In my life, I have wished for a million things, I have dreamt a thousand dreams; I have pursued hundreds of passions and goals and yet, never for a serious minute in all of my fantastic 30 plus years have I wished to have a child.
That’s me. I must be strange. I must be seriously out of the ordinary. I must be an aberration to the norm. Yet, I am perfectly normal. I am awfully feminine. I love all things girlish. I love traditions. I am crazy about my husband. I have a great relationship with my family. I had a happy childhood. I have cried at every single movie to ever involve a child and parent tragedy. I adore little baby animals. I like most children and I fall in love with a few. I have all the usual desires and needs of a woman – except the desire to mother a child.
This is a topic I have long wished to write or talk about and yet serious hesitation has held me back – and even now it is shaking me a tad bit. A topic so sensitive, so powerful, so intense, that it has a crippling effect on my speech when among others. I have longed to ask my friends, my own family or even strangers why they chose (if they indeed did choose) to have children. Yet I always find it to be such a personal invasion of privacy. Perhaps, I am afraid that they might think I am questioning their choice whereas I am simply questioning the choice: to have or not to have children.
Well, I have held my silence long enough, especially when asked about my own intent to procreate. Why else run a blog with intelligent, wonderful, devoted readers such as you if I cannot ask for your thoughts, your feelings, and your opinions to help me understand some of the reasons behind life’s ultimate choice: To have or not to have children.
This is a post where I especially welcome it if you disagree with me on every point, if you give me new perspectives to consider and if you impart your thoughts openly to help me better understand the human behavior and reasoning on the topic.
The Biology of It All
I find the biology – or division of labor if you will – to be ludicrously unfair when it comes to reproduction; this one is not an opinion, it is a fact and if there is a God, He has a wicked sense of humor. The joke of course is on the female. Just when I feel I am beginning to awaken and to live, I am reaching the end of my healthy age to reproduce (but my husband is good to go for another two decades). Just as I am dancing on the edges of my reason for existence and my purpose on this earth, my biological clock is ticking the worst sounding alarm on the planet in my ears and seriously disturbing my focus. I feel younger than I ever did in my 20s and the irony of it all is that I am soon too old to mother a healthy child. This is all not to mention that physically, psychologically, and physiologically, a woman is affected in ways that are beyond comparison to a man when having a biological baby.
Seriously, is that the best deal Mother Nature could negotiate for us? I love my body as it is and have huge hesitation to go for this thrill ride. I know we have advancements in medicine and technology but I am terrified of all the sacrifices and petrified of not making it through the labor alive. These are serious fears of an intelligent and educated woman.
How do you convince yourself not to fear something, which your whole being warns you against? How can you think of it as a natural phenomena when in all logic and rationale, it sounds abnormal and monumental? How do you embrace these challenges and calm your fears?
Fulfillment and Pursuit of Happiness
The funny thing about the pursuit of happiness is its absence in some cultures. In the Iranian culture especially, the pursuit of wealth, fame, social standing, education, and popularity are hugely prevalent but the pursuit of individual happiness has never been a subject of importance – or rather, relevance. A question so fundamental to our fulfillment, finding that which makes us happy, is a missing element from my culture. It is simply awkward and irrelevant to ask whether children even compliment a person’s state of happiness and fulfillment in life and whether there are paths to true happiness without them.
Living consciously means making conscious choices in life. For me, fulfillment comes from within the depths of my heart, from the pursuits of my mind, from my sanctum of my soul. It comes from a natural desire to be in a state of happiness and peace. The only way to know your own happiness is to know your unhappiness; I have known some stages of unhappiness so the pursuit of happiness has been even more strongly at the core of my life.
We are experts at our own happiness. No one else can claim expertise at what makes us happy. I know mine, I believe it, and I live it daily. I feel completely fulfilled with my lifestyle and my existence. No part of my current happiness yet revolves remotely around the addition of a child into my life.
Use Your Inner Powers
Bonus: 21-Step Confidence Building Series
Is there a greater reason for living? Is having a child a fulfillment beyond the happiness I live daily? Is that sense of fulfillment guaranteed to fill the hearts of everyone, no matter what shape or form that heart may be? And what if that heart is already full and if the current state of happiness is the true fulfillment ever known to that heart?
Some of these are impossible questions to answer because how do you know what you cannot know. Just as you can never know a life with children unless you have them, you will never know what your life would have been without children if you had opted out. Which is why it’s impossible to measure regrets in either scenario.
The Things that Shall be No More
Life as we know it will vanish into thin air and unknown and uncertainty will take its place, for better or for worse. If you are naïve about this, just watch the evolution of change in lifestyle of new parents who bravely embrace this new life and gladly put aside the old one. I envy their bravery but cannot comprehend it.
There is my blog, my yoga, my photography and my pursuits in writing. There is my cycling, my traveling the world, my passion for languages, my plans to read a thousand books, my love of Argentine tango and the arts. There is my burning desire to create something of value for others and a mission to help others in ways I know I can. There are dreams, goals and aspirations tied to each of these pursuits – then there are the yet-to-be-explored projects and plans for many uncharted territories.
How would a child mold into this life? How did it mold into yours? Do all of your pursuits seem irrelevant or less important? Would mine feel that way too if I opted in?
Give up Happiness for Happiness?
There are some lives, which can integrate a child well into the lifestyle. There are others, which have to change drastically. Mine, I would have to re-create from scratch altogether. Yet I see people from all walks of life, all circumstances and cultures, all levels of standing in society, give up life as they know it to welcome children. In all practicality, I would be giving up a life of fulfillment as I know it for a life that is unknown and filled with promises of fulfillment.
What reason and rationale can compel you to give it up the current state of happiness for a future state, one being radically different from the other? What reasons are there for embracing the unknowns of having a child, which seem to outweigh these other sources of your adult-life happiness?
Leaving a Legacy Behind
Perhaps the most common reason for having children is to leave behind a legacy, a part of you that continues into this world long after you are gone.
I think some of the greatest legacies in our world history have come to us from lonesome thinkers, artists, poets, playwrights, leaders, scientists, creators, actors, and writers. People who have graced us with their timeless prose, with their leadership into battle to claim freedom of nations, with their incredible art, with their fantastic discoveries, with their gifts to this world which have yet to stop giving.
These are the legacies to celebrate every day. Many, many of these brilliant minds did not have children yet they left their indelible mark in this world. Would they have been able to achieve their greatest accomplishments had they had children especially in the hardships of the decades and centuries past? We shall never know.
Would you be able to leave a different kind of legacy if you opt out of having children? Would I? What if we decided to help improve the lives of a hundred children in this world instead of bringing one more to the world? What if we created a haven of comfort and education for other lives rather than introducing new life? Is that a legacy worth celebrating and remembering?
Perhaps yes, perhaps no. There is no easy answer but my point is this: there are sacrifices for every choice we make in life and my only aim is to make a conscious and honest choice when it comes to the ultimate decisions which forever change the course of my life.
What do you think? That wrapped in 17 other questions (in red) throughout the post. If there is one post in which you share your thoughts, let it be this one. If there is one time my silent lurkers come to life, let it be on this topic.