalent. I don’t’ know. But I know what it feels like to be unsure and I know there’s nothing wrong with that. I know we should stop judging people and proclaiming that all women want children, they just haven’t realized it yet. Some people don’t want kids (men and women) and there’s nothing wrong with them, and others just haven’t made up their minds yet.
But for those of you who are ambivalent, don’t worry about it. Lots of people are in the same boat and aren’t sure about their desire for kids. Yet for some reason it’s not talked about. It’s taboo. It’s seen as a bad thing so we hide it.
So let’s get the discussion going. Are you one of the many who is unsure? How does it affect you and what do you think will help you make a decision in the end? Is making a decision even necessary or will you just see how your life plays out?