This post has been sat in my drafts for some time now. I tweeted about it back in September and whilst for the most part, the responses I got were great – either women agreeing with me or women who had had kids telling me that actually sometimes they couldn’t be bothered and that it’s a normal feeling – I got a comment to say that what I said was insensitive towards women who can’t have kids.
Now, before we get into this post, I need to say that my heart OBVIOUSLY goes out to all those women who want kids and can’t have them, for whatever reason. It must be one of the worst feelings in the world, wanting something that much and not being able to have it, going through years of struggle, appointments, stress and doubt.
I wish it was easy for everyone to have a child if they wished. I wish everything just *worked* if you wanted one and that was that. But that’s not life and sadly it’s not easy for everyone. If you’re one of those women, my heart is with you. But I’d also urge you not to read this post as I’d hate to trigger or upset anyone.
I also want to make it clear that I’m not SURE if I want children. I’m certainly not against having them at some point; in fact, I think I’d be a great Mum (my boyfriend would certainly make an amazing Dad) and I think it’s one of the coolest things in the world, bringing up a tiny human, teaching them about life, helping them find their passions and watching them grow.
But I also know that it won’t be the end of my world should I not have them. I’m 29 years old now. Most girls I went to school with already have children by now. A lot of girls I knew who are a lot younger than me also already have children. But it’s only now that I feel like if I were to have a child, I’d be able to deal with it and look after it to the best of my ability.
I certainly wouldn’t have been fit to do that at any other stage of my twenties when I was suffering with such a debilitating anxiety disorder that I could barely leave my room.
I don’t think not wanting children is insensitive. Whatever reason you don’t want children is a valid reason. Saying someone is insensitive for not wanting children on the basis that they don’t know whether they can be bothered with it is saying that anyone who doesn’t want a child is insensitive. If I am, all childless women by choice must be.
But I think having a child knowing that I couldn’t really be bothered is more insensitive and cruel.
Because let’s be honest, you don’t have to be a parent to know that children are hard work. Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially – and more. You REALLY NEED TO BE BOTHERED to have a child because once you do, it’s a full-time job that you’re never allowed to leave.
I won’t speak for my boyfriend here because it’s not fair but for me, I like being able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. I like being able to book a trip or nap all afternoon or spend 3 hours in the bath on a whim. I don’t cope very well with a lack of sleep. I know all of those things would dramatically change, should I have a child.
I know I’ll have to become a lot less selfish. I’ll have to drastically change my priorities. With a child, comes more effort and responsibility that I can actually fathom. And quite honestly, I’m not sure whether I can be bothered with that. To put the question simply: Am I too selfish to have a child?
A weird thing for me to consider, actually, as I’m one of the least selfish people you’ll ever meet. But perhaps this is my way of allowing myself an area of selfish-ness in my life that I don’t feel bad about and can give to myself forever. Who knows.
I’m not sure what the purpose of this ramble was. I don’t often word vomit like this but I have been keen to express how I feel, especially after reading In the Frow’s thought on having a childless future. Obviously it’s nobody else’s decision. I’m 29 years old, so I’m at an age where I could swing either way. I have time.
I find comfort in the fact that I’m sitting on the fence.