The closest I’ve come to wanting kids was last year when I was getting a haircut.
Rebecca, my stylist, was pregnant with her second child, and all the stylists were hanging around picking boy names. Rebecca and her partner had already chosen the name “Tula” if the baby was a girl. They were still uncertain about boy names.
The conversation was sheer joy. The delight was palpable among these hip women and artsy gay men. Babies on the brain. A million possible names. People touching Rebecca’s stomach. Everyone laughing with excitement.
Suddenly outta nowhere!
I wanted a baby!
I wanted that kind of attention from people. I wanted to feel the excitement of all that possibility! I wanted people to be excited about what to call my kid.
(Let’s face it. Not many people get excited about what you’ll name your next CD.)
Mostly, I wanted a daughter. And I wanted to name her “Tula.”
I began to play with the name. I imagined cute clothes for my hip artist daughter, Tula. I left the salon in a state of near hysteria. I called my friend Joy and left her a 10-minute message about how “Ohmigod what if I never have a girl named Tula? Is it possible that I’m making a huge mistake here?” (I think Joy still has that message saved for future use.)
I have friends who don’t have children and who never have moments like this one. They simply love their choice to not have children.
I, on the other hand, do have occasional moments of doubt. Usually these moments are superficial, and have less to do with me wanting to be a mother, and more to do with me getting approval and attention.
When it comes down to it, I find that I want to want to have kids. I just don’t ever hear that deeper calling.
The truth is that my creative career has been my focus. I love what I do. I grow from what I do. I am of service in what I do. Just like those reasons to have kids in the first post, this path I’ve chosen teaches me about unconditional love, present moment awareness, enlightenment and healing. No, it won’t come to visit me in the nursing home. But then again, Tula wouldn’t either. Let’s face it. She’d be too busy in her world travels to think of the mom who raised her to be so independent!
(Besides, I’m planning to spontaneously combust before a nursing home is necessary.)
The Hardest Parts about Not Having Kids
The requests I’ve received to write this series of posts have come from women who are in the midst of making their own choices about children.
So, here’s the deal. There are great things about both choices. And there are hard things about both choices.
Here are some of the bad things – from the profound to the petty – about not having kids.
1 – Your “Social Role” isn’t easily defined.
This has been huge for me.
When you don’t have children (and you’re a woman), you have to dig a little deeper for a social place and a purpose – which is a common quest for women in their 30’s and 40’s, when that nurturing energy kicks in. I’m lucky to live in a town where there are lots of women who chose not to have children – so I have models on this path!
I once heard medical-intuitive Caroline Myss talk about breast cancer. She described seeing it in some women who chose not to have kids but who never dealt with their social role and their innate need to nurture and create a purpose in life.
I believe that we are placed on this planet to serve. I believe this is our purpose. This is a very real energy. When women don’t have kids, they need to dig a little deeper for their calling and their “place.” (I think women can do this even when they do have kids, too!)
2 – The approval from older women/other women.
I was among a circle of women recently. All mothers. They all agreed that the approval and crooning of older women is a huge perk when you’re a new mom. Now, I know this can seem like a petty thing to crave. (After all, people applaud me every time I show up for my job – isn’t that enough?) But there is the slightest bit of sadness that I won’t ever experience the attention a woman gets when she’s pregnant or with young kids. Women supporting women is quite a powerful thing – and it feels good.
Note: The women in this circle who had older children said that when your children grow up, you find yourself missing all that cool attention you had when they were babies!
So, maybe the gist is that we all just need lots of support and love no matter what we’re doing in our lives!
3 – Not getting the good parking spaces.
I will never get to park in those “Stork Parking for Pregnant Moms and all their Cute Little Kids” parking spaces that are popping up all over the place.
(I happen to think there should be parking for “Women who aren’t moms who are having one of those days when they’d really like a good parking space.” So far, I haven’t seen one of these signs.)
4 – Getting angry emails from parents who read my posts about Courage
They always say things like, “Easy for you to say! You wouldn’t feel that way about taking chances if you had a few kids!”
5 – Fewer natural connections with women my age
Women who have kids talk with other women who have kids. They talk about their kids. This is natural and normal.
I am blessed to have the best friends a girl could have, for sure. And I notice that when I am talking with, say, a high school friend I haven’t seen in many years, the conversation is almost always about her kids.
I can listen and laugh and take part because the kid thing is a universal topic of conversation that any woman understands. However, the choice to not have kids and be an artist and a ‘pioneer’ isn’t a universal topic. So it’s a little more challenging to find that common ground on my end!
Again, I treasure the friendships I do have. (I also hire my fair share of coaches and mentors who support me, and help keep me on track and moving in a positive direction. This is huge.)
Now, obviously none of these items is painful enough or motivational enough to make me breed.
After all, let’s say Tula turns 9 and asks, “Mom, why did you decide to have me?”
I’d like for my answer to be more profound than: “Well, dear, I wanted some random angry emailers to like me, and I was tired of not getting the good parking spaces.”
The Best Parts about Not Having Kids
There are many days when I’m grateful that I don’t have children. I can either criticize myself for creating a life that is so perfectly designed for me and my quirkiness. (The old struggle-addicted part of me will occasionally do this.) Or I can marvel that my soul has led me to design a life that is peaceful and creative and adventurous all at once.
Here are the best parts about not having kids…
1 – No one tells me how to live my life or raise my dog.
2 – I get lots of silent time.
3 – I have lots of free time.
4 – I can travel whenever I want.
5 – I don’t have to re-live high school by watching my daughter go through it.
(This is enough to make me do a dance.)
6 – I learn to trust my choices even when they aren’t the social norm.
7 – I get to be the cool aunt to my nieces, and they get to be super-special!
8 – I can have occasional emotional days and not wonder if my dog will need therapy someday because of them.
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