I hate your kids. They are dirty and loud and annoying and not as cute as you think they are.
So really, is it a surprise I didn’t want one of those of my own? I mean, I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. The mecca of fertility and birth rates. If I ever felt the need to have a kid there are thirty people who would totally just loan me one of their ten. My entire life I have watched women, friends, family members, co-workers spawn without a single heart string being pulled. I just understood I was not the sort of woman who had those maternal tendencies. Even babysitting I was more of the “hands off” sort that played games hard and rough just so the kids would shut up earlier and fall asleep faster. I wrote articles, blog posts and did research on DINK (Double Income No Kids) lifestyle. I dumped boyfriends who wanted to have “families young” . My sweet husband, from a family of seven himself, was on-board for whatever I wanted, as long as we were happy. And after years of hard work, therapy and lots of vacations, we are.
Then, my lifelong friend, my god-sister, my lifemate in BFFness, had her son, Easton. He was born on what for me in Utah was a cold freezing evening and for her in Virginia, was a nice Spring night. My husband and I waited by our cell phones for pictures of our soon-to-be-born-god-son. I was so happy for her, but felt nothing maternal in myself, no deep heart-felt longing to parent alongside her. Then the first picture of Easton flashed on my cell screen. Naked, long and slimey, a tiny cap on his little head, his long fingers stretched out wide; he was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. No womb ache or life changing music from on high happened, I simply understood looking at his little face that if I loved this tiny person, so far away, not even my own this much, then I had to experience what it felt like to love someone even more. It is my belief we get one life and after this there is no more and if that is my truth than I must honour it and believe being a parent (especially when blessed with a life-partner as kickass as mine) is not something we’re “supposed” to do but something we “get” to do if we feel ready and so inclined.
Imagine my surprise months and months later when I revealed this thought (that still felt weird to me) to my husband and noticed something I didn’t expect flash across his features: pure relief and happiness, he didn’t hesitate to agree.
I finished my last pack of birth control last week. Don’t get me wrong, I still hate your kids, but I’m going to love the hell out of my own, even if they aren’t as cute as I think they are.
Read more from Emily Mangelson on her blog.
feature image via Anne Taintor.