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.
There’s nothing sadder than a dream that’s never realized. I may have stolen that quote from somewhere because it sounds familiar, but it’s the truth. No matter how big or small that dream is, it’s a true tragedy when the end of your life comes and the one thing you wanted the most never came to be. It’s not the stuff of Hollywood movies; it’s the stuff of drunken, romantic novels and reality itself. Reality is a hard place to live sometimes.
Confession: I have names picked out, I have daydreams of the people they’ll be, the music they’ll love, the color of their eyes and which one will be stuck with my French nose. I walk past kids’ clothing stores and think it would be so great if I had a little one of my own to dress in ridiculous striped tights, floral dresses with Chucks on her feet. I long to know if their smile will be like that of their father or if their laugh will be just as loud as mine. I hope that they’ll get here before my parents die, because the heartache of my babies never knowing my parents is a pain I can’t even bear.
I wonder if they’ll love my nephews just as much as I do, and if they’ll be close friends unlike the lack of relationship I have with my own cousins due to the age difference. I hope that they’ll be happy more often than not, that they’ll be lucky enough to love and lose, and always be the stronger for it. Yes, these are some of the things I think about for my non-existent children.
And so the story goes that there was once a woman who denied for a good chunk of her adult life that she wanted kids. She stood firmly her ground on the subject, rolled her eyes every time someone asked her when she was going to have them, all because it was easier than admitting the deep down fear that it would never happen.
It was easier to play pretend, as her nephews do on an equally daily basis, than to confess the fear of being 50 years old, childless, with her friends whispering behind her back: “It’s so sad. Amanda really wanted kids.” Yes, a devoted denial seems like the most logical route to take on the matter. That way, in the end, no one can be sad if it never came to be; especially the woman who denied it.
So, no; I don’t want kids. I swear.