Friday, October 21, 2005

To have or have not

I've been thinking about kids again. My nieces are coming this weekend and I'm looking forward to it. I love having them and teaching them new things and they are so eager to learn. Their mom (my sister in law) is pregnant and the girls (8 and 12) are not real enthused. They even stated early on that this baby could absolutely not go to Aunt Meredith's house. That was their place and the new baby would not be invited. The 12 year old has taken to coming up with lists of things they will never-ever be able to do again once the baby comes. The 8 year old is a little more excited but only because, as she says "I will have someone to boss". So this weekend will be a whirlwind of activity and I will be exhausted and wonder how in the hell their mom does it because it just seems that you are performing an endless array of cooking and cleaning and conjuring up wholesome activities to keep them away from the tv and trying to incorporate a lesson in everything and its just exhausting...and they aren't even little-little kids...they pretty much take care of themselves. And so by Sunday I am beat and yet when their parents come to retrieve them and I watch them pull out of the drive, I am sad and feeling a little empty. And so we revisit the topic of having a child.

I am 35 and I need to make up my mind. A few of my friends have taken the plunge and they seem happy, but I think they really, really wanted to have kids. And I don't feel like a really, really want to do it. People keep telling me that I'll regret it. But I think I'd rather regret not having a kid than regret having one. I think it would be interesting shaping someone into an adult and I think I would be very good at it....and I look at my husband's and my life and it seems like this long, flat road, stretching off into the horizon... just the two of us until the end. But then I worry about the future of the country and would it be fair to bring someone into the world when it's so chaotic...and I want some kind of guarantee that my child would be attractive and brilliant and funny and successful instead of odd and strange looking and likely to grow up and return home to live in my basement. And I don't have a good support system.

My biological clock is barely ticking anymore. I keep hitting the snooze and the time between keeps getting longer. I guess if I'm not absolutely crazed to have a child, then I shouldn't. Any advice out there? Anyone else going through this or been there already? I feel like when i'm absolutely sure, it might be too late, if I decide to have a kid.


Blogger Liz said...

I'm in the same boat as you, and I worry about the future so much that I have decided it would be cruel to bring a child into the world (mostly I'm thinking of Peak Oil and environmental degradation on top of all the civil unrest).

I'm 33, and the plan was to have a child (just one) when I was 27. At that point I started teaching preschool and I think my body told my brain that I didn't need any more kids and switched off the biological clock. I have a friend with kids who is, luckily, brutally honest and expresses her exhaustion and jealousy at my life. It's not that she would give up her kids, but she is clear about how much they really change your life.

I haven't really had any strong longings to have a child, and if it ever really so that bad that I couldn't stand my life without one, we will seriously consider adoption of a young child (no babies need apply).

I say that if you don't really, really want to have a child, you shouldn't. They will know that they weren't really, really wanted.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a woman, I think we know when & if we want children. And not all women want to have children. My daughter is 25 years old and I hope I haven't depressed her by advising her to wait to see what our country's future & direction is before deciding to have children--not that she is even thinking of having children today, she isn't ready & is unsure herself.

(on the other hand?)--When I was pregnant with my daughter, the nuclear disaster happened at 3 Mile Island-- --and I was devastated--I worried & regretted being pregnant. However, it was all set in motion & I had a baby girl months later & thankfully it was not Chernobyl ( A few years later, I had another baby & I have, of course, never regretted having these beautiful babies--human beings that I will forever love.

Today I am deeply concerned for my adult children. There is much to think & consider--I feel, before making the decision (& I feel it is a personal Choice) to have children & this is what I pass on to them. The turbulence in our country is disturbing and I don't want to be a pessimist, but I feel there is hatred on the horizon as well as many every day considerations for children & families--education, healthcare, job, environmental, etc, issues that are going to be lumped into the younger generation's laps. I am glad I am not dealing with school issues for my children right now--we have just come from the liberty of children being able to learn about all sorts of things--but I see that changing--things are tightening up in the classroom--more & more kids are being home schooled, public schools are wasting is looked at as a threat by some who think they are the majority...we are in for a bumpy ride. I hope our so-called Democracy stands tall & keeps us from shallow thinking & hatred that may loom in the years to come.

My brother & his wife are childless and are the best Uncle & Aunt in the world to my children. And I know many childless couples & singles who give so much of themselves to their siblings children that they do not need to feel they made any 'wrong' decision in choosing not to have children or not being able to have children. Those of us raising children need many loving people to join us in raising our children in this world. We need you.

I think you will know, no matter what is happening around you, whether or not you want children--it will happen or not & can be spontaneous either way. Let it be what suits you. It sounds as if you are a perfect aunt & I know your nieces will forever hold you as near & dear & necessary in their lives. Enjoy every moment as it comes.

Today I shall be Anonymous, please.

8:43 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

It's nice to know you aren't the only one worrying about this stuff. I too worry so much about the future and I see all these other people having kids and it donesn't even seem to enter their minds....or, if you ask them, the response is "well everybody probably worried that things were about to go bad, dating from the beginning to time". But not this bad. I honestly believe that our country is in decline. Children today will be the first in many generations to not achieve a standard of living better than their parents. I watch my neices and I wonder what the future holds for them. What kind of jobs will they be able to get. What state will the environment be in? What will the oceans be like? Will we entertain with stories of way back when you could catch and eat a thing called a fish?

I had a great weekend with the girls but I realized that if I am this heartsick about their futures, what would I be like with my own child. And I also feel that if someday the desire is so great to have a child, I can adopt. There are so many children that need a home and need to be loved.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Meredith, it's exactly this: "well everybody probably worried that things were about to go bad, dating from the beginning to time". But not this bad."

I hear that argument all the time, but I think it's real now. It's not that things are going to be bad until the end of the world, but there is going to be a very rough transition to go through in the next 10-15 years (or sooner).

We have a society that is unsustainably built of cheap oil, and that oil is running out. Everything uses it, and very few businesses and gov'ts are making plans about what to do. It is like Katrina magnified. People are going to have to change the way they do EVERYTHING and there are going to be shortages, and not just of gasoline. Food and electricity, too.

We didn't start on this path to self-sufficiency by thinking about Peak Oil, but we're starting to realize that it's looming and it's going to be important to know how to live.

I worry about my niece and nephew, too, and the best thing we can do is to be positive influences in their lives.

7:58 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

You are absolutely right. There are going to be some extreme growing pains as we wean ourselves off cheap oil. Another thing I see as likely to occur, is doing well in school, attending a decent college and being fiscally responsible simply won't be enough for kids that are being born now. I think we will have a massive poor class and a massive upper class and there simply won't be middle class anymore. I can't even imagine the taxes that will be necessary to pay down the debt that we are accruing today (and probably for the next three years). I'm probably a little too doom and gloom, but I just don't see anything too bright about the future of this country.

10:31 AM  

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