I used to daydream about having kids one day and how I’d be the best mum I possibly could be to them, but this year I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way I could become the best mother I could be is by not becoming one at all.
I used to want kids, but I don’t anymore and I’m going to be really honest with the reason why.
Just over a year ago, I got a new partner and he’s five years older than I am. Realising the age difference, I figured that he might hit the age of wanting kids sooner than I would and this could have been a problem – except that he didn’t want them at all. Now before some of you get your panties in a bunch thinking that I let someone else dictate what I want in and out of my life, know this: he was not the reason my mind changed. He was the reason my mind opened up to thinking about it all.
Now allow me to explain.
I’ve wanted kids for as long as I could remember and when my partner told me he didn’t want them, I had some serious thinking to do. Luckily, he had to go away on business for two days shortly after, which was great because it gave me the space to think about my life and what I want from it and my relationship without any outside influences – including my partner himself.
During these two days I came to a startling realisation: I only wanted kids because I was brought up to want them.
My whole life has been subconsciously planned out for me by outside influences and I’m not calling any of that sinister “Illuminati” bullshit here, but certain factors of my life have been almost pre-programmed into me from the beginning. In its simplest form: go to school, go to uni, get a job, get married, have kids, raise them to do the same. My parents subconsciously did this, the school system strongly did this for the go to school/uni part and the Government and advertising agencies pretty much had a dominant part in this cycle overall.
So, I’d just realised that I pretty much only wanted kids because it was ‘the done thing’. Next, I had to figure out if I did want them after all or if I actually didn’t really want to be part of this particular life sequence.
My first thoughts went to the current state of the world. Although there are good people doing good things, it’s hard to ignore the perpetually on-going and escalating wars, the overwhelming and suffocating growing population that shows no sign of stopping and the undeniable environmental crisis that is taking hold of the entire planet. My thoughts are that in the short term, raising a baby could be ok – I live in the first world and my country has some powerful allies and a strong military presence. The environmental shifts are only giving the UK some warm winters and freak snow and rain storms with the occasional flooding now and then and although my own country’s population is holding its citizens in a strangle-hold – one more won’t hurt right?
But in the long term, all of the above is leaving my children and their children in a potentially horrific situation – global economy collapses, mass migration due to newly uninhabitable parts of the world causes global relations to break, wars break out and civilisation collapses as the fight for human survival becomes something not unlike a dystopian horror film. Now I may be being a touch dramatic, but the truth really isn’t so different from the scenario I just described. The predictions from well-educated people are out there and it’s not a chance I’m willing to take with the potential lives of those I love.
So now I’ve got: did I really want kids in the first place and what kind of world will I leave them in?
The last thing to answer was could I do it? Could I be a mother?
Now, luckily for me, the biological and financial answer is yes. I’m fertile and I’m in a steady job that, granted, doesn’t pay a lot but it could get us by, but motherhood is so much more than money and biological ability (or adoptive ability) to raise a human being from childhood to adulthood. It’s time and effort and patience. Long nights and longer days. A lack of money for personal spending. A restriction on what you can and can’t do in life. It’s a sacrifice; quite possibly the ultimate sacrifice. I would (in essence) be giving up my life so someone else could live one. I would be giving up my dreams and goals to put everything I had into another human being in the hope that they would turn out ok and be able to make it in the world I’d leave them in.
Now I know that not all parents give up their dreams and all that other stuff to be a good a parent. Holidays still happen, things still get bought and many people still seem happy enough, but I don’t see that in my future if I have a child.
My honest answer might be seen as selfish – but I don’t care. This is my life. And that’s how I want it to stay.
I do not want a child for various reasons and two strong ones are that I never realised I didn’t really want one in the first place and that the world is likely to become much worse than it already is. But the strongest reason is that I want to live my life to its fullest. There are so many places I want to visit, so many things I want to experience and so many people I want to meet in my life. I want to be able to do what I want, when I want and only need to worry about my life and that of my partner, if he’s along for the ride. I don’t want to be hindered in any way by a dependant human being for a minimum of 18 years.
If I had a child, I fear that somewhere, deep down in the dark recesses of my mind, I would resent it. I would pine for the life I could have had and I would mourn for all the things that could have been, but I would suppress these emotions and try to convince myself that I made the right decision. I don’t want that. If I were to have children, I would want to be the best mother I could be. I’d want to love and cherish them. I’d want to give them the world. I’d want to see them do the things I couldn’t. I’d want them to be the best part of me, but I don’t think I’m capable of that. My desire to fill my life with as much experience as I can outweighs any fleeting mothering instincts that I may have.
So in all honesty – for both so-called selfish reasons and for practical reasons – I care that deeply about any children I might have that I have realised that the best thing for them is to never exist. It would be irresponsible of me to bring a child into this world that I probably wouldn’t want just because it was ‘the done thing’. I also care enough about myself to admit that I probably won’t get what I want out of my own life if I have children.
So I’ve decided that I won’t have any. I know that I’d be much happier with just my partner and I, maybe some nieces or nephews if my sister has any children and one day – when the time is right – a dog.