Having travelled up to the family home for a week, to recover from a crazy summer of work and city life, it has given me the opportunity to catch up with family and friends, and to play ‘Auntie’ to their kids.
I don’t have kids. Neither do my two brothers.
My brothers not having kids is probably less surprising. My brothers are twins, one of which is gay and doesn’t want children, and the other has cerebral palsy, although given the opportunity, I am pretty sure he would’ve had plenty (he’s possibly the biggest flirt I have ever seen!).
I am probably the more surprising one.
Earlier today I was twirling my friends 11 month old boy around the living room making him grin from ear to ear. Later on, we picked her 3 year old daughter up from pre-school, and then went back to play with Play Doh.
I love kids. But the thought of having my own children scares the daylights out of me.
I have also never had the burning desire that so many women get, to have them.
If I found myself pregnant, at the age of 34, I would probably find myself dealing with it. But if I don’t have kids, I don’t think it would leave me devastated. I fear that this sounds selfish. And I don’t mean it to.
I have friends who’s lives have been turned upside down by going through the pain of struggling to conceive. I also have friends who have suffered miscarriages and had to some how find the strength to carry on. I’ve seen the struggles my parents have been through in bringing up three children, one of which has severe mental and physical disabilities (despite still being the life and soul of the party).
Maybe having witnessed some of this first hand has made me ridiculously realistic. Not every pregnancy is easy. And not every child is born ‘ok’.
Sometimes I struggle to adult, let alone parent. I work long hours, and often find myself in the pattern of work, eat, sleep, repeat. How do you even begin to fit children into that cycle?
I also love time to myself. Again, that might sound selfish, but it’s my coping mechanism for many things. I need ‘me time’ to function. And if this was no longer an option? What then?
I need sleep. I often have disturbed nights sleep now and feel wretched the next day. How would I feel if there was a constant stream of disturbed nights, followed by early mornings watching kids tv?
And don’t even mention kids soft play centres. The thought of going to those fills me with terror.
For many years I put myself under pressure thinking that I had to conform to the ‘norm’. To meet someone, fall in love, get married, move in, and have children.
But as a close friend of mine said a few months ago, that’s such an old fashioned way of thinking. Just because many of my friends have chosen to follow this route (and yes, I am also well aware that my body clock is ticking), it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the path that works best for me.
I think friends and family often think I will change my mind. Maybe I will one day.
But for now, I am more than comfortable with the fact that I may not have children of my own.
I also feel reassured that in this day and age, even if one day I do get that ‘pang’, there are plenty of other opportunities available to women who decide to have children later in life…