Growing up, I talked about having kids. In fact, when I was younger, I wrote down options of names I wanted for my future kids. Mind you, I was 8. While I might have been a young child, I knew I wanted kids.
Or so I thought.
As we get older, it seems like our surroundings tell us this is how it goes: you meet someone, you fall in love, you get engaged, you get married and then pop out a couple bambinos. Heck, there’s even a rhyme about it: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage.”
Quite literally, society has been grooming us to believe this very thing and know this very thing to be the way to do things.
But what if that’s not the road you’re on? What then?
A few months back, I was sitting at a dinner with some friends. The guys ended up at one end, and the girls at the other. A few of these girls are some of my very best friends. Two were pregnant, one was trying to get pregnant, and one had a 7-month-old. It makes sense that much of the evening’s conversations surrounded babies. I get it. Babies are top of mind for these girls, as they should be in their current phase of life.
But it’s not the current phase of my life.
And that’s okay.
The dinner conversation went from baby bottles to baby boppers to diapers and back, and I was simply listening and observing. It’s not that I couldn’t contribute. After all, I do have three nephews and a niece. But I didn’t feel the desire to contribute if I’m not one trying to get pregnant, am pregnant, or already have a child. It just didn’t seem like my place to say, “Oh yeah, my nephew loves that pack and play.” Who am I to know much about the topic? So I drank... and drank some more.
At one point during the evening, I went down to the other end of the table and said to my husband, “If I hear the word ‘baby’ one more time tonight, I might blow my brains out.” I said it in a joking manner, but it kind of felt accurate.
Here’s the thing, guys. I love babies. Seriously, I love them. Like I said, I have nephews and a niece, and I couldn’t be more obsessed if I tried. I’ve been around plenty babies and kids, and I do love them. So what if I don’t know if kids are for me? I can still love them.
And I don’t feel jealous, bitter, angry, or upset that everyone around me has babies on their mind. I really don’t. In fact, I couldn’t be happier for my friends who are having babies, and I couldn’t feel more empathetic to those who are trying and having a hard time to conceive. I feel for both sides. I’m over the moon with pure, authentic excitement and joy for those having little ones, and I’m disheartened and sad and trying to stay as positive as possible for those who are having struggles.
It’s just been such an interesting shift in my life, as I look around and notice so many of the people surrounding me are in different places than I am. And really, I don’t feel pressure to have babies of my own.
I watch my friends have these beautiful, incredible little miracles, and I feel such joy for them, and I love to meet them and watch them grow into wonderful little children, but it couldn’t be farther from what I want in my own life right now.
Is that strange? Maybe. Does it make sense? Not sure. But it’s how I feel.
When you grow up and are in school, all your friends are at the exact place in their life as you are in yours. You’re doing the same things, meeting the same people, and, quite simply, leading very similar lives. In my late 20s and early 30s is when I started to feel like everyone started doing their own thing and truly becoming the director of their own life.
And you know that? That’s how it should be.
I guess it’s just been an adjustment. An adjustment I’m totally okay with, but an adjustment, nonetheless.
I’m stuck between I don’t want kids at this point in my life (and maybe not ever, who knows) and everyone around me seems to be having kids, so eventually, we’ll have nothing in common, but maybe that’s okay.
Life moves quickly, and as humans, we’re constantly changing, evolving, and hopefully, growing. And maybe kids will eventually be part of that growth and evolution for you ― but maybe they won’t.
And guess what? Whatever you decide is completely okay. In fact, it’s more than okay; it’s perfect. Whatever you decide is perfect for you. It doesn’t have to be perfect for someone else; it’s not their life. This is your life, and you only have one, and if you want kids in your life, great, and if you don’t, that’s great, too.
I guess this is a little pep talk for myself, too, as I sit here typing this, at a local coffee shop, feeling utterly content at this current phase in my life. It’s okay that I don’t want kids right now. It’s okay if I never want kids. And, you know what, if I decide I do want kids, and I’m able to have kids, that’ll be okay, too.
At the end of the day, we all must remember to live life the way we want to live it. Answer to no one, but yourself. Stay true to who you are, live authentically, and above all, be happy and kind.
With or without a baby, you’re doing just fine.