The Journey to Have or Not Have Children – Part 2

Today’s blog post is a part 2 to one I wrote nearly two years ago. It was and continues to be my most read post of all time. I had at least 5-6 women reach out to me who have said they felt similar, or decided they were not having children and felt encouraged and “relieved” by my post that offered another perspective. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

I wasn’t sure if a part 2 was necessary, but after asking my audience, it seems people are still craving that different voice that may seem “out of the ordinary.” With that, I share where my heart is on this topic two years later.

Obviously, I’m not getting any younger. Some days I wish I were, ha. This decision and the pressure to “decide” by a certain age has been something I’ve been struggling with more now than I was two years ago. My husband and I were still newlyweds and had just bought a home, lots of plans to travel, get a dog, etc. Life happens, and a few of the above “plans” had to be put on hold while we dealt with our unending home problems which you all know about by this point if you follow along on Instagram.

I turn 33 in just a couple of months, and I’ll be honest, I am still very undecided about being a parent. We’ve welcomed a niece and a nephew into the world since my last post, and I will say, being an Aunt brings me a lot of joy. But, I don’t go home and say “I wish we had that.” Now, people are kind, and say things like “you have plenty of time, you’re still young!” and “so and so had a kid at 43! it’s possible!” While these are well-intended comments, two years have flown by and I thought my mind would be clearer about this. In two years I’ll be 35 (a.k.a. geriatric pregnancy stage in the medical world) and the constant what if I don’t decide by THEN thought is swirling in my brain. I cannot stop analyzing this. I want it to feel right and in this day in time, I feel I have other things I want to do and would rather do. Does that sound bad? Perhaps to some, but the freedom my husband and I have is REALLY nice.

On the flip side of that, I will be honest when I say my life has become a bit more lonely in terms of friendships. My life is in a different place than nearly everyone I know. It’s hard to connect, I can’t relate, and 98% of conversations are about kids. I can usually chime in with a thing or two because of our niece and nephew, but my contribution to a conversation is pretty much 2%. It’s part of this journey I’ll have to accept if we do choose not to have children. Let me be clear, it is not that anyone isn’t here for me or what not, that’s not the case. But the fact that I can say I go home from work and do whatever I want whenever I want is not a reality when you have kids. It’s not relatable anymore. I understand why, and I have a lot of respect for parents and still have zero idea how people do it.

But for the women who choose a different path, there is something difficult we lose too, and it’s in the form of relationships & connection.

As someone who needs that even more than the average person, this has been challenging to navigate and I haven’t figured it out yet. I’ve been fortunate to have the blogging community where I have met some amazing women of all ages and stages of life. That has helped me. But it’ll be something I have to consider or find a better way to deal with it if we choose not to have kids.

I’m not sure how to wrap this up and put it nicely in a bow because that’s not where I’m at. It’s all over the place – probably like this post, haha. But in all seriousness, this story is complicated and overwhelming for me. As I was talking to a friend about the matter, the number one thing I realized I need to do is release the pressure to “decide” from my mind. It’s time for me to trust what is right for my life and for my husband and I, and continue to have the conversation about what we want for our life. It’s time to let the WHAT IFs go, and let my life unfold in the time frame that is right for us. However it works out, it will work out the way it’s supposed to.

The biggest lesson in this season for me is to stop making things worse by pressuring myself to decide and worrying about regret.

If you’re in a similar season of life, I see you. I would love for you to reach out so we can connect to support each other and help each other hear our own hearts on the matter and not the hearts of everyone else.

-Heather

1 Comment

  1. January 17, 2020 / 6:55 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing Heather. Although I’m in a slightly different phase of life, I have the same thoughts and fears. What if I wait too long and regret it? What if I don’t fit in with my family and friends anymore? What if not wanting to have children is a barrier to finding a partner?
    I think the best thing I can say to myself, and to you, is that not having children doesn’t make your life unfulfilled. We are not less of women because we don’t have a burning desire to be moms. Our measuring sticks for success should not be longer or shorter. I have so much admiration for mothers and fathers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve admiration too. And if you or I change our minds, it wouldn’t make us bad moms. It means we have the strength to follow our own path in our own timing, just like those who’ve always known they want to be parents.
    It can be hard to fight the tide of expectation or tradition, especially the self-imposed kind. So I’m proud of you for being honest with yourself and it gives everyone else struggling with huge decisions (parenthood or otherwise) the space to acknowledge their self-worth as they are now.

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