I thought I didn’t want to have a kid… until I realized I do

Guest post by Little b.
Phoot by Susan Sabo.
Photo by Susan Sabo.

I have always been the “I just don’t think kids are in my future” kind of gal. This was always stated breezily, easily, with absolute confidence. I’m a perennial University student of literature and philosophy (presently earning a Master of Letters); a vegan, tattooed traveler who, being aunty to six terrific nephews and nieces, felt that I was surrounded by enough kid-love to forgo cooking up any of my own.

I was so certain of this that I had even convinced everyone around me that this was how it was going to be. I was not the child-free thirty-year-old that people raised a knowing eyebrow at and said, “You’ll see, you’ll want your own.” Everyone — my mother, sister, brother, partners, friends and, especially, me — believed I was one of those women who would happily kick through this life as the adoring, crazy, child-free aunt who did wonderful, exotic things and was fun to visit because she was so permissive and didn’t know what a normal kid’s bedtime was supposed to be so let everyone stay up until midnight.

My sister is a home-schooling, home-birthing, additive-checking, vaccination-avoiding, nappy-free, breastfeeding-kids-with-all-their-teeth kind of earth mother who just about lives for her kids. I assisted at the births of three out of her four children. While she has sometimes said she would love to be on the other side aiding me through my own birth journey, she was very supportive of my child-free status. I was never judged. I was left alone. I was terribly sure of my plans.

I have to admit it now, without shame: I want a baby. It snuck up on me and blind-sided me. If I’d seen it coming I might have managed to dodge it.

One day, my beloved and I got a little carried away and weren’t so careful in the contraceptive department. We thought “oops” and waited. I desperately wanted my dear old reliable Aunty Flow to show. I checked my undies like a compulsive. She did, with her familiar punctuality, arrive. The very odd thing was, I cried when she did.

I reasoned later that I was under the influence of hormones. I was premenstrual — damn it, I was smack-in-the-middle menstrual, it wasn’t that I was sad about not being pregnant. I was hysterical with relief and awash with lady hormones, right? We had two more “accidents” after that. Something unsaid was happening, something neither of us could dare utter to each other, or to ourselves. I caught myself sneaking onto pregnancy forums; I learned acronyms for ridiculous things like BFN (Big Fat Negative in a HPT [Home Pregnancy Test]), BD (Baby Dancing = sex), and so many more.

If my partner came near me I’d switch the web page back to the Brooklyn Vegan blog or McSweeny’s. I wiped the browser history and emptied the cache. It was as if I was trawling porn sites and had to cover my tracks. After about three months of these occasional “accidents” which led to agonising two-week waits (2WW for all you TTC ladies out there) to see if we’d had an “accident,” the situation came to a head.

We were in the bathroom and I’d just “peed on a stick” and stared deeply into the little window faced with what was clearly a very solitary pink line. I looked up at him and said, “Nope” in my best “whatever” voice. I tried to smile, but my lips wobbled. I was scared I’d given myself away until he said, “I’m sad, too,” and that was it. There was some slobbering, hugging and tears that came in a kind of embarrassing release. My secret was out: I wanted a baby.

I wanted it bad. I still want it bad and I hope that it happens. I have to admit it now, without shame: I want a baby. I’m going back on thirty-two years of robust assertions that I was never going to be a mum, that it “just isn’t me,” that “I just don’t have those feelings.” I feel like I’m betraying my child-free sisters and I am very sorry. It snuck up on me and blind-sided me. If I’d seen it coming I might have managed to dodge it.

But here I am, yearning to be an Offbeat Mama. I’m longing to see what happens to the daisies tattooed on my belly, I want to cycle to class with a big belly in my lap. I want to see my beloved with his baby swaddled in a sling on his chest, I want to see him asleep with our baby beside him, I want to kiss that baby’s hair, in that spot at the back of the head where all babies are just so sweet. I want to see that baby grow, I want to hear it form words with its little mouth, I want to save its drawings in diaries and folders, I want to take it to piano lessons and take it swimming in the sea and hear its laughter rise into the sky like a handful of balloons set loose.

Comments on I thought I didn’t want to have a kid… until I realized I do

  1. This was me over the past year. Never wanted children.. still don’t much like children, but I found myself wanting my (and my spouse) child. Now I am a 34 week pregnant 34 year old. I am terrified and couldn’t be happier. We grow, sometimes we change our minds. Good luck!

  2. I had a double salpingectomy (removal of both fallopian tubes) for two reasons.
    1. I had a substantial amount of endometriosis on my fallopian tubes along with a golf ball size cyst on the part of my ovary that is very close to the fallopian tube.
    2. I didn’t want to be a mother. I wanted to be permanently childfree

    I was in a relationship with a guy for about 5 months prior to my surgery/sterilization. I had asked him on our second or third date where he stood in regards to wanting a family. He didn’t flat out state “I want kids”, it was more beating around the bush and came across as he would like them, but it wasn’t a definite “yes!”. I don’t know if I was just naive, or if at the time I truly thought he could go one way or the other and be completely content as a father, or not. I had mentioned that I had no desire to have children. And … that was that. We had continued dating and I had received an appointment for my surgery and decided to go ahead with it in July 2017. We had discussed that I was undergoing the surgery, and he briefly said in passing that I should think about “freezing my eggs”. I never considered doing it, because I would still be producing eggs, that never stops when you remove your fallopian tubes.

    We continued dating past my surgery and had been together about 10 months when in November 2017 we had a very deep, intense talk about the future, our wants, and desires out of life. He had told me that he for sure wanted to have kids and always had, and I still had my fears and insecurities about becoming a mother. It had always terrified me to think about being a mother. I was very disconnected with a lot of people when it came to emotions, and I could never imagine being happy becoming pregnant, and raising a child. I was so happy with my career that I worked so hard for, I was in my dream job! I had just bought a house a few years back, was off travelling when my heart desired and spending my money how I wanted, when I wanted.
    Shortly after that talk is when all of the little bickering and arguments started in our relationship. They lasted for 3 months and then we had decided to call it quits. We just weren’t happy with the arguments and we were no longer intimate and weren’t making time for each other.

    Since we sat down and had that conversation in November, I cannot stop thinking about how much my mind has begun shifting from childfree to wanting to have a family. It happened so quickly and hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m now thinking about it 24/7. I think about how I believe I made a huge mistake in going forward with my surgery, and how much I can picture my future with a baby – with him. I haven’t said anything to him because I was just SO sure I wanted be childfree, and I’m extremely embarrassed to bring it up to him. I’m embarrassed how strong I stood my ground on the topic and how much I have changed my mind, and so quickly. I feel like those around me who know how I felt before won’t “believe” me, and will think it’s just a phase, that I’m reeling from the loss of my significant other.

    The thing for me that I keep reflecting on is that I never met anyone I trusted enough to make that leap of faith with in my past relationships. I never felt confident enough in myself take that jump, with anyone … but him. This man came into my life and he made me question everything I thought I wanted.

    I’m afraid that the bickering and little arguments we had for the 3 months might have stemmed from more than the baby talk, but I don’t know. I never asked and I just assumed it was the baby talk that was causing it. Should I tell him how I’m feeling? Where I stand? What’s been going through my mind for 3 months? Or do I just leave it alone and move on? I am absolutely torn.

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