Since getting married (oh, who am I kidding, since before getting married), people have started asking me how many kids I want. I answer truthfully, somewhere between zero to two. You see, my husband and I do not know if we want to have kids.
It seems like, among my friends, everyone is pretty confident that they either do or do not want children. I have waffled on the subject my entire life. I have landed on being honest with myself… I really don’t know.
It’s not as if the decision needs to be made today, but it can be a bit disconcerting to be so ambivalent about something so major, especially when it seems like everyone else has the answer.
On the one hand, I love my friend’s kids. When I see my husband interact with children, it’s adorable and makes me happy. We are both awesome people. I think we would be awesome parents. There is a strong part of me that wants to meet that awesome kid we’d raise together.
On the other hand, raising a child is a terrifying thought. The thought of dealing with a crying or sick child; the thought of the sleep-deprivation; the thought of having to make the right decisions for a tiny person who is totally reliant on me and my husband… How can I just say “Yes, these are all things I can handle”? I know the baby phase passes, but every phase brings new challenges. And I’m fairly certain there will be some that we can’t quite handle. Even if I manage to do things mostly right by my kid, there are no guarantees.
I want to meet the awesome kid we could have, but I also want to travel. I want to buy adorable baby clothes, but I also want to have the ability to selfishly spend my money on me. I want to cuddle a kid to sleep, but I want to sleep in.
My husband has told me he doesn’t think we can make the wrong decision. At first I thought, how can there not be a wrong decision? It’s a huge decision! There must be a right answer and a wrong answer for us. It’s almost scary to think that there isn’t a right and wrong here for us. The more I think about it, the more I think he’s right.
I think we can choose either path and still live lives full of joy and happiness, and of course sadness, and maybe a twinge of regret for the path we didn’t choose. If I look back years from now over my life and feel a smidge of regret one way or the other, that won’t mean we chose wrong. I will just be wondering about what might have been.
We’ve shared plenty of child-free perspectives from folks who KNOW they don’t want to have kids, but what about those of us who just aren’t sure?