Saturday, June 7, 2008

From Never! to Absolutely! in A Few Short Years

The house where we lived when I was in middle school and high school was in a new development (well, new back then). We were one of the first families to move in. The house to our right was purchased by a confirmed bachelor - very nice guy, engineer, with a wonderful dog.

His confirmed bachelor days ended pretty soon after he moved in when he got married. Several years later, they welcomed their first child, a boy. A few years after that, they had twins. One day, after I had my own car and drivers license, his wife asked if I could drive her and the twins to the airport - she had to change out a ticket (this was before the Internets, people!). We loaded up the car with me, her, the kids and all of their paraphernalia and headed out.

While she was inside dealing with the ticket, I sat out in the car with the children (this was also pre-9/11 so you could still park your car at the curb of the airport). As an only child, I had limited exposure to little kids when I was older, so I was exceedingly uncomfortable having two screaming infants in my car even for a few minutes. What would I do if they really started crying? How would I explain it to some authority figure as to why I had two screaming children? I could do calculus, but I couldn't do babies. Talk about poster children for birth control!

My neighbor must have seen how uncomfortable I was with two screaming infants, because when we got home again and the children were safely ensconced, she tried to reassure me by saying, rather condescendingly, that "you'll feel differently when you have you're own."

All I could think was, "Fat chance, lady!" I couldn't even see to my high school graduation, let alone having children. I was, to put it mildly, not entirely convinced back then that I would get married, let alone pop out some progeny. Ambivalent didn't even begin to describe what I was feeling (I think "militantly anti-child" was closer to the truth).

See, I was not one of those kids who a) knew they would have kids or b) even wanted them. I hated playing with dolls, playing house or planning my dream wedding. At the same time, I wasn't exactly a tomboy. I was just me: bookish, but quirky, with a love for Chuck Taylors and a wicked CD collection.

By the time I met Sweetie, I still wasn't entirely sold on the idea of having children. I was in my first year of graduate school and trying to keep my head above water. Of course, our talk came around to this topic generally. I tried not to freak him out too much so I just simply said, that I didn't really know if I wanted them. In later years, he claimed that I was adamant about not having children and I explained to him that I wasn't adamant, I just didn't want to scare him off by even bringing up the topic.

The thing is, I didn't decide that I wanted children, until I met the man I wanted to have them with. He was the first man that I had dated who I even could picture myself having children with and who would be a good father. So for me, deciding to have children was less a function of my biological clock than it was a function of totally changing my mind. At the same time, I don't know if all of me has caught up - I still catch myself at restaurants with screaming children being thankful that they aren't mine, or that I can still sleep in if I want to, go out on a moment's notice, etc.

Maybe I will feel differently when it is one of my own.
____________________________________________________________________

Thank you to everyone who posted with their thoughts on how to break my funk. Each of them made my day a little brighter. Yesterday was better - I had a great day with my mom and we didn't talk at all about my infertility. It was nice to have a normal conversation. We went to the fabric store to show off the quilt I made, then grabbed some lunch, and headed to my favorite consignment store, finally stopping at a cross-stitch store that I hadn't been to. It was really nice.

13 comments:

Panamahat said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I think I will grow to like my new hair. I certainly shocked a lot of my friends unveiling it at a party last night. The looks on their faces- I laughed so much I actually cried!

I love the photos in your blogs. I am sorry you have endured two miscarriages and lots of treatments. I wish you the best for a successful future pregnancy (or more!).

admin said...

Your posts always hit me so close. I felt the same way about having children, although I did do a lot of babysitting in high school and adored infants. I just could never imagine that I would be lucky enough to meet a guy i wanted to spend my life with. And when that happened, I was equally shocked at how that event had made me start thinking about kids.

Also wore chucks and spent more time thinking about music than wedding plans.

We all take our own path through life. Always knowing you wanted a family does not in the end mean you will be a better mother - and I think that is the best part of it all. We'll be who we'll be.

"Normal" conversations with moms can be good, huh? I've been having those with my mom too lately... Thanks for a great sunday morning post.
Meredith

DC said...

I felt the same way; I wasn't really gung-ho on having kids until I fell in love with my hubby. I don't just want kids. I want to have his children. So infertility is just a huge kick in the gut, you know?

soapchick said...

I still feel like that sometimes, especially with one friend's children in particular (she doesn't discipline them at all and it drives me crazy). I also think it may just be a defense mechanism....just in case I never am able to have any.

You are not alone.

Pepper said...

I always feel glad when there's a screaming child around and it isn't mine or when I can go home to quiet after being amongst the tots for a while. And I think many parents envy my freedom, just like I envy their responsibilites. These are natural feelings that come from enjoying the side of the proverbial fence of grass is always greener fame. Nothing wrong with that.

BTW - I tagged you with a meme.
0:-D

From Here To Maternity said...

Oh my God this post hits home. I live with my sister and her kids, and everyday I think to myself, I'm not sure I like these little rug rats. Everyone I know says the same thing, you only like your own kids. I guess that may be true.

Samantha said...

I took a nap in the middle of the day today and thought, "it's nice that I can do that"--just because you can appreciate the nicities of not having children doesn't mean you don't want them!

I also was rather ambivalent about children until I turned 29 - then it was like a switch flipped. I caught my husband off guard!

seriously? said...

Hello Mrs. X. I am sorry to read about your funk, but am happy to see that it is getting better. I tend to read your other blog more, so I am behind on this one.

I sadly was one of those kids who always wanted to get married, I always played house, bought a wedding dress at a garage sale when I was 10, etc. I wasn't always so sure about kids.

I tagged you (because I like you), see my June 8th blog.

Paranoid said...

I was like you, too. It never really even occurred to me growing up that I'd ever get married and/or have kids. By the time I finished my first nanny gig in undergrad, I was convinced I never wanted kids. It wasn't until I met The Boy and took a job as a nanny for three adorable, well-behaved children that I changed my mind.

peesticksandstones said...

So glad you are feeling a little better. I was an only child, too -- and can relate to so much of what you say here. I'm still kind of scared of small children, have very little experience being around them. Yet, being with my husband, I want us to be a family, to be parents with him. Before meeting him, I never really had that mom-urge.

Ms Heathen said...

Wow! I guess I'm not the only one that feels this way!

I'm also not one of those women who knew that they always wanted children - it wasn't until I met Mr H that I realised that here was a man with whom I could imagine raising a child.

Like you and many of those who've already commented on this post, I sometimes look at screaming children in shops and restaurants, and feel grateful that they're not mine. I am thankful that we can lie in at weekends, and can pop out to dinner on the spur of the moment. Although I'm sure I'd feel differently if I had a child, at the moment I'm quite happy to embrace the benefits of childfree living (and I certainly don't feel the need to volunteer to babysit for friends with children!)

Kim said...

When I was a kid I told my parents I wasn't having children because they take all of your time and money! My parents obviously got a good laugh out of this one! then I met hubby and things changed. I wanted a whole litter, and then it wasn't so easy!!! NCLM

loribeth said...

I don't think I ever said "never." But I most definitely said, "Not right away." I thought kids would be all right (MINE, of course, would be perfect, unlike the hellions I had to babysit...!!), but not until I was good & ready for them and had done some other things with my life. Problem was, once I felt I was ready for the kids, they weren't ready for me. :(

And... I've tagged you too! You can find the meme on my blog.