Saturday, June 30, 2012

So..When are you having kids?

There are so many things I want to do with my life.
So many aspirations I have. There is so little time when you begin to factor in the reality of starting a family.
Time is one of the obvious stumbling blocks I come across when considering having a family and in essence how I want to spend my life.
In my mind, (admittedly perhaps warped through my own experiences) nothing else limits a woman so significantly as becoming a mother. Before any readers get stroppy or think that I am expressing a negative view of having children please understand that this is a personal pondering and not meant in any way to be offensive to anyone.
So I think " I'm 28 now, if I was to have a child in the next two years ( there's every chance I wont ) when that child is 16 I'll be 44-46 years old. When that child grows to be 30, I'll be 58-60.
Doesn't seem so bad timing wise but what about devoting your life to your children, surely that's the sort of mum I would want to be? What about the things I want to have time and energy to do?

I'm probably thinking about this the wrong way.
So how am I thinking about it exactly?

Is my desire to have children contrived from the hope that somehow doing so will give me a sense of meaning in life?
Through the miracle of childbirth, motherhood,parenthood and everything in between, do I expect some form of simularly miraculous self worth to materialise?
Surely to apply that kind of pressure to myself and my unborn child is an incredibly unfair approach to bringing a new life into the world?
And what kind of world would I be bringing my child into?
 If I am confounded by the choices in front of me, frustrated by my own limitations and infuriated by those atrocities of life which I cannot control, who is to say my offspring would fair any better? Why would I want to take the responsibility of pushing another person into existence?

If I allowed myself/was able to fall pregnant right now, I suspect in all honesty, that I would be "copping out" of an existence, an identity all of my own. I would be "passing the buck" of chance, the terrible weight of fate on to my child, in a selfish attempt to avoid figuring out things for myself.
Whilst I know that this feeling will likely change, this is currently no less the case.

If there is no great future, no huge un-tapped well of potential within me; for fear of failure in myself would I then be seen as succeeding in the most natural task of a female?
How confusing to consider that our roles as people of planet earth might ultimately be that of simply species survival.
What if my great gift to humanity is in fact simply procreation?

So what of women and men who do not procreate? It seems preposterous to suggest that these lives have less meaning. (That's because it is) But there remains a practical instinct to put the care of our young as our top priority, along with them goes the carers, the feeders, the nurturers, the mothers, the fathers, the parents.
So even though this instinct is one which has propelled us into the dominating species on this planet, we have now evolved passed a point where there is an actual need to procreate. There is no need for survival and increasing population is now commonly regarded as a burden on the planets resources.

So where does that leave me?


Janice AItken said...

Interesting post Lauren. I have absolute respect for people who decide not to have children if that's what they have decided for their lives. But I also have an awful lot of friends who have left it too late and are now either having a really hard time getting pregnant or are worried that they're going to be getting on a bit by the time their kids grow up.

The problem is that if you overthink the whole kids thing, you will probably never have any. On paper, there are far more reasons not to have kids than there are to have them.

The truth is that having kids is without question, the most fulfilling, rewarding and right thing I have ever done in my life. There is nothing I have achieved or experienced that is even close to the importance, satisfaction or sheer joy of having my kids. My family are the core of my life.

I would never be so arrogant as to tell someone what to do, but I would say to you - just imagine the world without Hazel and Dave. You would make a marvellous mother but you are marvellous without kids too <3

Cat McGovern said...

I am very thankful that nature removed the need for me to ponder such real dilemmas and in accidently falling pregnant I was not only gifted my amazing little boy but also saved the pressure of planning such a life changing event! I do not envy you and others in your position!

Gothgirl said...

I found myself forced to face this question when I accidentally fell pregnant.
At 30, I was aware that the "clock was ticking" and knew this could possibly be my only chance to be a mum.
But, I also knew that mentally I was in no state/ was not ready to have children. It would be unfair to bring a life into the world that would not have the support it needed - be it emotionally / financially. I cant look after myself let alone another living being.
I had a week to decide what to do.
My partner, though wonderfully supportive - wasnt really keen on having kids - but he wouldve had I chosen to do so.
But I couldnt help but think that the pair of us would grow to resent this life.
Im not saying Id never consider kids, I just know that even at 30 I just still wasnt ready - and I felt like a 15 year old... Its a huge decision, but in my opinion, if youre debating it so much, youre not ready - yet. Thats not to say you wont be - but it shouldnt be something you go into half - heartedly with the belief that when this little person is born that youll connect and bond. I believe if you want children, you WANT children - my friends who had them, WANTED them. Not any "hmm... maybe..."
But this may all be me in denial with a fecade after what I decided to do.
But I truly believe, if youre ready to be a mum - youll know.

McCrocodile said...

Thank you for all your thoughtful comments, the overall feeling I am getting from feedback seems to be that it's one of the true personal decisions in life. I also take into consideration what Gothgirl stated about "knowing" although my tendency to over analyse lends itself to confusion which in turn creates delay eventually somewhat cruelly taking the decision out of my hands, like what Janice touched on. I actually wrote this in a journal earlier this year and decided to post it now as I continue to wrestle with the concept and how I feel about having children. I am incredibly happy to report this quandary is admittedly due to being blissful in my relationship to Andrew, having fallen completely in love some two years and counting. Prior to this relationship I had never seriously considered having children, or getting married ( don't even start me on how I USED to feel about marriage) but the love I feel for my partner has inspired an entirely new sensation that had previously been quite alien to me - broodiness.

So perhaps my ponderings are an attempt to address the balance of hormonal angst that boils ever so near the surface whenever I'm around a small child!

siobhan said...

There is another aspect... that happened to me was.... yes, I wanted kids... but... nope, and I didn't want to go down the IVF route ( apart from being hideously expensive - only available on NHS in certain counties)
There are many assumptions made, that you didn't have kids through choice... or some say ( supposedly ) understanding things like... oh, you're lucky, they're are such a handful and your time is not your own and certain other platitudes....
Generally said trying to be helpful.
In our society today, it seems to still be what women expect to do...(changing though).
I think I'd rather they were more like Janice and honest about how wonderful kids can be.

Enough of that.. What I really want to say is, whatever happens in your life with regard to kids.... choice or not.... be creative in your life...
I reckon you'd be a great mum or not as the case may be.. coz you're a great person.

I think I've rambled a little too much here. Don't think too much about it.