To have babies or not to have babies, that is the question.
Before you freak, I’m not pregnant. But I couldn’t think of a better headline.
I always wanted to be a mom. And I think I’d be a pretty kick-ass mom. But, as they say, life works in mysterious ways. It’s something I struggled with more in my mid-30s as nearly every woman I knew was having babies and living the so-called charmed life (you know: partner, kids, dog, house, the whole enchilada). While I never really felt my biological clock ticking, I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that I was indeed getting older and, well, my eggs were likely, well, you know.
I focused on my career for the majority of my 30s and I have no regrets. For the most part. I would be a big fat liar pants if I said I didn’t envy people around me who were able to 1) find balance between work and life (something I will likely always struggle with), and 2) have a family.
As I neared the oh-so-fragile age of 40 I was kind of all over the place. I wanted kids, I didn’t want kids, I wanted a puppy, I wanted two puppies. I never really cared as much about the relationship part. I’m a firm believer that it’s 1000 times better to have one parent who loves the shit out of you than it is to raise a child in a broken home.
So I tossed my options around: adoption, fertility, sperm donor, surrogate. Turns out, adopting is extremely hard when you’re single and over 35. Unless you’re Madonna or Angelina. I, alas, am not. But I *am* Forsie, bitches, and so in true Forsie fashion I said “fuck it” – if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. Around the same time I wound up with some girl issues — I’ll spare you the details — that would make it even more challenging (on top of my old age, in fertility years anyway) to have a child. And so I bought Baxter.
Anyone who has known me for 5 minutes knows about Baxter. He’s my life. My little snuggler. My love monkey. And he’s made up for my lack of having a family in a way that I never thought possible. I honestly cannot imagine my life without him. He means that much to me.
I’ve been holding this post in my head/heart for a long time because, well, most people think that their sole purpose in life is to raise kids. I respect that. I envy that you’re able to do that. I wish I could, too. I love kids. A lot. The latest issue of TIME magazine brought to the surface a lot of mixed emotions for me. And when I get emotional I usually write.
Here’s the thing: I don’t judge you because you have kids. (Unless you’re a raging asshole of a parent and then I’m judging you every which way to Sunday and then some.) The thing is, not everyone was brought into this world to raise a family. Some by choice, some for other reasons. But motherhood does not equal womanhood and it’s wildly unfair for people to draw that connection, as they inevitably do. I am every ounce a woman, even though I don’t have kids. For some of us, it was a painful realization that we wouldn’t be moms. Some people get beyond it, some do not. I am in the former camp.
Before you feel sorry for me, don’t. I have a charmed life. I have a family that loves me despite being a wild child. I have friends who could care less how many tattoos I get or how many wigs I might buy — they love me just the same, weirdness and all. I work with an incredibly talented group of people. And I have Baxter. Life is good. Really, really good.
So imagine my delight when that TIME magazine hit my mailbox. It’s quite possibly the first time I’ve seen something that says it’s OK to not have children. Or you’re not a freak of nature. Or maybe we’re not judging you. Because so many people do. I don’t need reassurances from people that it’s OK to be child-free. It’s my life. It is what it is. I try to make the most of it. There are days when I’m sad about it. There are days when I’m super happy about it.
I realize this post is all over the place. (Welcome to my brain!) But my ask is actually pretty simple. The next time you’re talking with someone who is child-free and of child-bearing age, or even beyond or not yet there, don’t focus on why they don’t have children. Don’t even ask. It’s 1) none of your business, and 2) none of your business. Talk instead about life. Vacations. Hobbies. Work. Whatever. Live vicariously if you feel the urge. Because we all — parents and non-parents alike — have stories to tell that may or may not include children. And none of us want to be judged.
Peace out, homechickens. xoxo