Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Choice to not Have Children: Part II

(A couple days late with this, but here it is . . .)

On Choosing to Not Have Children

Lesley (Debris Field, Grey Matters) and I, in paranormal Fortean synchronicity share a lot of similarities. We’ve never met, but sometimes our experiences and thoughts are eerily alike. This is true of our experience with the decision to not have children.

I too have never had children. It’s been a conscious decision. That in itself is almost always very surprising to the majority of people. They’re usually more surprised when they learn that:
  • 1. I’ve been married for thirty years to the same man.

  • 2. There’s no particular reason why I’ve made this decision -- (although no doubt there are all kinds of dark reasons simmering within the subconscious surrounding that. So knows, who cares. AT fifty-three, I’m not going to worry about it.)

  • While I said Lesley and I share so many similar things, one thing I don’t share is her honesty in this context. She’s just come out and told people “nope,.. never wanted kids” whereas I admit a bit sheepishly, I’ve succumbed to societal and work place peer pressure (usually that’s the context) and sort of hemmed and hawed, saying how well, we did plan a baby and lost it and then it was too hard -- in other words, playing up the “poor me, sigh, so hard to be a woman sometimes” angle. Not intentionally, just happened.

    It is true: the part about planning a pregnancy. My husband and I had already been together for many years before deciding to get pregnant; we did lose the baby at four months, and it was emotionally hard for me to get past that. (Not fully realizing at the time that there were a lot of health issues related to the pregnancy that affected that as well.) I didn’t want children before that decision was made, and after I went through the process after losing the baby, I didn’t feel any need to get pregnant again.

    Like Lesley, I have to make it clear that “I like children.” I love kids, and in fact, suspect that, because of a family issue concerning a child and our relationship with him, our discussion to get pregnant had something to do with that. If I didn’t like kids, I wouldn’t have been working in education for the past twenty-two years.

    I’ve had people ask me the rudest and most personal questions, as well as the funniest or oddest, when it comes to my choice to not have kids. I’ve had people asked me, -- people who don’t know me and have no business getting so personal -- knowing that my husband and I have been together for a long time, “Well, what to you do all day?” I’ve had people ask me all kinds of highly personal questions regarding my “elaborate reproductive apparatus" as the Mad Henry Makow refers to female biology. I admit that I don’t get babies: someone who’s had a baby a month ago brings her or him into the office, and we’re all supposed to coo and wave and hold the thing and get all dewy. I’m very happy for the new mother and father, I appreciate the baby and wish her or him well, but I just don’t see the big thing in stopping what you’re doing to go and hold some stranger’s (even if it isn’t a stranger) strange baby. But that’s considered psychotic behavior so i go along with it. Kind of. But that aside, I love kids. And we can all agree we’ve seen too many people with kids who clearly should never have had them in the first place.

    Another thing people have done is make wild assumptions about me. I’ve never used my husband’s last name; I’ve kept my own last name and have always used done so. So if people don’t know that I’m married, but do know my last name is my “real” last name, and that I’ve never had children, they assume I’m gay. (Or if they’re Henry Makow, make that a pinko commie jew lesbo gay.) I had someone years ago, who always treated me a bit offish and I could never figure out why, give a literal sigh of relief and her whole body language changed towards me when she found out I was married and simply used my own name and wasn’t gay after all. (to quote Seinfeld: “not there’s anything wrong with that.”)

    A lot of people say that it’s “selfish’ not to have children. I have never understood that one. Selfish to whom? Selfish to people making that remark? Selfish to society? Selfish to what, to who? Makes no sense. I’d say that in some ways, having children is selfish, particularly if one goes' to great expensive to get pregnant, while there are children already born needing love and a home.

    At fifty -three, I doubt I’ll get pregnant at this date. You never know of course, living in the esoteric world of the strange, I’ve learned that shit certainly happens. If that were to happen -- granted, it’s a huge big ass IF -- I really don’t know what I’d do about it. I think I know, but unless one faces that situation, it’s really impossible to say.

    However, that’s not the point. part of choosing is the right to choose to change your choice. when it comes to the choices we make sometimes we expect there to be vivid lines of decision that are irrevocable: “you made a choice, stick with it.” Changing your choice doesn't mean you “didn’t mean it” in the fist place. It means you’ve changed, grown, experienced process, etc.

    All that’s speculation thought. I did make a choice and am very comfortable with it.


    Lesley said...

    I never got the big deal with babies either. I mean, they are cute and all, but I like older kids better. At least old enough to not wear diapers.

    I also have always reserved the right to change my mind, but I have always thought that if I do change my mind (which I doubt, but ya never know) I would adopt (an out of diaper stage child) rather than having my own.

    Another thing I don't get -- people who spend all kinds of money, time and energy to have their own children, rather than adopting. If there is a God, maybe he/she makes certain people unable to have children in hopes that they will adopt some of the extra ones?

    CindyPDX said...

    Outstanding article Regan! LOVE IT! And an excellent point there Lesley!