….and I was selfish.
This came up in conversation this past week so it reminded me that I had promised to put my thoughts to paper. What am I talking about? The decision not to have kids. It was very clear to me early on in life that this was not something I would want, for two reasons. I was selfish and I didn’t want to gamble.
For the selfish part, once you have children, your life is (mostly) no longer your own. Any decision would have to include them and in all likelihood, the decision would not have been 100% what I wanted. (Same reason there is no husband.) I only wanted to have to consider one person during the chase for happiness.
Having children is a gamble. It’s like what Forrest Gump said about life being like a box of chocolates.
With children it’s the same thing…..you just don’t know what is going to be bestowed on you. Be honest. Doesn’t everyone want a perfectly formed baby, with normal brain development functions and the capacity to learn what they are supposed to be learning at each stage of their life? Don’t all parents want their children to be beacons of pride. Ok, I suppose you can get that through proper parenting and upbringing. But doesn’t it start out with good gene pools and what happens when the sperm and egg swim towards each other and say “howdy do?”
The health aspect was also a concern. My decision was further supported when I found out I had the Sickle Cell Trait and learnt that if I had a child with a man who also had the Trait, the child could have Sickle Cell disease. I’d seen a relative struggle with that all of the years I knew her. It eventually took her life. Way too soon. No sah. So I would have had to interview everyone on the first date. “Do you have Sickle Cell Trait? Oh, you don’t know? Let’s get tested before I decide if I am going to go out with you.” ?????
The outcome is one thing. What about the pregnancy itself? You get all these strange things happening to your body for 9 months…..or less. Sometimes there are complications. Life is threatened. And then the delivery! My, my, my. That clip in the movie Look Who’s Talking further confirmed what I was thinking. How could something the size of a melon come out of a hole the size of a lemon? No sah. Not me.
Other thoughts I have had include having to be responsible for the life of another person. What if I didn’t keep the child safe and was responsible for their mortality? I remember in high school during lunch on the back steps overlooking the playing field, declaring that if I had children, I’d have more than one in case one died. I don’t know where those thoughts came from. But I own them. My friends were astonished.
I know some people will read this and think “hmmmmmmm” she doesn’t know what she is missing. Well I do. I have helped to look after my nephew and niece, and I have sort of adopted 5 boys with various behavioural issues who have really tested my self control since 2010. They are each unique and bring out different feelings in me towards them. I love children. If I enter a room and there are both adults and kids, I will head over to talk to the kids. I find that especially when they are young , their minds are raw and fresh and they do say the darndest things.
I have no doubt that I would have made
a good an excellent parent. I have been blessed with the patience of Job which I think is a pre-requisite. I have not regretted my decision, except for one very fleeting moment after I turned 40. Then I quickly came back to reality after I asked myself would I have been able to do all of the things I have done so far in my life. No. You can try and convince me otherwise, but I know that many persons with children have had to sort of put a pause on their desires, their wants. Sure, it’s a noble sacrifice to make and hopefully their kids will be eternally grateful and show it.
For all the adults who have more than one child, I say they are having the ones I did not have. Like Oprah, I do feel that being a parent is the most important job in the world. I lift my hats to the gamblers and selfless persons.