This post was originally published on 2nd October 2018 and updated on 16th August 2020
Having finally been able to travel up to the family home last weekend as I find myself in between flats, it’s given me the opportunity to catch up with family and friends, and to play ‘Auntie’ to my friends 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’m fairly certain he would have plenty (we often joke that it’s probably a good thing he’s wheelchair bound…he’s the biggest flirt I’ve ever known!).
I’m probably the surprising one.
I love kids, but the thought of having my own has never been overly appealing. I’ve never had the burning desire that so many women get to produce a mini me.
If I found myself pregnant, I would be ok with it, but if I don’t have kids, I don’t think it would leave me devastated.
I know many people just wouldn’t be able to comprehend this. I have friends who’s lives have been turned upside down by going through the pain of struggling to conceive. I’ve also got 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!). Even recently, my friend K gave birth to her first baby 12 weeks early! Her baby remains in hospital and is getting round the clock care. I can’t even begin to imagine what her and her husband are going through right now.
Maybe having witnessed some of these problems 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. I’m aware of how selfish that might sound, but alone time is my coping mechanism for many things. I need ‘me time’ to function. And if this was taken away from me? What then?
I need sleep. If I have a disturbed nights sleep, I 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, or god forbid, having to ensure one of those dreadful ‘soft play’ places on zero sleep?
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, buy a house, and have children.
But as a close friend of mine said a few months ago, that’s an increasingly old fashioned way of thinking. Just because many of my friends have chosen to follow this route, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the path that works best for me.
I’m aware that my body clock is ticking, but if I find myself with a burning desire to have children, and biologically, it’s too late, there are still other options.
I think friends and family think I will change my mind one day when I find the right man. Maybe I will.
But for now, I’m happy with my life, and playing the role of Auntie Bex 🙂