Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Baby Rabies

The prospect of updating this blog has become very loaded, but I'm at a point lately where I really need to vent about this and I'm needing an outlet desperately.

I've got the baby rabies. Oh, it's not so bad. I know it's my biological clock and I have no desire to have a child because my mind knows what's involved, but I'm at a point right now where I'm actively fighting against my biological urges.

So what brought this on? Well, for starters, my husband and I bought a house. A dream house, to be exact, with tons of space, two fully loaded entertaining rooms and a kitchen that was designed by the empty-nester owners and has proven to be outstanding for entertaining. It's amazing.

Also, one of my best friends is expecting, which means I'm spending a lot of time looking at goodies to buy, hearing about her pregnancy (in a good way — she's been great about it all)… babies are on my mind a lot.

And, lastly and most pressing, it seems, is the expiration of my IUD. I'm faced with needing to either get a new IUD in February. That, or my husband as offered to get a vasectomy. Talk of the vasectomy makes me twitch in a way I never thought possible.

Talking about the baby rabies is something that's taboo among the childfree. We're conditioned to never ever mention that our bodies are sometimes in conflict with our minds, and it's a strange and annoying place to be. My heart and mind know that I don't want to raise a child for all the reasons I've listed a thousand times over. I do not want this for myself. And yet the idea of my husband getting a vasectomy and cutting off that possibility entirely (because right now we're talking about biological children) makes my stomach twitch awkwardly.

The conflict is troubling in a way that's hard to explain. I hate the idea of being pregnant, and suddenly I find myself jealous of my friend's experience. When I look at the prospect of raising a child, especially a baby, it sounds dreadful. And yet I have a physical reaction when my husband and I talk about him getting a vasectomy. I feel a deep, internal sadness that's complete contradiction with the relief I feel at the thought of not having to worry about being pregnant ever again.

I also hate that I can't talk about it without getting "I told you so" looks or commentary, when my mind isn't actually changing. I feel defensive, and worse I feel defensive against myself. It's incredibly frustrating, but it feels really good to just talk about it.

13 comments:

sara star said...

Why not just get another IUD and then you won't have anything permanent and you won't feel "wrong" about it. Nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I get that. Even though I have really clear reasons for not wanting a child, occasionally there is a 'pang,' a twinge, a sadness - especially when someone I care about is enjoying one of the precious bright moments of parenting. These days I'm able to hold that, see it, without getting caught up in whether it means something bigger I'm not supposed to ignore (i.e. that I should be pregnant). It used to feel as though it must be evidence that I was making the wrong choice and I've have to evaluate my whole childfree choice all over again. The challenge is in discriminating between whether it is something to be acted upon. We are taught not to like ambivalence or uncertainty, even when it is a passing thing. It can be a freeing thing just to allow yourself to enjoy those moments of wondering, without evaluating them. Congrats on your new home btw, and it's lovely to see you blogging again.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your site today and was delighted to not only find it, but find out that you were just outside Chicago yourself.

I read your post, and have a lot of catching up to do on your site, but thought I could say hello and offer my prospective.

I JUST got a vasectomy. Really, like a week and a half ago. I have no children.

In the years, then months, and then weeks and days leading up to my appointment last week I had to think about our (ultimately my) decision not to have kids.

Years ago I thought I was destined to have kids, I had never even thought about not having them. When the idea was presented to me, I almost reeled back a bit. I had been raised to have Grandchildren for my mother damnit!... wait...

It was then I realized I had been raised to believe I was supposed to have kids. It completely changed everything for me, I have a feeling when I catch up on your blog will see similar themes from you or your readers.

After I made the 'official' decision that I was not going to have children, I stored the decision away in my head and we practiced 'safe' policies.

In the last year or two I had been thinking and talking more and more about having a vasectomy. An incident where a friend got a woman pregnant on accident and seeing what a SECOND pregnancy was doing to some friends and their marriage and lives I was finally able to put away that part of me that wasn't yet able to make the leap to a word like Sterilization...

That being said, even until the day of, I still had that small part of me that said be 'do I need to'? "could I want to'? 'Am I sure of making this as a FINAL decision'?

Every time I had one of those moments where nature betrayed me, I would find myself presented with another reason as to why I had made my decision that I did, like a screaming child, or a parent unable to make plans because they couldn't get a sitter, or thinking about traveling, yada, yada, yada... I was easily able to reaffirm those thoughts and decisions.

Not surprisingly, now that the procedure is over, I find myself no longer worried about those things. Either in the biological or the plain logical ways. I find myself unburdened from the worry that 'what if' came about, unplanned or otherwise and I find myself finally sitting down and actually having to prioritize all the things I want to do in life.

I doubt that I have seen the last of the urge. It exists in all of us, just some of us to a much lesser degree obviously. I just know that it's easier than ever to turn it off now.

Being a guy I can only sympathize with you on what your feeling and share my experience. Good luck, I look forward to reading your blog.

Veronica said...

This was really amazing reading this comment from a man. I haven't come across such a personal child free experience from a man before so thank you for your contribution to the rest of us.

My mother balks at the idea of not having six grand children from my partner and I, but it is this assuming, grandmother hen attitude that puts us off on top of our initial childbearing concerns.

Add to the fact that my other mother (nature) will give me cancer if I don't comply and a childless lifestyle seems rejected by both society and nature.

My personal comfort is this: it would be truly selfish to bring in new life based on someone else's need, as well as increasing the suffocating population crisis with no personal love of the act of childbirth motivating me.

With all the emotional trials and hormonal pulls, the outcome - childless or not - must be one honestly made.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I have made another "minority" reproductive choice: I've chosen to have only one child, at least biologically (I'm theoretically open to adoption when my daughter is older). Yet sometimes I do get the urge to give birth again. It happens pretty rarely, and I know I most likely wouldn't act on those rare twinges, but I would be lying to say they never come up once in a blue moon.

About the "you'll change your mind" thing, well, I did change my mind: at one time I thought I would have four children, then two, and now I'm down to one. (Note: I'm talking about biological children here.) People do change their minds, but we shouldn't presume they will always do so. Ninety-nine percent chance I won't. Right now I think the only circumstance in which I'd have another bio child is if I were in another relationship and wanted to bring a child into that.

By the way, I'm using an IUD as well. I did consider a tubal ligation, but I thought just in the 1% possibility I do change my mind, I decided not to go through with it. And I never like to close my options to anything entirely. So just to give yourself some piece of mind, you might wish to simply continue your IUD.

Finally, if you do change your mind and have children, you'll know you're doing so because that's something you really want and not because you feel pressure from society or others around you.

CT said...

I just wanted to thank you for writing this blog. I'm a 28 year old woman married to a 28 year old man for about 6 months, and we've been together for 9 years. For about 8 of those 9 years, we've been pretty damn sure that we do not want to have children. So far I haven't come across anyone in my life who shares this desire (err...indesire) with me - I mean, unless I do know someone who has chosen a childfree life and he/she just hasn't "come out" yet. Especially now that we're married, I've really been craving some support, and I've gotten quite a bit of it by reading your entries.

What complicates my decision to be childfree is that I don't have any siblings, and my parents have their hearts set on grandchildren.

So thank you again for sharing your thoughts. It's really helping me so much to read this. I've been toying with the idea of starting my own blog one of these days. Hoping to come across more people in my life who understand and accept my husband and me.

a work in progress said...

I am almost 38 and surrounded by (much) younger girlfriends having babies...
I've never really seen myself as a mother, but i have to confess to battling some severe baby rabies over the past year.

As my parents only living child (my brother died 15 yrs ago) I feel the weight of lineage upon me, and sometimes panic about being *old and alone* but these are not reason enough for ME to have a child. They are socially conditioned reasons.

My biggest fear is regretting childlessness, though I have a strong suspicion that it has never really been a *choice* for me to make...

I read your more recent post and I am in agreement with you vis a vis IVF and other such interventions. Your comments regarding caring for a disabled child also interested me - I am studying philosophy, with a strong emphasis on medical ethics around fringe-of-life issues.

I stumbled across your blog after becoming sick of finding only *Mom & Pop* blogs about parenting, and few about the choice to remain childfree. I look forward to reading back through your archive :)

Sorry for the massive and disorganised comment!

Marie B said...

Your blog is so interesting to read. Thank you for posting your frustrations. They are well written and honestly, we need MORE childfree bloggers!!!! You are one of the bloggers who inspired me to start my own childfree blog. Here is the link : http://childfreefeminist.wordpress.com/

and I hope together we inspire people to make the choice.

* Valerie * said...

I get the baby rabies from time to time, like when a friend has a really cute baby, and for about a week or two, my arms long to hold a child again.

But then I start thinking about the things beyond the "Kodak moments," such as diaper explosions, projectile vomit, screaming, tantrums, and teenagers.

Anonymous said...

I'm so curious about your so-called "baby rabies" feeling, because it is something I have never felt, and I always took that absence of feeling as a sign that parenthood was not for me. Do you consider yourself a supremely rational person? I would love to hear more about what you might have to say on the emotions/reason divide. I think that if both my husband and I were to suddenly have this irrepressible urge--that primal feeling described by many--to have a kid then we would probably talk it over and try for one, if there weren't any huge pressing reasons not to (eg, one of us were incurably ill or our financial situation changed drastically). But I'm curious: do you think that the decision to have kids should be purely rational (I'm not attacking the idea; I genuinely want to hear your view).

Also, re: vasectomy, this issue came up a few months ago with my husband and me, and we ended up in this impasse for a few days--neither of us knowing how to talk about all the emotions involved in such a big decision. And I suspect that it's because it just felt so darn permanent, even though we feel generally secure in our decision being childfree so far.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post that mirrored the conversation I had with my husband regarding a vasectomy. I didn't understand why I was so unnerved when I agreed to this years ago. You've given a great voice to the thoughtful, active person that chooses a child free lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a ridiculously old post. But I've just discovered your blog today and went through most - if not all - of your posts, and I just have to say thank you for this one in specific.

I'm 21, still young but adamantly childfree. The biggest fear I have dealing with this part of my life is changing my mind someday. I'm not even exaggerating about that - I literally fear the day if/when that infamous "biological clock" starts ticking, because that might mean I might change my mind. I've occasionally had little flits of "ohhh, maybe it wouldn't be so bad to have just one...", but I quickly snap back to reality and rationality: "This is a dumb idea and you will likely regret it." Because I know I'd regret becoming a parent and, frankly, I don't want to subject a child to that. Usually those feelings go away after a day or two, and don't come up with enough regularity for me to be genuinely concerned about it.

But those feelings DO come up every so often, and I feel that it's important for us to talk about them. I know a great deal of CF people don't feel - or, if they do, they never ever talk about - such things. But to those of us who do, it'd be such a relief to hear it from the mouths of others to ease some of the anxiety some of us may have.

It makes me feel a lot better to know that there's someone out there who feels the same as I do when these occasional bouts of baby rabies take over. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I used to want to be a mom. Used to.

I dreamt of getting married and having 1 kid by age 25 and being 'done.' I loved the idea of 'only one.' From babysitting experience, I knew it was SO much better than 2 or more!

Well, its slim pickins' out there for quality men, so I didn't come across anyone marriage worthy until I was in my mid=late 30's. We could have been first time parents at age 38.

38! Gosh.. that's too late, I thought! I'll be almost 60 when they graduate high school! I'll be 70 by the time I'm a grandma!

It was a timing thing for me. I changed my mind about kids when I was approaching 30, with no husband prospects. I'm very picky, though. I married the man of my dreams. God couldn't have chosen anyone better.

Had I met him at 18, we would probably have had that one kid.

Timing is everything. At least, for me, it was. It sucks though... you can't choose the time when Mr. Wonderful will come along. And for some, he never shows up.

But we're very happy being childfree, I must say. Wouldn't change a thing!