• Mon, Feb 11 2013

I’m Scared I’ll Never Have Kids

7am wake-up call everyday when I'm in Colorado: Jackson and Elliot "sneakily" crawl into bed with me.

7am wake-up call everyday when I’m in Colorado: Jackson and Elliot “sneakily” crawl into bed with me.

I’ve never been a big fan of kids. I blame my years as a babysitter in high school. From toddlers to kids who were almost 10, those were the ages that I had the most experience. It was a nightmare. Not because the kids were terrors, but because it was boring. To me, there’s nothing less entertaining than playing some weird imaginary game with a five-year-old. And this is coming from someone who loves to play pretend.

Somewhere around 29 I decided kids weren’t for me.

If I look at my life and how I live it, kids would truly cramp my style. Yes, this is a selfish thought. But at least I’m aware of it, so I can’t be entirely judged for feeling this way. I even agreed to be part of an article for the NY Post where I announced my lack of desire to have kids, my noted selfishness and my need to have a life that “sparkled.” Honestly, I looked like an asshole in it, and the proof were in the comments – mostly from men – who said that the other women and I profiled didn’t even “deserve” kids if that’s how we felt. It was harsh. Just because someone chooses to not have kids, that doesn’t make them undeserving; it makes them aware that maybe they don’t have it in them to give 120% at all times. If that’s the case, it’s better they skip the baby train, and maybe fly off to Brazil instead.

I can appreciate kids from afar. Most of them are pretty damn adorable; they do tend to say some really funny, and often profound things, that a jaded adult would never even dream up. But it’s when they start crying, freaking out or wandering around a restaurant as their parents smile thinking that their kid is so cute and that no one will ever be bothered by the fact that their child is asking to taste your beignet, that I lose it. I know, in these instances, we have the parents to blame, and that infuriates me more. Some of us do not find your child’s antics cute; it’s a fact.

I’ve been saying for so long that I don’t want kids that it’s practically my mantra. Even when I see a little girl have a moment with her dad in the park or every time my nephew Jackson looks at me to tell me he loves me, and the tears start flowing, I chalk it up to hormones. It can’t possibly be anything more than hormones, because I’ve decided, through and through, that children are not part of my game plan.

Then something happened.

It was right after my therapist told me she was pregnant last spring. She had that pregnant woman glow and we were discussing how she’d be on maternity leave for most of the summer. Out of nowhere, or maybe coming from some place deep inside, a place I have forced all my thoughts with which I refuse to deal, I started crying. It wasn’t just a few tears, but inconsolable bawling to the point that I thought I was going to be sick.

There it was, plain as day: I did want kids. I was just too scared to admit to it in case it never happens.

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  • Carrie

    I was like you for most of my life. I know your fear, get what you are saying. I took the attitude that if it happened it happened. Well it did happen for me shortly after 9/111. I enjoy my children and I’m glad I waited to have them. So, I’m sure things will work out for you as it did for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=22605043 Alexis Hovind

    I really appreciate your honesty. I remember being taken aback by something you wrote once that seemed weirdly dismissive of parents, but this kind of puts it in perspective. I definitely agree that as much fun as they can be, kids can really cramp your style (I have one, and yeah, it’s very true). And it is also very true that parents who let kids run amok in public are just awful. At least make an effort to respect other people’s time and space, amIright?

    All I can say is that having a kid doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself and turn into some godawful Stepford soccer mom if you don’t let it, just as much as NOT hiving kids doesn’t make you a pathetic spinster. There are compromises either way, but neither path is inherently bad. Whatever happens, kids or no kids, I really hope you get whatever it is that will be best for you. Either possibility could yield some really great results, so don’t feel too down either way. Chin up!

  • MR

    Yeah, that’s a nice picture.

  • meteor_echo

    Aaand this article is exactly why I’m having my tubes tied at the first opportunity. So that nobody could tell me that I’ll change my mind, and so that the childbearing option would fly out of the window anyway.

    • http://blisstree.com/ Carrie Murphy

      Because that’s the point of this piece.

    • meteor_echo

      Because people stumble upon articles like this and then end up harassing me and telling me I must surely change my mind someday. Sorry, but seeing stuff like this just makes me kind of disappointed – somebody who seemed so confident in her life decision ended up just being a person with the case of sour grapes. It’s sad.

    • Amanda Chatel

      Woe. “Somebody who seemed so confident in her life decision ended up just being a person with the case of sour grapes. It’s sad.”

      I don’t think realizing something about myself makes me sad or any less confident. Yes, it’s a fear that maybe it won’t happen, but I’m not saying it will be the end of the world if it doesn’t happen.

      I love the life I’ve chosen to live, and if I don’t have kids, it means more adventures in the world and more experiences that will just be sans kids. I’ll make up for it in other ways… not because I feel obligated to by society or myself, but because that’s what people do: live their lives… bang a dude in Italy or whatever.

    • meteor_echo

      It really IS great that you know what you want in life and are honest with yourself about it. However, I used to look up to you because you were really cool – and childfree, and adamant about it. Out of the window it all goes, I guess.

  • Maggie

    Amanda, if I ever have the good fortune to meet you in person, I’m giving you a huge gigantic bear hug.

    Alexis’ comment was right: neither choice is “bad,” because it’s your choice, your life, your happiness. And, it’s never “too late!” My Mom had me in her late thirties, because she wasn’t sure if she wanted children either, and she is an amazing Mother and I could not live without her.

    And for what it’s worth, the way you write about your nephews makes me think you would make a wonderful Mom :)

    • Amanda Chatel

      I think you’ve offered up a bear hug to me in past comments, Maggie. I want you to know I’m going to start keeping a tally just in case we do meet… I don’t want you holding out on the hugs.

      And thank you for your kind words. xo.

    • Maria Jose Lorente Berois

      Doesn’t seem to me that you ever decided not to have children. Looks like you didn’t really think things through, and now it’s getting too late.
      Frankly, some of the reasons you state for wanting kids (dressing them in certain outfits, the color of their eyes, etc) are so selfish and shallow as the reasons you state for not having them.
      If children were something you really cared about, the answer to your predicament would be adoption. But the kid won’t carry your genes that are sooo precious, aren’t they?