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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… I’m boring

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We all have crazy stories from when we were young, before we knew better and really had to hunker down to become responsible, hard working people who contribute to society.

Except I don’t.

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Freshman year of college was great, but aside from that time I discovered I’d walked back to my dorm room in someone else’s shoes (albeit drunk), and never found out what happened to my own, I wrapped up my wild and crazy period pretty quick.

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At 24, I didn’t expect to have accomplished basically everything I’d set out to in my career, have a person ready to marry me, have two dogs, a nice apartment, (a pretty rockin’ bod if I do say so myself), a decent wardrobe… and absolutely no life.

The most exciting thing I did this week was change the color scheme in my bathroom.

Most people my age are still figuring out what their career should be, or are trying to kick it off. Most of the people I talk to were trying to get their life on track at my age.

I’m basically Doogie Howser, but less exciting.


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So, sure, it’s like, “Boohoo, ya jerk. That’s a pretty nice life.” But it’s also like, “I gotta let my freak flag fly. Just let me live.”

This would be easy if my fiance weren’t five years older than me and had already lived his life, and if my friends weren’t wrapping up that chapter of their lives/busy living them.

So what do I do? Do I go to the bar by myself and try to stir up trouble? Nope, because rape and abduction are real things. Do I send out a Facebook post asking for drug dealer recommendations? No, because jail is a thing, too.

I could go on vacation… har har, yeah, right. I’m a journalist, and make journalist money.

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I only have a few good years before my metabolism completely craps out on me and I have no choice but to settle down and be a married bore (no offense, fiance and married people). But I don’t know how to get my fun train on the road without doing something illegal/outside of my pay grade.

Yes, it’s a #firstworldproblem, and I should be happy. But… shut up and get your life together.

My top 6 reactions to everyday sexism

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6. When my boyfriend comes with me on an errand, and whoever helps me only speaks to him.

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5. When I can’t tell if a man is calling me “honey” because I’m a woman, or because I look like I’m a teenager… and then I realize neither is acceptable.

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4. When I come back from the auto place and find out my boyfriend paid $60 less than I did for the same service.

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3. When someone assumes I don’t like something because I have a vagina.

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2. When I have to worry about my hem length and neck line at work, but my boyfriend can wear sneakers and a baseball cap for the same job.

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1. When I figured out that if I want the same deal my boyfriend got on his new car, I’ll have to send him to do it for me.

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I’m a changed woman… Kind of

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I apologize for the lag between posts, it’s just that I’ve been so busy figuring out this “real person” thing, and getting used to having to tuck in every shirt. But I’ve also learned that I’m a changed woman since moving to the west coast… And then there are some points I cannot budge on.

Things I will not change:

1.The correct pronunciation of Lancaster (LANC-ist-er). I hear Lancaster thrown around a lot because of being closer to Lancaster, Calif., but they don’t say it right (LAN-cast-er). It’s just not natural. If I came over here and just went all Chandler and said, “Oh, I SO want to to go to CAL-if-orni-A” I would be shunned faster than you could say tsunami. Which also happens here.

It’s cool, east coast. No need to prepare me for the most terrifying weather disaster the world has ever known. When Alaska was at risk for a tsunami a couple weeks ago, everyone in my office was asking whether or not we would get one in Oregon. My reaction? I went on weather.com, looked at the 10-day forecast and said, “Well, it doesn’t look like it’ll affect us.” I was thinking about a hurricane. A hurricane, east coast. That’s what you’ve done to me. What happens when Alaska gets a tsunami? Oregon gets a tsunami. Not rain. If one state gets a natural disaster, it ruins it for the entire coast.

So, yeah, I’ll keep Lancaster in my way, west coast. You keep your tsunamis.

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2. My snobbish taste in farmers’ markets. In Pa., we have Amish pastries and strong coffee. In Oregon, we have flowers and organic vegetables. Do I fully grasp the meaning of organic after living here for almost two months? Not even close. Do I want to? Offer me a large cup of coffee at a ridiculously low price and we can talk.

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3. Saying Pa. when referring to Pennsylvania. It’s all I have left of home. I’ve also realized that Pa. is the only state I’m aware of in which its natives refer to it by it’s postal abbreviation. No one out here says OR, or CA, and I think they think we’re weird for thinking so highly of ourselves to use our state’s postal abbreviation like the whole world should know it. I mean, they should, but still.

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Things I have begun to change:

1. Coincidentally, I gave up coffee. I don’t know if it was the lack of a good strong coffee that didn’t cost $5 that got me off of it, but ever since I stopped drinking it I’ve never fallen asleep earlier in my life.

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2. I no longer desperately need to go five over the speed limit at all times. Maybe the reason everyone on the east coast needs to drive so fast is because it’s not as pretty as the west coast. All I know is that now, before I simultaneously honk my horn and give whomever the bird, I look out at the bay/ocean/field/mountains/port/flowers and think, I’m only five minutes away from a McDonald’s breakfast burrito.

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3. I’ve stopped expecting people to be nice. Yes, I brought some of that east coast cynicism with me, but it’s been helpful. When you expect either no response to your “thank you” or “nice to meet you,” a rude response or an opinion you did not, in any way, shape or form invite, you’re actually surprised and that much more grateful for the nice people you come across. Albeit, a little suspicious, but yeah.

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And that is what two months in Oregon has taught me.