Disclaimer: I have been hesitant to post this even though it is really important to me, so please be gentle. I’ve just needed to get this out there for a while now.
“You’ll change your mind.”
This has been said to me more times than I can count.
Let me back up and start at the beginning of the most recent conversation that ended with this phrase.
It was a pleasant morning first semester, I had just punched in and was headed up to my classroom. Walking quickly, I caught up with a sub I know pretty well. She looked at me, smiled and asked, “how’s the baby?” her voice rising until it reached the required level of excitement associated with the question (and babies in general).
A look of confusion crossed my face when I realized she wasn’t talking about our puppy Georgie.
As I furrowed my brow, she realized her mistake. “Oops! That must have been a different cute, young teacher. How long have you been married now?”
I could sense what was coming. I knew the conversation we were about to have because I’ve had it before. Many times. But I couldn’t get away. We were walking up the stairs together, and I was trapped.
“Three years”, I replied with forced sweetness in my voice.
“Well, when are y’all gonna get started?”
I shrug and smile.
“How old are you?”
“33,” I reply. (Note: My blood pressure is rising steadily)
“Time is running out, honey! I had my baby at 35, but you don’t want to wait too long,” she says as she smiles at me in an I’m-passing-along-grandmotherly-wisdom sort of way. Don’t get me wrong, I know she wasn’t trying to be pushy or nosey, but either way, I was (and am every time it happens) frustrated.
This is where my internal struggle bubbles to the surface. Do I admit that I don’t actually want kids? Or do I smile, nod, laugh and move on with my day? Honestly, it depends on my mood.
Sometimes it’s fun (for lack of a better word) to surprise people by admitting that my husband and I do not wish to have children. The looks! The confusion! The shock! The disbelief!
This time, I decided to tell her the truth.
“Or maybe we’ll just get more dogs,” I replied with another smile, in an effort to keep it light.
She hesitated and laughed a little. And then she said the magic words:
“You’ll change your mind!”
As I walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder why people think I have to change my mind? Why do I have to have kids? Why is it assumed that just because two people marry, they must produce offspring?
It’s 2017. I do not need children to run my farm one day. The world population doesn’t depend on me to procreate. I can live a fulfilling life without having children (gasp!).
I am an educated person who understand the costs, the joys, the risks, the ups, the downs. I’m not making the decision lightly. Afterall, I have nine nieces and nephews; I’ve worked at a daycare; I’ve been teaching for eleven years. I know kids. I love kids. Kids love me.
I also understand that I will never love another human the way I would love my own child. (Another phrase that has been said enough times that I can’t keep up with the number).
I. Accept. That.
Please, I beg you, let me make this decision about my body, my life, my future without interference. I am thankful for my husband who is on the exact same page as me. For my family–especially my parents who “get it”– and friends who support what we want in our lives without questioning or ostracizing us.
It’s our choice to make. We’ve made it. And we won’t be changing our minds.
Please note, I respect everyone’s decisions to have kids. Or not. Find what works for you and go with it. Thanks for letting me rant here, SOL friends! I hope I did not offend anyone!!! 🙂