I’m creeping closer to thirty and I’m at that strange point in life that everyone experiences, where my friends are a crazy mix of people who jump across the world at the drop of a hat because they have no ties, the ones you can always rely on to be at the pub, as well as people who are buying family homes and thinking about how they want to celebrate their little ones first day at school. I love watching people in my life grow and change. People who were once too scared to make new friends at school are now smashing jobs in far off, exotic lands I’ve never heard of. People meeting and connecting with partners who empower them and make them smile in a way I’ve never seen before. Seeing people I met in trashy bars forgo the Saturday night bedlam for Sunday mornings cleaning up cereal when their kids try to make their own breakfast, is incomprehensible when you first meet them over cheap tequila.
It’s hard to separate out the old school expectations and the Instagram filters from real life and desires though. That girl who’s decided to leave the country again, her life looks so exciting and colourful, but is she really just running away from the fact that she’s spending another birthday single, another year closer to never having her own children? The woman who takes her family to the zoo or the beach or the woods every weekend, does she really wish she could just spend more time at the office and finally get that promotion that she knows she deserves? There are a million examples of women who have given up their careers, crazy girly weekends away and Sunday’s at the spa in order to bring up their family and it’s deep down, genuinely, 100% their choice, which makes them happy. There are just as many examples of women who choose to never have children and enjoy the freedom of never having to get up before 6am (or home from a night out before 6 either, for that matter), the disposable income to eat where they want, travel where they want and spend time with whoever they wish, however they wish.
The thing that I don’t understand is how to know which side of the fence I fall on. Nothing is that black and white. The two types of women I’ve spoken about aren’t mutually exclusive. We live in a world where you can be a woman with a family and a career, see the world and go for expensive, exclusive meals and still do the school run, if that’s what you want. But I have no idea what I want and although these lifestyles aren’t mutually exclusive, having a kid is not something you can compromise on. I don’t feel like it’s something I need to make a decision about yet, I have more than enough time to change and grow myself but I do wonder, where that growth will take me. I am a very caring person, and I do feel maternal towards some people but I never feel broody. In my last relationship, my ex was constantly cooing over babies. He had a nephew that was just under a year when we met and he was infatuated. I can understand that feeling because that’s how I’ve always felt about my little brother, but for me those feelings don’t transfer to anyone else. I did, however, find the idea of him with a kid very attractive. He had Huntington’s disease in his family so after about a year together, he decided to get tested for the gene so we could understand what our future held. I sat in front of a genetics counsellor and talked through our options if he did hold the gene. I spoke to people online who had spouses with the disease and asked them how it affected their family and young children, seeing their parents end up in full time care at a much too young age. Everything revolved around how we could have a family. I was the only one suggesting that maybe, not having a family at all would be the best option. The whole experience was intense, but when we found out that he didn’t have the gene, it was an incredible feeling. Suddenly I could imagine us growing old together, but there were still no kids. My broodiness in that time, came completely from the fact that he wanted kids. I never felt that pull.
People tell me it changes. That when I’m older, I will get that urge, that want and need, that we as women have built into our physiology. The thing is, we as women are made to have children before the age that I am now, so when exactly is that going to kick in? And even if it does, do I really want to give up my life as it is for an urge?! I am a selfish person. I like myself and I like my life. Anyone that knows me, knows that I love dogs, and to be honest, I couldn’t even commit to that right now. Getting up every day to walk them, having to come home every night to walk them and feed them. Nope. I like living spontaneously and I’m busy working out my education and career and friends and, just nope. So, if I never get that urge strong enough to make that commitment then I don’t think that is such a bad thing. I don’t think I’ll wake up at 50 and regret my decisions. I know myself pretty well at this point and I’m not making decisions out of fear or anxiety, I’m making them because they are the right thing for me at the moment. I don’t want kids, and that certainly doesn’t make me a failure. It’s not because I can’t find someone who would want to have a family with me or because I don’t feel like I’m “ready”. It’s because I don’t want kids. It’s that simple and easy. Still, never say never. Maybe one day I will cross to the other side of the fence but right now I can’t imagine what that feels like. I might, however, consider getting a dog.