So, those consequences I mentioned earlier. I never really did get to those did I? Well there are two. One of them has come up in my past and isn't a surprise. One I wasn't quite prepared for.
When one person wants kids and the other doesn't, either one of them compromises and gives up something important or they have to break up. I have watched this video exactly once. And it made me bawl. Just finding it for you for this post, I didn't even let it play. This is something that has actually happened to me.
To breed or not to breed. This is understandably a deal breaker in relationships. I've always found it important to be upfront about this sort of thing right from the beginning. For the sake of any future partners so they know what they're getting into and for my own sake. I remember how much it hurt to be broken up with because I don't want children. It's not so much a blow to the ego, it's not me that's the problem, it's my choice. And in this circumstance, no matter how much it really hurts, I can't fault or hate the other person for not wanting to give up what they want.
I will never expect anyone to compromise or give up on something they want because I don't. That's not fair and I wouldn't do it for anyone else. As the title of these posts has been suggesting, reevaluation does not equal compromise or giving in. It's been a long time since a relationship ended for this reason. A really long time and I have learned so much about myself, other people and relationships since then.
I've learned that just because you disagree on this point does not mean you can never speak to each other again or that you can't be friends. Not wanting to make babies or vice versa is no reason to cut someone out of your life if they're special to you in any way.
It is hard to find a partner who really doesn't want kids. If a person has even thought they might want them they probably do, eventually. Dating at my age (not terribly old but getting there) means that a fair number of the available dating pool want or probably already have kids. I know that the 30s are the new 20s. It's completely true, I've had more fun in the last four years than I ever really did in my 20s.
The other unexpected consequence is age. People always told me when I was much younger that I didn't want kids then, but I'd change my mind when I got older. It was always something said with the tone of trying to either excuse my behaviour (as if I were just misguided or idealistic) or to make themselves feel better about it.
I haven't changed my mind, but I am older now. No one uses that excuse to dismiss my choice to not have children anymore. Because I am older, I guess they believe me now. Here's the thing, I'm 34 and damn close to 35. I've been on The Pill for 13-14 years now. I can't just skip it next month in an effort to get pregnant to beat the biological clock if I had a sudden repentant, desperate urge. If I changed my mind it would take time to reset. I can't spin on a dime and do it. But do I want to face the prospect of having a child at 36 or 37? Scary, isn't it?
I know it's not impossible to have children late in life, but it's not always wise to do so. That window of time for me to ever change my mind is getting smaller and smaller. I'd be a much wiser parent now than I would have been if I'd started this a decade ago, so there's that. On the other hand, there's a certain amount of patience and energy needed to raise a small child. If I'm pushing 40 is that something I want to be doing?
Here I am talking as if I'm already a senior citizen or as if I've changed my mind. But these are the practical things that have occurred to me this time around in reevaluating this decision. I said in the last post that, for now, I am prepared to regret this decision. And when I say this, as I get older I'm starting to become more and more aware that I might regret this decision.
I was asked, "what have you got against kids?" There's a list, but for the sake of brevity, I'm prevented from breeding by a complete avoidance of pain, squickiness and because I am at this time unwilling to change my lifestyle to accomodate a child. It wouldn't be the end of my life, but it would spell the end of the current life and the start of a different one.
Am I tired of living alone? Am I tired of being able to stay out as long as I want and sleep as late as I need to? Am I tired of not having dependants and disposable income? Am I tired of parties and community theatre? Of course I have many friends with children and they are not prevented from having/doing ... most of these things.
The only pressure I have in this is from myself, which is as it should be. I hear other women talk about their children and about how upset they would be if they don't get grandchildren, that they would harass and harangue their children until they had children. Because they want them to whether their children want to or not. As if their children owe it to them. There's the pointless argument, that what if my mother didn't want kids. Well I wouldn't exist and we wouldn't be having this discussion, would we?
I find this time around time is offering me external pressure to either keep this up or give in. I'm probably far too stubborn to change my mind. But will I still be so proud at my strong will to go against the grain when I'm too old to change my mind? This is something that hadn't occurred to me before. When I was younger I didn't think about being old, I didn't think about my future much or what life would be like at this point. What goals I'd have (historically, none) and where I would want to be going.
I want to make one thing absolutely clear. Regardless of what choice I make I am doing this for myself and no one else.