Someone wanted to hear more about the conflict that having a body that wants a baby and a rational mind that knows I don't.
The feelings I get are very internal. I'm not the only person I know who's described it as a twinge, but it's like a little twisting or spasm in my uterus or my heart when I see a newborn, or a child doing something cute, and it's entirely bizarre. I'll feel it when I'm watching someone with a child, or holding my cousin's twins, or smelling their hair, or just talking about this.
It's like this incredible feeling of "what if" that inspires the smallest inklings of doubt. It's the literal tugging I feel inside when I read the Essure website and start weighing my options for a permanent birth control solution. It's the tugging that makes me unable to make the final decision to remove all possibility that I will get pregnant.
It's like there's a disconnect in my mind over the concept of having a baby and what a baby means. My mind goes to different places when my body starts wanting the baby. I say things to myself like "it wouldn't be that bad" and my rational brain chimes in immediately with "of course it would!" I don't know if other childfree folk feel this, but for me it's quite plainly an internal struggle. "But BABIES..." "...require every last moment of your attention and energy that you don't have to give." "But, but BABIES!" "…mean the end of your life as you know it and having a constant tag-along who you will resent, and you know you will." The argument rages in my mind and it's frustrating, and I can't talk to anyone about it.
Why? Because it immediately means that I'm really changing my mind, that I'm clinging to this "childfree" label but really I want children. Really, I'm NORMAL. Nothing I can say will make people believe it is not the case. I've tried to explain it. Even in these moments when my uterus is twitching and my stomach is churning and my heart aches, I couldn't begin to list for you the reasons why having a child would be the right thing for me. I can't even throw together a "we would adapt" spiel. Even in these moments the thought of being pregnant frightens me to the core because I think "I'm too old to have an abortion. Too mature and financially secure to live with that decision." I cannot even fathom the idea of bringing a child into this world to live under my care. I don't want that. But like any grass that's sometimes greener, there are aspects that are, of course, appealing.
I do want a little of that joy. I want to know that feeling of watching the ultrasound and holding my breath as the nurse determines whether I'm having a boy or a girl. (twinge). I want to know how it feels to hold my child for the first time (twinge). I want to feel that incomparable love that parents always talk about, that immense satisfaction that I made that. I want that intangible knowledge that my husband and I created a life together, that this child is alive and awesome because of us, and it has my eyes and his smile. (twinge twinge twinge)
But there's a difference between wanting that and wanting years on-end of being responsible for a child's every waking moment, of knowing the only traveling we'll be doing is to Disneyland, if we can even afford that at all. I can't have all those things and still have my hobbies, my work, my peace and quiet and my life as I know it. Being a parent is hard work, and it's hard work that would make me miserable. Me being miserable would make me a terrible, resentful, short-fused, easily annoyed parent and an even worse wife and partner.
I'm at a crossroads in my life right now, but I am 100% sure that I will go through life without knowing what it's like to be a mother. And I'm going to admit what a lot of childfree women will never admit: That kind of sucks. But I'm also going to have a life full of rich experiences with my husband. We'll get to be fully in love as we grow old together, as we travel and experience the world together. We'll never deal with the pitfalls of parenting. We'll never have the heartbreak of having our child proclaim that we're awful and she hates us. We'll never stay up nights worried about the thousands of things parents have to worry about. Our life won't be free from cares, but it will be free from parental cares, and there's value in that.
Mothers and fathers wonder all the time what their lives would have been like if they didn't have children and many come to the conclusion that it wouldn't be worth it because they wouldn't have their child in their life. Well, we look at the decision too, and when we start weighing things, yeah, maybe we'd be pretty great parents, but then we'd lose us in the process, and that just wouldn't be worth it.