My Lifelong Goal Is To Be A Mother, But Now I Am Too Depressed & Afraid To Have Children

Believe me, I was not naive before this. Everyone I know has had terrible things happen in their lives, including myself and aspects of my own childhood. As a fairly paranoid person, I observe (and occasionally dramatize) the enormity of bad stuff around me. I have never not looked behind my front seat, for example, because I just assume that somebody will be sitting there with a knife one day. I also am afraid of driving because, perhaps more rationally, I know that literally tens of thousands of people die each year from it. Also, I have expensive insurance and do not want it to raise, but that’s beside the point.

I am constantly aware of sexism. I am knowledgeable about rape and rape statistics and rape culture. I am knowledgeable (though, much less so) about war and famine. I notice dangerous shit all over the place and yet, I still have never once wavered in my desire to give birth to or adopt three children.

But seeing the headline that just had the names and ages…I imploded in a way I have never felt before. Just reading the number “6″ that many times, over and over, I couldn’t breathe. I was alive when Columbine and September 11th and many other horrifying things happened, but I think I was too young to process much besides, “People do bad things and I’m very sad right now.”

Instead, I am feeling so overwhelmingly upset, I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know how to react besides horror and awe and a now huge, sickening fear that my lifelong dream (i.e. my future kids) could someday be destroyed because of one person with one cruel action.

I am quite certain that I’m not the only person whose feelings regarding kids — whether they exist already or not — have changed in the past week. My mom, who works at an elementary school, just held me for a long while because I couldn’t stop crying. I have read so many stories about petrified parents who have never been afraid to send their kids to school, but are now having to force themselves to let them go each morning. However hard I’ve taken this news, I can only imagine the fear that people who are already parents are experiencing. And then, one step further, I don’t think I possibly can imagine the pain that those who were directly affected by Sandy Hook are now feeling.

But I can tell you how it’s affected me, if you’re interested in the highly distressed views of a now slightly more jaded 23-year-old.

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    • Cee

      When I was young, I always wanted to have kids…a lot. My job in education is one of the factors that actually made me want to not want to have kids. At first it was the superficial stuff…the attitude, tantrums, disruptions, which pass when they tell you they love you, give you flowers and want to hug you. Later on it was the deeper issues… mentally disturbed children, sexually/physically/emotionally abused children, or special education (autism spectrum disorders, deaf, blind…which are not violent but it can be daunting to raise a child with special needs) that made me not want to have children. Also, being a lesbian, a donor could have a history or relative with these issues.
      Being in the world of education makes you see the crummy world that children can be exposed to or factors that can make child rearing difficult. At times you may have awesome luck and have an exceptional, wonderful..what people call normal child, but their classmates and their world may not be. Knowing that I will constantly worry about these things is a bit..too much for me.

      • Samantha Escobar

        That is really, really interesting…thank you for the perspective. My mom is presently a librarian so she always tells me about both wonderful and dreadful things kids do, and I am often a little freaked out by it.

    • Ms. Pants

      1- Wow, I had no idea you’re so young! That’s a compliment–you write far wiser than your 23 years. Or maybe I was just a dickhead 23 year old. (Pretty sure I was, but I still say you’re wise.)

      2.- That’s not a double chin, that’s a dimple extension. There’s just so much happy on your face that your dimple couldn’t contain it all and had to go all over-achiever in order to convey the joy. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

      3.- While I’ve never wanted children, I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m fiercely protective of my nephews and these types of thoughts have been going through my head since their births. I don’t have a magic solution for you–wish I did–just want to let you know you’re not alone in your thoughts. <3

      • Samantha Escobar

        Thank you! No, no, I am still a dickhead 23-year-old, I promise…I just get to edit my stupid mouth online whereas in real life, I am a giggling weirdo. (Really.)

        :D I love your “dimple extension” idea. I think I will use that whenever other people say they have double chins.

        Thank you. That’s really, really wonderful of you. I think we at The Gloss are luckier than people who write for a lot of giant news outlets because they get 92849032 commenters and rarely have the opportunity to read all of them, whereas we get to hear kind words from ours and get to know ‘em. Just FYI, we <3 you!

    • Jen

      I am also 23, and while I’ve always been on the fence about kids (as I feel I should be at 23), all of your terrified thoughts also went through my head. You aren’t alone!

      • Samantha Escobar

        :) I’m glad to not be alone. Also, almost everyone I know is on the fence about kids in their late 20s and early 30s, too, so you are definitely not the minority!

    • maya del mar

      funny thing is – you haven’t even thought about possibility of giving birth to adam lanza, which will be even worse. and this thing can happen too. all those criminals, rapists, psychos, somebody gave them birth too. and not necessarily they were bad parents.

      bad things just happen, you can’t control this.

      controlling life – is one big illusion. so, yes, life choices are made in tough conditions. this is a part of adult life:). in my culture a lot of women have kids when they are young… may be for humanity it is for best. if we humans understood fully all dangers of life, the humanity would have been dead already.

      • giveittime

        This: “Controlling life – is one big illusion.” This is what parents of every generation for the entire history of human beings have had to accept. Sandy Hook is a truly terrible event, but before this happened, there were always risks to children – this is just the particular event that has made you most aware of how little control we have over what happens in life. This understanding will actually make you a better parent – you will appreciate the time you have with your children and not take for granted that they will always be safe. You will do the best you can.

        I know you don’t want it to right now, but the shock and scariness of Sandy Hook will dull. If you truly want children, you will still want them – you have simply experienced someone that every parent or young person in their 20s realizes: we can not keep children (or ourselves) safe all of the time. But that doesn’t mean we need to opt out and live in fear.

      • Samantha Escobar

        @giveittime Oh, I know, I am quite certain that the anger and stress will subside…in fact, I went and saw the little ones that I discussed in the article last night and pretty much instantly felt better. I still felt incredibly sad, and I still am anxious, but I know that this will be overridden eventually.

        Also, I most certainly do want the shock and scariness of Sandy Hook to dull! I mean, yes, I think it should be shocking and frightening, but I don’t want to be terrified forever.

      • Samantha Escobar

        No, I have thought of that. I’ve thought of that quite a bit…I don’t have a consistently excellent mental health history, regardless of how stable I am nowadays — not that that’s the only thing that leads to kids who hurt other people — so I feel pretty afraid of that. I’ve always said that I don’t know how I would possibly be able to deal if my child abused animals and/or people, but just like many parents, I would have to find a way.

        That last sentence is a pretty profound statement, and I really do mean that.