A few months ago, I read this Lenny article by Joy Bryant about her decision not to have kids. At the time I read it, I knew I felt passionately about the topic but didn’t quite know how I wanted to phrase my thoughts. Now I do. I think.
You see, I’m at that age (33) and stage in life (long term stable relationship, about to get married) where people ask when you’re going to start a family. My FB feed is filled with pics of bumps and babies and, while I’m very happy for those who’ve chosen that path in life, I just can’t see it for myself. At least not anytime soon. Last night we went to a chicken shop out in the suburbs. The section we were in was chock-full of noisy, belligerent children and all I could think was, ‘Thank fuck, this isn’t my life’.
In her essay, Joy goes through the various things people say to her when she says she doesn’t want kids. I get most of these as well.
- But you’ll make beautiful children – very bad reason to have kids
- But you’ll be such a good mother – are you basing this on the fact that I’ve raised two dogs to old age (one has one eye and a bung leg) or maybe it’s because I held a kid for 2mins and it didn’t die?
- It’s so much fun – no one tries this with me, they know I know what’s up
- But you were such a good mum on Parenthood – doesn’t apply – I’m not a famous actress
- Just give him a baby already – hoooo boy, also another point no one would raise with me if they value their life (and our friendship)
- You don’t have much time – ok, I can see this one but having a kid simply because time is running out biologically although I don’t actually want one seems about as rational as eating a whole three tiered wedding cake because you bought it and it’s about to go off. Actually… I do like dessert so maybe… No! NO! Don’t be stupid, Natalie!
It’s such a fraught issue, this motherhood thing. Even when you do have a kid, there’s so much judgement that goes into how you behave when you’re pregnant, how you decide to give birth, whether you’re going to or are able to breastfeed and then how you raise the kid. It seems like the pressure to be this perfect woman and mother just never ends, even when you are a mother. Fuck, maybe it gets even worse then because now you actually have a kid to fuck up. Personally, I feel like I can be hard enough on myself without having another human being relying on me to survive. Fuck, the dogs are hard enough work as it it sometimes!
Now, I’m not saying never because I could easily wake up six weeks from now and be like, “I must be pregnant right this instant!” It’s unlikely but not entirely impossible. I’ve been known to change my mind from time to time. But right now. I like my life of freedom, fun, drinking, peace and quiet. I feel like a child would definitely hamper my ability to be a sometime lady of leisure and frequent social butterfly/party girl. After all, I can’t leave the baby at home with a bowl of water and the promise to return at some point the next day. Or I can… but Child Services would no doubt be onto me pretty quickly. Which is not an experience I’m looking to have.
So for now, being a Mother of Dogs will suit me just fine, thank you very much. Sorry, mum.