Not a Conscious Decision: It Just Happened
This contributor named Helena (not her real name) lives in Slovakia, a country where not many people consciously choose to not have children. Thank you for sharing your story. I especially related to the challenges of connecting with friends who have kids.
I haven’t really made a conscious decision not to have kids. It just happened. Luckily, I never felt the urge to have all these little clothes and shoes at home. I imagined that when I find the right man, children will be a natural choice that we make together. And here I am, 38-years old, “man-free” and childfree. I can’t say I regret it, at least not for now. However, I wonder sometimes, if my choices were the right ones. When I see a happy family with kids laughing, having a lunch together, I wonder, “how would it be if I had one?”
When my best friend had her first baby, I haven’t heard from her almost for 6 months. It was a big change for both of us. Suddenly, she couldn’t be there for me, she had to be there for her children, family. Every time I called, she had a silenced phone, so the baby wouldn’t be disturbed. I love her very much and she is still my best friend, however, there is this whole area of her life that I cannot truly share with her and it bothers me sometimes.
Then there are these six friends from high school that I used to go out with. Now they all have 2–4 children. I lived abroad for some time and when I came back and met with them (I am the only person without children), I felt like I was an Alien. Nobody talked to me for the first 20 minutes – some did not even say “hello” when I entered the room! They were so busy talking about the nurseries and children illnesses and running around attending to the children that I felt I was invisible!
Finally, one of them started a conversation – surprisingly enough, by asking me about when I plan to have a family. Well, after that I avoided their gatherings for a while. I mean, it is natural that they have more in common now, but still, we are friends, aren’t we? It should mean we accept each other’s differences, right?
Naturally, I spend my time with people who have common world view and interests, which gravitates more towards singles or those with grown-up kids that no longer have to take care of them 24/7. I believe, it will change during different stages of life. It is tough sometimes to live in a culture, where “normal” is defined by getting married and having kids after 30.
Sometimes I wonder though, how is it possible that we all should want the same thing? Get married and have kids? Is it really for everyone? Because I see these mothers that are in dysfunctional relationships and still want to have kids, because everybody has them! And they truly seem to suffer through every day.
Then there are mothers who seem to be always stressed and tired and grumbling about everything. And then there are those, who truly love motherhood. And I can see that on their faces and faces of their spouses, they are calm and smiling and I am truly happy for them. If I am a mother, I would like to enjoy it. I also want motherhood to be my decision and not a decision of my friends, parents or society. In the end, I am the one, who will end up living with the choice.
If you would like to share your story, please email me at nokidwoman (at) gmail (dot) com.
Photo Credit: Barbara Andrade via Flickr Creative Commons