A Guest Post: To be (a mom) or not to be (a mom)

This is the first in what will be a few guest posts written by my lovely sister. Hey look, there we are… (I’m on the left)
A while back, I did a guest post, anonymously, for my sister’s blog. You can read it here if you so desire.
The gist was this: I’m afraid to have kids. My fears include:
·         What if something is wrong with the kid, physically or mentally?
·         What if the world we live in isn’t kid-friendly (think pollution, global warming, wars, financial collapse)?
·         What if I’m too selfish and impatient to be a good mother?
·         What if my kid is an asshole?
·         What if having a child makes my soon-to-be-husband and I forget about each other?
·         What if pets are enough?
·         What if the thought of helping a kid with homework gives me chills?
·         What if I don’t have time to write or read or hike or cook or do all the other things I love?
·         What if we struggle financially with a kid?
·         What if I go crazy due to sleep deprivation?
·         What if there are adventures and travels I still want to have?
All those fears aside, I know there are pros to having kids. Duh. I’ve met my nephews. They’re pretty awesome. I can imagine how amazing it is to create a life with someone I love. I can imagine the fulfillment of that, the love, the lessons. I just don’t think it’s for me.
Before you encourage me to change my mind, rest assured I have thought about this long and hard. I have played Devil’s Advocate with myself. My fiancé and I have discussed this at length. We even went to a preconception counseling appointment (who knew they had such a thing?), just to get some information. The doctor said that I would be considered “high risk” (according to the insurance companies) when I’m 35 (which is now less than a year away). I know that’s just a silly policy, but the words still threaten me—high risk. I am a person who prefers very little risk. As in, no risk.
But even if I was 25, I don’t think I’d want a child. I’ve never wanted to be a mom. I’m an introvert who needs A LOT of alone time. I worry that being a mom wouldn’t allow me that. I’ve struggled with depression in my life. I worry that I’d pass that on to my child, or that my depression would flare up as a parent. I’m a chronic worrier. I worry about that.
The reason my first post was anonymous was because I’m a little embarrassed that I don’t want a kid. Most women want children. Most describe an ache, a craving, for a child. I’ve never had this. Most women either ignore any possible risks, or embrace them because their desire for a child far outweighs any fear. I’ve never had anything close to such a desire. My sister, for one, always wanted kids. When we were little, she toted around baby dolls, “feeding” them from toy plastic bottles. I played with my Barbies. These days, my sister says she feels a little sad for me and all that I’ll miss by being childless. The thing is, though, I’ll never experience having a child myself so I won’t know what I’m missing. I’m happy as I am, and I’ll just go on as that person.
I used to think there was something wrong with me. I’m in a minority, after all. Now, though, I’m proud of myself for realizing my limitations and making a decision for the life I want for myself (and my partner). Plus, like I said, my nephews are awesome. I  plan to love them with all my might.
Did any of you share my fears? Did you always know you wanted to be a mom?
Kim Hooper / Copywriter & Novelist / Also, my sister

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10 Responses

  • I have a child, one of my best friends does not. She never wants to have children for some of the same reasons you’ve listed above. Some people think it’s selfish of her to not want to give up these things to have a child, but I think it would be more selfish of her to bring a child into this world knowing it’s just not for her. And that’s the thing, it’s not for everyone. Kudos to you for not being afraid to admit it. This should be one of those things we never have to apologize for!

  • Ah! Finally a post on not wanting kids! I’ve always thought I’d want kids because that’s just what’s expected, you know? But now that I’m actually of the age to have them, I don’t want to. I’m an introvert too, and even just having my puppy to take care of is difficult! I don’t want to resent any kids I have. I figure if I turn 50 and all of a sudden want to nurture a human being, there are plenty of South American orphans that need a good home.
    Great post!

  • As someone who has also battled depression and is without a doubt an introvert, I definitely get where some of your fears are coming from. Admittedly, being a parent isn’t always easy and I’ve dealt with postpartum depression and have also worried that my kids could struggle with mental illness down the line, and even as an introvert I’m able to find time where I can be alone (thanks to my husband). That being said, I didn’t used to think that I’d want kids, and then I hit a stage where I really wanted them and we had trouble conceiving our first so we had the conversation about how we’d feel if we couldn’t have kids. I knew I’d feel disappointed, but at the same time… I think I would have been okay with not having kids too. While having kids can be rewarding, so can just being an aunt. We would have traveled more, that’s for sure!

  • It was so refreshing to hear someone talk about not wanting kids. Like Amanda, I’d always planned on having them until I got to the age to have them. I’m currently a nanny and though I enjoy most days with the kids there are some when I’m running out the door at the end of the day because I can’t take another minute. The fact that that’s not possible when you’re a mother scares me to death. I’m only 20 but I’m already pretty positive I’d be happiest as the role of the cool aunt anyway. 🙂

  • I think every woman has the right to choose what she wants to do with her body and her life. There are so many women who have babies for the wrong reasons, lack of contraception, pressure, and so on. I think it shows strength to know what you want.

  • I totally respect, even envy, women friends who know for sure that they don’t want kids. I was completely on the fence, a bit indifferent, and had no serious desire to have a kid. But the key for me was that I didn’t definitely, without a doubt, NOT want a child. I thought I must not want a child if I didn’t have that warm fuzzy yearning for one, until I got the best bit of insight from my mom’s most thoughtful and interesting friend. She simply said, “The lightbulb doesn’t go on for everyone.” She had felt the same indifference that I felt, and wasn’t “a baby person”, very similar to me. The lightbulb never went on for her, and it didn’t for me either. But she had two children, now in their 40’s, and I now have a three year old, and it all makes sense now. I will never be one of those people who feels like having a child “completes” them, or that they couldn’t imagine life without their child (my husband feels this way), but I absolutely adore my child, love him beyond belief, and am actively trying to be the best possible mother. I have days when I am in parenting heaven, and I have days when I secretly yearn for my carefree twenties, but I will never look back with regret. The first few years (the phase that you see your sis is in now), for sure require the most self-sacrifice where you feel the farthest from who you were before, but there is so much joy and reward as well. I feel so devoted to helping my kid become the best he can be so that he can contribute positively to society and live a full happy life. And I still carve out time for myself and my work, I’m a ceramic artist.

    So I’m not saying you should have a kid, but I do want to put it out there that not having the obvious desire doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want to or shouldn’t have one. Thanks for the interesting post, love your sister’s blog.

    (PS: I was 35 when I had my son, am still hoping for one more, and am the kind of person that worries about the worst-case-scenario far too much, but I did that before, life can be scary with or without a kid.)

  • Hello,
    First off I am a huge lover of your blog. I find it so refreshing that you post “real life” on it. i feel like a lot of the blogs out there they only show you the good. They make it look like their kids are perfect, and nothing is hard, life is a breeze. Who knows maybe their lives are easier than most, but I have a hard time believing it. 2nd I think your sister and I are the very very similar. I went back and read the original blog post, me to a T! I think about things the exact same way she does, I am a worrier. At my previous job co-workers use to call me Momma Chan, i worry about everything & everyone! I never wanted kids, didn’t even appeal to me in any way. So much could go wrong. Freaked me out, I will smother a child, and F*** up their life I thought. My husband and I were together for 13 years before we had a kid. When we got married I said ” I really don’t want kids, if you do you shouldn’t marry me” He said either way I love you. Then one day I just woke up at the age of 29 & I wanted a kid. it was so weird, and nothing scared me more. i thought it would go away, but it didn’t so we went for it. The day we decided for me to stop taking birth control I had a panic attack, but decided what the hell we will do it anyways. I now have a almost 5 m old. It has been the hardest thing in the entire world & I never realized how truly selfish I was. I am very glad I decided to have a child, but it is not for everyone. It’s not easy & there is no you time left. It is a very hard decision to make, and i honestly think some people don’t even think about it before they do it. i really respect her decision & it could have been me. i am very glad I came across this post, thank you so very much! -sorry this is so long.

    • Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your experience. I love to hear all the different sides of the coin… those who felt similar to my sister and decided not to have children and those that did. I appreciate you sharing, thank you.

  • Its such a good feeling to know im not alone with this outlook. Reading blogs that talk about the struggle of parenting just furthers my perception of not wanting to be a mother. Im so tired of friends and family saying “Just wait! One day you’ll change your mind!” Even as a child I didnt want to be a mom.


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