Let's Talk: Having Children
Something that has been on my mind, almost daily for the last two years is the thought of having children. I'm getting closer and closer to 30 and that is generally the time where people start to get married and have children. And getting married is something that I could do tomorrow and not think twice about it but the thought of having children terrifies me. But to say that out loud sounds awful [in my mind], there is a lot of pressure to have a family and when people say that perhaps that isn't for them it's always generally met with the same answer. It's something that I don't find is spoken about enough and not wanting children is just as normal as wanting them but we need more of a conversation about it.
what is expected of us
For a long time, most people just stuck to what was expected of them and fed to us through societal norms. And it's not until now that there has been a big kickback where people push against what society expects and do what they want, which is so important. For most of my life, I always believed that my twenties were going to pan out a certain way. Like I was going to be married by the time I was 25, own a house and then be ready for children at around 26. And I think like most people I quickly realised that just isn't how life works, for some it does but for most of us it doesn't. There is no right or wrong way to go through life and everyone should do what feels right for them and go down their own path rather than trying to run alongside everyone else.
the "right" time
Right now I feel like I'm waiting for this magical moment where I will suddenly feel ready for children and everything will slot into place. And I know that moment doesn't happen, everyone always says there is never a right time and you never feel truly ready. But my main thought is that even if there isn't this monumental moment of realisation. Surely I will feel a little less terrified than I do now? Because when I think of having children, I instantly panic and don't feel like I'm mentally ready in the slightest and the crazy anxious over-thinking part of my brain kicks in. I'm not a really maternal person, some people are and that shines through when they're around children and I feel like I'm missing that. Maybe it's because I've never spent loads of time around them like most people do through family members etc. I've not got that maternal instinct with children, animals, however, is a different manner. Whenever I've made a big life change like moving in with my boyfriend and getting a puppy, I felt ready. My gut told me it was ready and I never thought twice about it so I guess that is what I'm waiting for.
what the world will be like
We all see those scary statistics that are shoved at us constantly and although it's easy to want to bury our heads in the sand and pretend it's not happening. Because it is and we can no longer ignore the facts like they won't affect us because they will. Part of the reason that I worry whether it's right for me to bring children into the world or not is because of what the world will be like for them to grow up in. Although I know the world isn't going to end anytime soon, things aren't exactly amazing and change does need to happen. If this blistering summer has taught us anything it's that climate change is serious and it's scary when it's something that you can see happening right before you.
Saying I'm selfish makes me feel like an awful person and the word selfish has terrible connotations. But if there is ever a time to be selfish I think it's now, generally I only have myself to worry about day to day and the dogs of course. And obviously, I have to think about my boyfriend but as he's a grown adult he's capable of looking after himself. I like that I can use my time as my please and be selfish with what I want to do and I don't think that's a terrible thing for anybody to want. We always have to bear other people in mind and be mindful that we're not causing anyone else harm, that's second nature to the vast majority of people. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't want put ourselves first and be discouraged to do so because it seems selfish. Earlier in my twenties, my life completely changed when I was spending most of my week in the hospital and it taught me how valuable time is and how important it is to do the things that you want to do as you never know when that choice might get taken away from you. And I know it's a big contributing factor to me not being sure about having children.
Obviously, I'm more than aware that the dogs are not children but they are a big part of our family and just as equal as we are [although we try really hard not to humanise them too much]. And together they take up a huge amount of time and I want to give them that time, I don't like the idea of bringing an animal into your home and thinking nothing has to change because it does. Our favourite thing to do is to be with the dogs, whether that's walking them or all being sat on the sofa together and I know that once a child comes into the house we will no longer be able to dedicate such a huge amount of time to them. I realise some people might be reading this, thinking it's ridiculous but it's something that I take really seriously. Although they'll both be older if and when we have a child and won't need so much attention the thought of them feeling like they're not as important or not getting exactly what they need in life breaks my heart.
NOT HAVING MY MUM AROUND
Having lost my mum 9 years ago it has certainly changed and shaped my life in more ways than I ever thought. Obviously, it's going to affect you but one thing I never thought it would do was change my mind about having children. Because when I was younger I was dead set I wanted to have a family and I was once one of those people who couldn't understand why someone wouldn't want children. But when my mum passed away, things definitely shifted and I can't help but think maybe the reason why I am so scared is that she's not around to guide me through it. Every new mother has a never-ending list of fears but in most cases, they're able to turn to their mother and ask for advice and I won't be able to do that. I am fortunate enough to have a great relationship with my boyfriends mum but there is nothing like being able to ask your mum a question, especially if it's an intimate one.