The house where we lived when I was in middle school and high school was in a new development (well, new back then). We were one of the first families to move in. The house to our right was purchased by a confirmed bachelor – very nice guy, engineer, with a wonderful dog.
His confirmed bachelor days ended pretty soon after he moved in when he got married. Several years later, they welcomed their first child, a boy. A few years after that, they had twins. One day, after I had my own car and drivers license, his wife asked if I could drive her and the twins to the airport – she had to change out a ticket (this was before the Internets, people!). We loaded up the car with me, her, the kids and all of their paraphernalia and headed out.
While she was inside dealing with the ticket, I sat out in the car with the children (this was also pre-9/11 so you could still park your car at the curb of the airport). As an only child, I had limited exposure to little kids when I was older, so I was exceedingly uncomfortable having two screaming infants in my car even for a few minutes. What would I do if they really started crying? How would I explain it to some authority figure as to why I had two screaming children? I could do calculus, but I couldn’t do babies. Talk about poster children for birth control!
My neighbor must have seen how uncomfortable I was with two screaming infants, because when we got home again and the children were safely ensconced, she tried to reassure me by saying, rather condescendingly, that “you’ll feel differently when you have you’re own.”
All I could think was, “Fat chance, lady!” I couldn’t even see to my high school graduation, let alone having children. I was, to put it mildly, not entirely convinced back then that I would get married, let alone pop out some progeny. Ambivalent didn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling (I think “militantly anti-child” was closer to the truth).
See, I was not one of those kids who a) knew they would have kids or b) even wanted them. I hated playing with dolls, playing house or planning my dream wedding. At the same time, I wasn’t exactly a tomboy. I was just me: bookish, but quirky, with a love for Chuck Taylors and a wicked CD collection.
By the time I met Sweetie, I still wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of having children. I was in my first year of graduate school and trying to keep my head above water. Of course, our talk came around to this topic generally. I tried not to freak him out too much so I just simply said, that I didn’t really know if I wanted them. In later years, he claimed that I was adamant about not having children and I explained to him that I wasn’t adamant, I just didn’t want to scare him off by even bringing up the topic.
The thing is, I didn’t decide that I wanted children, until I met the man I wanted to have them with. He was the first man that I had dated who I even could picture myself having children with and who would be a good father. So for me, deciding to have children was less a function of my biological clock than it was a function of totally changing my mind. At the same time, I don’t know if all of me has caught up – I still catch myself at restaurants with screaming children being thankful that they aren’t mine, or that I can still sleep in if I want to, go out on a moment’s notice, etc.
Maybe I will feel differently when it is one of my own.
Thank you to everyone who posted with their thoughts on how to break my funk. Each of them made my day a little brighter. Yesterday was better – I had a great day with my mom and we didn’t talk at all about my infertility. It was nice to have a normal conversation. We went to the fabric store to show off the quilt I made, then grabbed some lunch, and headed to my favorite consignment store, finally stopping at a cross-stitch store that I hadn’t been to. It was really nice.