I have contemplated a lot about why people choose to have kids.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about these things. Ha!
(And oh my….I would loooove to hear why you had kids!)
On a walk this morning, my friend & I were discussing it and thought that maybe people have kids mostly due to cultural norms….as in….It’s just what you do! Right? You get married and then have kids because everyone else does…and everyone says it will be great! So you go for it… cause it’s the accepted path. Plus I think it’s common to want to share in the experiences of your peers….just so you don’t feel on the outside of the experiences your friends and family are having.
Or, you have kids because you don’t want to be an 80 year-old woman left behind with no family around you. And so you have them to ensure that you have a family. And you like the idea of family life.
Or, you have them because you think having children will enrich your life somehow. The experience will bring you happiness. Or maybe it will even enrich your marriage. Or give you more of a purpose. Or maybe it will just make you melt to see your spouse as a parent. Or maybe you just like kids and think they’re adorable and want one for yourself. Or maybe it will get you out of working a job that you no longer want to do.
Well, I actually don’t really need to have kids for any of these reasons. Well, maybe a little of the not-being-lonely-at-age-80 sounds good. And actually, a little Danny running down the hallway would just about kill me. But you guys, after 7 years of not getting pregnant, I’ve learned how to be pretty darn content with my life. And if I could figure that out now, I am sure I could figure it out at age 80. I hate to admit it, but I don’t looong desperately for kids like a used to. (Um, at the moment, it’s pretty great just blogging, running around the park whenever the heck I want, helping people, learning lots of great things, & going to brunch with Danny…you see what I mean?) I look at all my friends who are young moms..their lives couldn’t be more different than mine. They literally don’t have 5 minutes to themselves in these small apartments. And they are hauling strollers up and down stairs. And cooking or cleaning up meals every last spare minute of the day. And going to Costco on foot with a stroller and a camping back pack. I know their lives are fulfilling too, just in a different way.
Meanwhile, I just barely learned the word “bump” like last week when I did it for the first time (as in bumping a stroller down stairs). I have never had to clean up a blow out. Though one time I got the tiniest wet spot from one at church while I was holding a baby. I have almost never wiped baby goo off a baby or myself. I have never had sex with kids in the house. I have never not slept in on a Saturday morning when I wanted to. I have never been awakened by a crying baby.
So as I face treatments at $20k a pop + drugging up to the max + going through a lot of seriously deliberate effort to make this happen (even though there are no guarantees that it will actually happen) I have been forced to think a LOT about my motivations to have a child.
And, I hate to say it but I have observed that most of the reasons people want to have kids involves THEMSELVES. As in…This will bring ME so much happiness. This will bring ME the family lifestyle that I love. This will allow ME to fulfill my dream. This will bring ME fulfillment & purpose & joy. This will bring ME & my husband closer. This will make US a family. This will allow ME to use my talents or strengths (etc. etc. etc.) But since I have learned to meet these “needs” in other ways, the normal reasons to have kids aren’t motivating enough for me at the moment.
So I have tried to tap into a greater reason to want to have kids. And I kind of like it…. 🙂
I have decided that I want to have kids for THEM! I want to do it out of love… for them!
I believe that we are all created equal…and so any child that I may have will be my equal. And so instead of working some children into “My Perfect Life Mold of What I Want & Envision for Myself” (which would be soooo easy to do without even realizing it), I’ve decided it’s more about just helping a fellow spirit brother or sister along their way. It’s more about what I can offer them, instead of what they can offer me. I love this thinking….because it takes the pressure off of your kids to bring you happiness & fulfillment. It takes the pressure off of them to fit into YOUR MOLD now or at anytime during their lives. It takes away the self-centered nature of “I need a baby to be happy” “I need my kids to do this or that to be happy.” And instead, you get to just be at the sidelines – loving and assisting and offering…..and giving back all the goodness & wisdom that you’ve already received in this life, without the expectation of receiving anything in return. (But let’s be honest, you send good out into the world and chances are it’s going to come right back to you in some form or another, whether it’s now or later 🙂
My lovely friend hugged her baby really tight as we walked & had this conversation. She loved the idea, too, and it made her heart swell as she thought about her darling baby.
OK: Now that I have knocked many of the common reasons why people have kids (haha…sorry about that 🙂 🙂 I still want to know why YOU decided to have kids! Even if it was all for you!!! 🙂 It would just be so fun to hear!
P.S. The photos above are of some of my favorite families in the world. These were taken in DUMBO on our last Saturday together in Brooklyn. I could die over those little girls. I will cherish these photos forever.