It’s strange, but lately I’ve been trying on the idea of remaining childless, and it’s not terribly impossible. Very much undesired and uncomfortable yes, but not impossible.
I can only feel this option out after I eliminate all peripheral fears and concerns about family and babies, and just isolate REPRODUCTION. For example, if I could be guaranteed that I’d never be alone at holidays, would be exceptionally well cared for and happy in my old age, would never have to explain to a single person why we weren’t having kids, etc., would I be ok with not having children?
The answer is I might be just fine. Marriage would be a little more straight-forward and perhaps easier to navigate. We’d have so much more money and so much more freedom. No poorly-behaved kids with bad attitudes in our immaculate home! I might return to my beloved previous career of Public Accounting, which I left because I didn’t want to work the 60 hr work weeks while rearing the baby I was trying to conceive. Life would go on, and I remind myself the inevitable moments of regret and disappointment would be dealt with day-to-day, and not totally consume or dictate my years on this earth. I’d be ok.
It’s a risk-and-reward equation. If we stick our necks out with IVF and child-rearing, I know we’ll be rewarded. But could not having children also be a great risk ready to birth a greater reward? Could choosing Plan B and taking the unexpected, unanticipated life course perhaps be the more courageous choice?
Today, maybe so. If I lived in a vacuum, even more so. Call it an upward mood swing, hormones, whatever, I’ll willingly try on the idea.
I still have the overwhelming fear that I’d regret it later on. I do not live in a vacuum, and would constantly hear the question “when are you having kids?” and see everyone else around me do it. Leah would be next, and I fear the strength required to stick to my resolve and intentional childfree good attitude while my sister gets pregnant and has babies of her own.
Ryan is currently doing all he can to avoid conversations about our Big Decision. I’m hoping it’s mulling over in his brain, consciously or not, and the truth of his heart will surface. While we are suspended in this balance, I’ll try on the idea.