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

It has changed the way I look at little ones. As I walked down the street today, I saw a couple kids playing with each other and being just generally cute. Normally, this is my face:

New Normal - Sandy Hook

Every. Single. Time.

It has undoubtedly freaked out every partner I have ever had. I can only assume they think I’m obsessed with babies and want to have theirs (when, in all actuality, I’ve only ever dated one person with whom I would consider children in the future), so they get weird and uncomfortable and start ensuring that I’m being religious about my birth control. But I really just love kids, in general, and want them and am totally unabashed about that part of my being.

But now, when I see their little faces, I get bleary-eyed. I am currently visiting New York City and have yet to see my cousin’s children — of whom I am obsessed because they’re amazing and brilliant little angels — because I’m afraid I will cry. And crying in front of kids is probably not the best way to say, “Hi darlings, merry Christmas!”

Olivia and I

Seriously, this little muffin even makes me not care about my double chin!

Now, I can’t think of anything in regard to children besides, “Somebody might take them away from me, someday, and I will probably not be able to stop that person.”

Every time I have so much as thought about kids in the past week, I just can’t get images of children crying out of my head. I wish I could tell myself that the headlines and stories are somehow worse than the truth, but they’re not. We all know that that’s not true. The fact is that there are a bunch of kids who aren’t coming home to their parents, and that’s not fair to either party, and that truth is worse than any fictionalized details people could’ve possibly come up with to get pageviews or a larger television audience.

Yes, I have always known about the bad, bad things our world holds around every corner and down every lane and across every hallway. There are awful things that happen all day, every year. But for some reason I can’t quite pinpoint, I can’t help but be so frighteningly aware of them that the prospect of having a child now upsets me. My friends often make fun of me because I get this can’t-hardly-wait grin on my face every time I see baby pictures or spot an adorable kid in the street. Now, I just want to avoid thinking about children because if I do, my only emotion will be anguish. Anguish and fear.

Photos: Leave It To Beaver, The Little Rascals, The New Normal.

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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.