"People who want children are all alike.
People who don't want children don't want them in their own ways."
This book arrived today. "Selfish Shallow and Self-Absorbed, Sixteen Writers on the Decision NOT to Have Kids." Not wanting to have kids is something I have been wanting to write about for awhile and I'm hoping that some of the essays in this book will speak to my own heart and some of its deeper desires.
In my entire adult life (I am 32 now) I cannot remember ever having the desire or yearning to have a child. I think the reasons for this are as much about what I don't want (sleepless nights, daycare bills, germs, mess) as they are about what I do want (freedom, quiet, simplicity, health, space to hear myself think).
This is one of those decisions which is near to my heart, but has taken some time to express vocally. In much of my life it has felt taboo to say out loud "I don't want kids." But I don't. Not any part of me. I'm not a baby person. I'm not really a kid person either. While I teach elementary school (and do a great job at it) I spend most days encouraging, sometimes even begging, my students to grow up. My favorite part of the year is the end of the year when they have matured somewhat. I don't have the patience or tolerance to go through the process with another person.
The sacrifice of having a child and raising it well is a demanding one. It's okay to not want to make it. I also think it is misleading to think that you can raise a child AND still do all of the other things you did before or that you might want to do. Hell, I find it hard to do the things I want to do without having children or a significant other. As one of the writers in the book says, "having it all is a slogan for ad execs and life coaches. I'll settle for having freedom of choice."
I'm not sure how much more I'll explore this topic. I no longer feel a strong need to justify my life decisions. I guess that's the power of growing older. Our life speaks for itself. I'm happy with the freedom to make choices that feel right to me and I absolutely want to extend that freedom to others (including those who feel passionately about having a family).
Having answered the question of whether or not to have kids, and being comfortable enough to not defend my position, I can now focus more on what I do want to have. Some qualities coming up for me are a simple life, a sense of wholeness, time and space to unwind in, connection to a supportive network of enlightened beings, and clarity. Moving forward, I hope to explore more of these core desired states.