Tick, tock, tick tock. Is my biological clock trying to chime?
I have never wanted to have a baby. I hear other women describe how they long for one, need one, wished they could have another. Not me.
I knew this from when I was quite young. I played with dolls and did the imaginary family game like we all do. But the kids in my fantasy never came from me. They just – appeared. Maybe my husband would have had kids from a previous marriage, or I would find a feral kid in the woods to raise, or I’d adopt.
As a young teen I had a sleep over at my cousin’s house and somehow this conversation came up where my younger cousin talked about wanting to be a mommy and I declared I would adopt kids one day. My aunt lectured me, in statements I will never forget and hear repeated in my memory often. She told me, in no uncertain terms, that one day I would fall in love with a man who would want kids and then it wouldn’t matter, I’d have them – for him.
How do you like that? A man would convince me to do what my core being had no desire to do? And a fellow woman, someone who should be a role model for how I would live my life, telling me I would push my own beliefs aside and do a man’s bidding one day.
I feel in love with a man that wanted babies. He knew I did not. Yet we continued the relationship, flirting with the idea of marriage. And then came a day he was frustrated with me because I was stressing over the details in my graduate school applications. He declared I was wasting my time, what was the point of more school? Once I had a baby, I wouldn’t be working anyway.
We broke up.
Two more relationships would come and go, I was always up front about my position on having a baby. We could adopt. Foster, go international, volunteer as mentors. I liked kids. I did in fact want to raise them. I just can’t get past there are thousands in need of role models and parents already right here, why would I create another just so it could be “mine”? A baby isn’t something you own; it grows up and becomes their own person one day. Any kid could fit that role and there are simply plenty of them in need. Somehow these guys were okay with this plan at the start but when things got very serious, they would admit they thought I would change my mind and have their baby.
My last relationship I thought for sure I had found the one that understood. We agreed we’d eventually adopt. But then he started to talk about wanting a baby. One of his own. Talking about adopting a newborn didn’t sway him, he wanted his own. Period. I recalled once more my aunt telling me I would give in to a man’s will one day.
I tried to imagine myself pregnant, visualize a baby growing inside of me, tried to conjure up feelings of hope and appreciation for that creation. The exercise repulsed me. Not just the idea of it, but the idea that I would allow it.
As a woman, I am supposed to want to create life. It is my biological role, scientifically speaking. Something must be wrong with me for denying my body its due right to bare a child. Guilt has washed over me, yet when I listen to my soul, I know that I would be resentful of myself, of my partner, and dare I predict the innocent child, that would come of me “giving in” to pressure to do a thing that I do not desire to do.
I have heard of women who leave men because they want a baby and the man does not. How often do you hear of it in reverse? How many peers do I really have out there that did not want a child but were afraid to lose the man and so they relented?
While I am certain that a woman who has a child she didn’t desire does not automatically create a bad situation. But can is that true in all cases? Is the psyche of a child raised by a mother who never wanted a baby in the first place off to a rocky start before conception even occurs?
When will women be equal enough to say “I do not want to be a mommy” and it will not be frowned upon, dismissed as a temporary whim, or debated that she just hasn’t met the right man yet? Or worse yet, they take a sympathetic stance and assume there is a medical reason you can’t have one, woe is you.
I’m 39. I haven’t had a baby. I don’t want to have a baby. And I’m fed up with people telling me that it’s a shame because my kid would be pretty, smart, or just what the world needs.
My biological clock is not ticking. It was never wound up in the first place.