I am 30 years old and I am not sure if I want kids. I'm not in the minority within my friend group. In fact, none of us have kids yet. I have one friend who is expecting and she's getting most of her prenatal advice from an app called The Bump. I'm good at apps, but I just don't really know if I'm great at babies.
I've spent a lot of time feeling bad about maybe not wanting kids and I've done a lot of things to offset this: convincing myself I do want them, lying about it on first dates and to my friends, reassuring my parents that they will indeed have grandkids one day, I swear!! And here's the thing: I like kids. I was an elementary teacher for several years. I think they are cute and funny. I just don't know if I want like...my own.
I'm not alone. We are out there. Millennials as a generation are leaning more and more towards not having children. An article in The Rooster states that, "birth rates among women in their 20s have declined 15 percent between 2007 and 2012" and "the number of blissfully child-less couples has doubled since 1970."
Here's the thing: whether or not you want kids is not anyone else's business. As a woman, it's not your duty to supply the world with children. It's a personal choice that you don't have to explain or justify to anyone. Not to your parents, not to your first date, not to the couple sitting next to you at a dinner party when they ask when you and your husband are planning on expanding your family already! For me, I'm 30, and I'm still unsure. And while I'm not justifying, here's my thought process for still being a little skeptical. My guess is that they might be common concerns for women who might still be on the fence about having children.
I'M AFRAID I WILL NEVER BE FINANCIALLY STABLE
Millennials are an entrepreneurial generation. We're freelancers. Creatives. We work at startups. Those kind of jobs are exhilarating, exhausting, and as you probably know, unstable. The hours are long and sometimes inconsistent. So is the pay. We owe a ton of money in student loans.
Hot take: raising a child is very very expensive. I am currently what one would call "poor as hell." I want my child to be able to have braces and go to great schools. Visit museums on the weekend. Buy a million coloring books and get a car when they're 16 if they've been good. What if I can never afford the lifestyle I want to be able to give my child? There's a high probability that the only person I'll ever be able to financially take care of is myself. I don't want to bring a child into the situation and take a risk that I can't give them the kind of life they deserve.
FEAR I'LL PASS ON FAULTS/HEALTH ISSUES TO MY CHILD
Whether it's genetic predispositions, mental health issues, or emotional trauma, the idea of passing on anything negative to a child scares me.
FEAR OF ACTUALLY BEING PREGNANT AND GIVING BIRTH
I don't think it's immature to say that the idea of being pregnant really weirds me out. For lack of a better word, it gives me the willies. A human body growing inside my own body feels so incredibly alien and unnatural to me--like I'm some kind of Turducken. Not to mention it's nine whole months of that feeling. I realize that it is literally the most natural thing on earth but my gut reaction to a human life growing inside of me is a brain that screams "what the living hell, no!"
Then there's giving birth. A baby sliding out from inside of my body out of my vagina and into the world so then I can raise it for the rest of it's life also freaks me out a bit.
FEAR THAT TINDER DATE I ENDED UP MARRYING WON'T ACTUALLY BE A GOOD DAD
Enough said I think?
WHAT IF I AM NOT THAT MATERNAL?
Full disclosure: I am 30 years old and I have never held a baby before. I am kind of terrified of all children under the age of 6. I don't understand how babies work. How often do you feed them? How often do you change their diapers? How often do they sleep? Do you walk them? And how does everyone know this information? Are some women just born ingrained with this knowledge? Is there a class I forgot to sign up for that everyone else has graduated from? I don't know a thing about babies or how to take care of them and this terrifies me. How do you go from point A to point motherhood?
THE WORLD IS KIND OF CRAZY RIGHT NOW
Do I really want to bring a kid into it? I realize every generation probably says this but....do I?
WHAT IF I'M JUST TOO SELFISH?
I'm passionate about building my career and getting it to the place I want it to be. After a long day at work, I like sitting down on the couch and watching an hour or two of horrible television before dragging myself into bed. I enjoy my silence. I like being able to go out of town for the weekend on a whim. Along those lines, I took a vacation about three months ago and I still haven't unpacked from it. Also, l have a temper sometimes. I'm not really great at doing my dishes in an orderly or timely manner either.
Am I ready to fix all my faults or make another person the priority in my life?
I do have some more fears when it comes to having kids. I have fears that if I don't have them, I'll regret it. I have fears that if I don't have kids, and my siblings don't either, our family will just...end after us? That seems so strange. I have fears that I'll marry a man who wants them, and he'll sacrifice having them for me, and it'll cause resentment between us. I have fear that I actually DO want kids, and it's only my own fears and preconceived notions that are stopping me from being Mom of the Year.
Things can always change. In an interview with the Associate Press, Angelina Jolie said, "It's strange, I never wanted to have a baby. I never wanted to be pregnant. I never babysat. I never thought of myself as a mother." And hey, now she has a village of children.
If there's one thing I want you to take away from this article, it's this: I am probably on the exact same life trajectory as Angelina Jolie.
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