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I Know I’m Running Out Of Time But I Don’t Know If I Want Children

I don't know if I want children

“You don’t have much time, you know?”

“The longer you wait, the harder it will be.”

“Do you want to be so old bringing up young children?”

“Not having children is selfish.”

These words ring in my head and heart often. I mean, I’m not saying I do not want children, but I’m not saying I want children either. I’m just saying it will happen if it’s meant to.

Is that so selfish?

When I was married, the question was inevitable. It was the obvious next stage in this path of life. Date, be engaged, marry, have a baby or two or three, work your life away, then retire.

Trying to walk this path was difficult from the beginning. The concept of marriage itself was hard to buy into. I didn’t believe in it, wasn’t convinced it applied to everyone, and yet when the engagement occurred, I didn’t have a genuine reason to say no.

Who bases not becoming engaged or getting married on a gut feeling? No one. Or no one willing to admit it.

The marriage took place and ended in divorce. Yet, the question of children somehow still does not stop.

When these questions or statements arise from people who are confident in their judgments towards me, I want to yell from the bottom of my soul so that they disappear. I want to scream, “YES! I know I’m losing eggs! I know the risks of being old! I know my window is closing! LEAVE ME ALONE!”

But I do not. I do not because I am ashamed. Too guilty to admit that I am not even convinced that I, myself, want children. Too ashamed to admit that I am uncertain, especially at this age. I try to convince myself there’s always the option of adopting or in vitro fertilization or something else if it’s too late when I make up my mind, whenever that is.

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How do you explain to someone that you do not take the lifelong commitment to another person’s life lightly?

How do you explain that in the life decisions that you’ve made where you’ve not been 100 percent confident, they’ve failed? How do you explain that you’ve seen too many unhappy people stay in relationships because of children? How do you explain that you were once that child and wouldn’t want any other to carry that weight of responsibility?

In response to these people’s judgments, I just shake my head. “No, I do not want children.” This response seems safer and easier to defend. This in itself is not a lie; I do not have that broody feeling towards babies that other females seem to feel (another guilty admission).

But I do feel like there is a part of life I would be missing out on if I miss this opportunity, and the question of whether or not it’s worth missing weighs me down.

Instead of trying to lose this weight, I carry it with as much gentleness and understanding as I can possibly muster. I let the thoughts come and go and balance other’s judgments with none of my own.

I watch the clock hands ticking by, I celebrate my birthday each year with love and joy, I count each monthly cycle as a blessing because “yes I know, I don’t have much time, I know“.

View Comment (1)
  • Thank you for sharing this. I am turning 35 in a couple of days. I am not sure I want to have kids either. When I was a teenager, I thought I wanted to be a mother. I even had a name picked out. As the years went by, I started questioning if my decision was based on society’s expectations of me or my innate desire. I realized that it was the former. Being a mother is a HUGE responsibility. I’m not sure it is a responsibility I want. As a recovering people pleaser, I sometimes find myself wondering if I am taking the gift of being a grandmother from my mother but I have to remind myself that this decision is mine. You sharing your story is very helpful to me. Thank you.

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