When I was younger, all I wanted was to be a mother. In high school, my dream for the future was to find the right guy, get married and have kids. Surely that would be the quickest road to my ultimate highway to happiness.
Days before I turned 25, my dad died of a drug overdose. Apparently, upon hearing the news, the first thing I howled before falling to the floor was, “He’ll never see my children!”
Neither would I.
My dad had many addictions, and my heart continued to break long after he left. Afterwards, my link to what love meant changed forever. I lost all sense of trust and wasn’t going to risk my heart on another relationship, man or child.
For the first time, the idea of having babies was scary rather than romantic. If love brought this much pain, I wanted out of the game.
It took me years to change my mind about getting married. But eventually I met Chris, and felt safe enough to roll the dice with my heart. Best bet I ever made.
Still, the idea of being committed to someone for the rest of my life was enough for me to process. In went the IUD. One relationship at a time.
Chris and I talked about kids occasionally, but whenever I have brought up the subject, his response echoed my own, “I’m not ruling it out, but not now.”
If he had ever once looked in my eyes and said, “Baby, I want your baby!” I might be knocked up with triplets by now. But our shared ambivalence has never motivated me to take on toddlers.
Much of our mutual reluctance comes from years of caretaking troubled grownups. We’ve seen a lot of suffering, and more often we’ve wished for a break, rather than to take on more responsibility.
There’s a form of ‘parenting’ when dealing with a depressed dad on drugs and alcohol. Or with Chris’ mentally ill sister, now in her 50s, requiring the same care as a child. We get to deal with diapers, tantrums, and a whole lot of crying – just not the cute kind.
Soon after we were married, I had my own meltdown. I knew I’d have a few issues to work through, yet I wasn’t expecting to find myself in the fetal position over something that didn’t deserve such a reaction…or throwing arugula across the room for no reason.
When my dad was depressed, I tried to convince him that life was beautiful and worth having a strong will to LIVE. Suddenly, I couldn’t convince myself of the same.
Nurturing others has always been easy for me. Having patience and compassion for my own pain was another story. I didn’t feel ready for or even worthy of a child. Maybe I finally felt secure enough to be one. I’m not much of a crier, but as my soul unloaded deeply held sadness…I was surprised at how good it felt to feel.
I always got the sense from my mom that I was the best and worst thing that ever happened to her. I used to believe I ruined her life. She was 18 with dreams of becoming the next Sarah Bernhardt…but one fateful night in the back of a Pontiac LeMans, as In A Gadda Da Vida rocked on, the course of her Catholic life would change forever.
Even though she was offered an abortion, then called a ‘puttana’ by her future father-in-law (that’d be WHORE in Italian), she went along with the unplanned pregnancy and was promptly married…
Living through the aftermath of my single-mother’s messy life while her ex-husband moved on to her sister…also left me feeling less than inspired about raising children.
There are many contributing factors that led Chris and I to choose not to have children. But let me be clear, I LOVE kids. I cry when I hold them. I cry when I’m at a recital and the kids dancing aren’t my own. (Oddly, I was the only teary adult at this recital).
Sentimental stuff aside, the devil has been known to wear Huggies. And with our genes and according to the stars, I’d probably give birth to a “demon” child.
For now, our fur babies are our family. We love them like they were our own – even though Joey’s peed on the bed and still eats clothes.
Babies can be many things. To me, the creative force comes through limitless manifestations. At the moment, I’m birthing a business – which is why you haven’t heard from me for a while. (If you’re interested in launch updates, click here and enter your email address).
In other VERY EXCITING news, my brother and sister in law are about to give birth to a baby girl and I am SO excited to be an Auntie!!!
As miracles would have it, two of our best friends (the beautiful couple we married in Tahiti last year) are also expecting their baby any day!!
I can’t wait to love these little ones. Children illuminate this crazy world and remind us of what’s most important – Love and connection.
When I was little, I brought a lot of light to my dad whenever he was in the darkness. Sometimes he’d throw it back in a magic ball as bright as the sun. And sometimes, like a big black hole, he’d suck up all the life-force in the universe – at least that’s how it felt as a child. As I’ve gotten older, my perspective has sobered a bit. In many ways, my dad was like a child who never grew up. Which, once in a while, made him reeeally fun.
I still miss him and wish he were here to play with his new grand baby girl. I’m sure she’d love him as much Deli did.