Actually, we don’t have to have children

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“We don’t have to have children.”

My husband told me this after we’d had an argument recently. I can’t remember what brought it up, but I remember feeling a huge relief that I’d never felt before. It may have mostly been because the argument was over, and we were walking back through what went wrong and how we can avoid it in the future and apologizing to each other.

But I’m almost positive that a lot of the relief came from that single sentence – and I’d never really considered that there was tension or expectation from either one of us when it came to procreating.

Of course we’d talked about having kids – how many we wanted, how we’d discipline them, how we’d talk about the tough things like death and sex – but we’d never talked about not having kids. At least not really. Not seriously.

To a certain extent, I think there was a subconscious pang of guilt to even consider not having children when so many people wanted to experience it, but for many reasons couldn’t. So, if we were capable of making humans, why shouldn’t we? It’s like there’s this unspoken contract among able-bodied couples to raise children, personal preferences or beliefs be damned, because there are a million people out there who would kill to have your ovaries.

Trust me, if I could do an ovary transplant with someone who knows without a doubt that they want to use mine to responsibly birth and raise children, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Really. No one should be denied that if they’re fully capable and not an idiot.

My face crumpled and I looked at my husband. He wants children. He’s an amazing man who would make the best father. And here he was, honestly willing to not do any of that. Because he knows that a couple can’t be the parents a child deserves if one person isn’t all in.

So why shouldn’t I want to be a parent? My partner is supportive and we’re an amazing team. We’re both healthy and of sound mind. We don’t have much money, but tons of people with next to nothing to their name make it work.

1. I’m 24 years old. To me, that’s young. That’s really young. I can’t even rent a car. I’ve spent more of my life racking up other people’s bills than paying my own. What do I know about teaching someone to be an adult when I’m still learning what that means? And while all I need to do is look at my parents or scroll through my Facebook feed to see people younger than me doing a fantastic job at parenting, I’m not them.

2. Depression is hereditary. This, along with the fact that I’d have to stop taking depression and anxiety meds while trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy, is the toughest part. How can I possibly be the best parent my child deserves if I can’t keep my mood in check or muster enough energy to play with them or teach them something after a tough day? It would be so selfish to have a child and then not be able to take care of either of us. It would be selfish to saddle my partner with taking care of two depressed loved ones.

3. Journalism. All my fellow MMAJ majors are already like

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because journalism does not pay. And while all you need is love, you also need to be able to feed and clothe your child. Like, by law. The standards to which I hold myself in terms of being able to bring a child into this world include not living paycheck to paycheck, being able to give my child their own bedroom and being able to feed them more than the 4 for $4 at Wendy’s. None of those are feasible at this moment, and there’s really no relief in sight. No, money absolutely is not everything. But it is the key to a functioning toilet and electricity.

4. Because of all this, it doesn’t really matter if I want children. All logic and responsible common sense says that it’s not in the cards right now, and may never be. Wanting children shouldn’t automatically lead to having them and hoping it all works out. I want to be able to give my children everything those who can’t physically have children could give them in every other sense. So if I can’t give them those things, why should I be a parent? Also, by that logic, surrogacy is totes on the table. So there’s that.

It hurts having to consider that, no matter what we may want, we shouldn’t have kids. But I think, in a roundabout, really messed up way, that’s our way of being good parents – by not being them.

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10 times I realized I’m Dee Reynolds

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1. When I start to think about planning a honeymoon.

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2. The morning after I test my new wine glass that claims to be able to hold a bottle of wine… and it wasn’t lying.

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3. That time I ordered a Quarter Pounder with cheese, and they forgot the cheese.

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4. Every time Beyonce comes on.

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5. When I get paid and automatically have to pay my loans.

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6. When someone reminds me of my soft voice/quiet tendencies.

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7. “When are you going to have kids?”

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8. When my husband tries to talk to me before I’m ready to wake up.

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9. When my friends and I go to Target.

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10. When I try to drink like I used to in college.

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Let’s talk about being in a rut at 23

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tina

For the first time in my life, I’m not sprinting to accomplish the next step. I’ve graduated college, moved out of my parents’ house, moved across a continent, moved back, gotten a great job, am in a stable relationship and have begun the life-long task of repaying my debt to society in the form of the most obnoxious school loans any sadist would admire, all in the same two pair of leggings.

I’m done. I did it. Uno. Yahtzee. Olly, olly oxen free (I just realized my kids won’t know what that means).

So now, I’ve started having these constant dreams about being pregnant, and giving birth and being in love with my spawn. But then I wake up, and if I so much as see a Pamper’s commercial I cringe and gag simultaneously.

“You have the weirdest case of baby fever,” my boyfriend said.

And now, I get to tell you why I hate the Huffington Post.

In a fit of boredom, because, you know, I’m done with everything, I decided to Google “pregnancy dreams meaning.” No, I’m not proud to admit that I did this. The shame is just, like, ridiculous.

One of the first things that came up in the search results was a story from the Huffington Post, featuring an interview. With a psychic. About what dreams about pregnancy mean.

This is the same site from which so many of my Facebook friends are sharing “breaking news.”

People, if you’re getting your news from a site whose biggest accomplishment is its opinion tab, written by stay-at-home dads, you need to rethink your life choices.

CNN.com. That’s all the more I’ll say.

Anyway, after completely bypassing this story, the way I do all of the Huffington Post’s stories, I found in other results (because, really, is it possible to find a reputable source on decoding dreams?) which explained that dreaming about being pregnant and giving birth may be a sign that you’re missing something in life, or that you don’t have time for something you used to do. In general, it supposedly means that I need to find another way to spend my time that isn’t stuffing my face while watching “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix.

But thank God it’s not baby fever, ammiright?

So, if this is at all accurate, and I’m not just another sucker for a horoscope reading that says, “You’ll have to do something today,” then my subconscious is telling me I need more. I’ve just spent the last year of my life running all around the United States and validating myself as a human, and I need to do more with my life.

… I get it.

I told my boyfriend today that I couldn’t wait for this next year just to settle down and stabilize ourselves financially. I actually used that exact phrase– “stabilize ourselves financially.” I’m 23 years old. Just a year ago, I was drunk-yacking into a toilet, bawling my eyes out and telling my equally obliterated friend that I loved her. I was normal.

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So, yeah, maybe I need something more to keep myself from mentally aging at warp-speed. But what? I’m not a novelist, or a sports fan, and I don’t have enough of an addictive personality to give heroin a real shot.

I see other people my age having real babies, not just dream-babies, and getting married, but I’m not ready for that. First of all, you need money to do either of those, and also, just a year ago I was drunk-yacking and thinking about skipping class (but not actually doing it, Mom). How can I have a baby when I am a baby, without any money? I am a giant lady-child who needs a hobby that isn’t making other people.

So, what?