i'm thinking a lot about children/parenthood lately. but not in the way that one might expect a happily married-for-four-years 20-something to think. at least not someone in that position in this part of the country ;).
kids scare me. a. lot. while so many young women have images of smiling faces, pudgy cheeks, and tiny clothes, i have visions of toddlers throwing tantrums, kids talking back, annoying pre-teens, and obnoxiously terrifying teenagers. a husband stressed out from working two jobs to support our family so i can stay home b/c the doctor has said that i can't work and have kids. my house more of a mess than it already is b/c i don't have the energy or desire to do anything other than collapse after the kids are in bed. marital tension b/c we both feel that we are pulling more than our share of the weight in our respective areas--him financially and me around the house and with the kids. i picture fights over how to raise the kids, arguments with the kids over boundaries we set, trying to figure out how to balance my husband's tech-savvy with my desire to keep the kids from having cell phones and laptops and tvs in their rooms. how to shelter the kids from the big bad world enough but not too much. how to discipline? how to do school? how to afford college? what about dating? what about driving? i see it as work. work that does not end. ever. because once that baby comes out, you are responsible for a little person who has thoughts and feelings and needs and desires and wants and a sinful nature that is automatically going to drive this little one to do the wrong thing. and all this is the norm in a happy healthy family! my head hurts just thinking about it.
i know that those things are not all that parenthood is about--if they were people would have stopped a long time ago! i know that there is love and joy and fun times and happy memories and pride in seeing your child grow and accomplish, but right now i can't escape the fear. and i just don't understand why. it's not like i'm a career-driven woman. i mean, i'm practically retiring at the age of 26 due to health problems! i know that a huge part of it is because of those health problems. will i ever be able to be the mom that i imagined with limitations that i may have now? how will i possibly have enough energy to care for my children and husband when i currently end up stuck in bed after too much work or too little sleep? and i did imagine myself as a mother--that is honestly the only thing that i ever wanted in life since childhood. my mom stayed home with us and i wanted to do the exact same thing since i was a little girl. i loved playing house and with baby dolls and in the kitchen. i spent a huge part of my youth babysitting and working childcare and of course my "grown up" job is in a pediatric office. it just makes sense for me. and i always take on a mothering roll with people that i love. whether it be carrying my giant "mom purse" to be sure i am prepared for any situation, to stocking medicine and snacks in my desk to take care of my coworkers. though i have no children i am a mother at heart.
so i don't get why i don't want kids. i am surrounded by friends who already have kids or who are currently pregnant and even several who are starting the adoption process or becoming foster parents--they all want this so much, even the ones who never seemed that maternal, but i am absolutely terrified! i don't get it. i feel like there is something wrong with me. i even went so far as to google "why don't i want children?" just to try to make sense of it...and some good reasons came up. things like being worried about passing on genetic/health conditions (yep, that's one); concern over not being ready/husband not being ready (that is true too...i think hubs will be a great father but i do anticipate future struggles--his picky eating habits rubbing off on the kids, me ending up overwhelmed by motherhood + housework while he works so hard...); being afraid (duh--that's what we're talking about here!) but other things like being career driven & not liking kids just don't fit me at all. but obviously i should be looking to the Lord for answers here rather than Google. it's just confusing to me and i want some reason why i am at such a different place than i expected to be.
i know i'm still young and have plenty of time to make these decisions, and thankfully hubs feels the same about it so it isn't an issue of pressure from either of us. but i do feel pressure. people think "it's time." we've been married for 4 years, together for 8, why would we need any more time for just the two of us? especially when we're done with school and settled down with a house and all that. i don't feel like i have any friends in this situation b/c it seems like the couples that i know who don't have kids are trying to get pregnant/adopt/foster parent... and i'm just running screaming away from children. and i like our life. i like the freedom that we have to pursue our passions. i like that my time is my own. and maybe that sounds (or is) selfish, but that is the life we have now. but it gets lonely being in this position. people don't understand why we would choose this, even if it is just a choice for now.
but i guess that is all it has to be. our choice for now. i'll let you know if it changes.