I love my husband, and one of the reasons is that I can talk to him when I need to (even if sometimes I don't realize it). And tonight, boy did I need to. Tonight I had the most acute case of the rabies that I've ever experienced. It was so bad that I was really questioning myself, asking myself what my motivations were for not wanting children, whether it was something I really wanted or something I was telling myself I wanted. I was terrified to talk to my husband about these feelings because deep down I feared his response would be "well, maybe we should think about trying." So I clammed up.
But tonight, with talk of the new baby everywhere, the pictures, the stories, knowing that for the next forever the baby is going to be the center of my friend's world, it was all too much. I cried a lot tonight. I was furious at my body, for tying my stomach in knots and hurting my heart when I looked at the baby and tried to reconcile never having that. I was furious that my arguments were getting batted back in a horrible internal dialogue that questioned everything I believe. But my husband, who I had to talk into childfreedom when we got engaged nearly 7 years ago, took my hand and squeezed it, looking at me very seriously.
"If I believed this is what you wanted, I'd say we'll adapt, but this isn't what you want. This isn't you talking. I don't know if it's hormones or what, but this isn't you. So right now, even if you do want kids in this moment, I'm telling you this: I don't."
And he was right. So we talked. We talked about the good stuff we'll be missing out on. We acknowledged that it sucks that we can't have that without the long list of things we don't want. As we started talking the list felt good, and I started snapping out of it. And then it felt great. And then it felt fucking comical.
Seriously, everything I looked at in our amazing house reminded me of why I love my life, and all I'd have to sacrifice to make raising a child possible. My workaholic's workload. The laundry that's piling up and the litterbox that is overdue for a cleaning. The fact that we got them gravity feeders and a water fountain so we don't have to bother with feeding and watering the cats every day. Our pretty things. Our fragile pretty things. My gourmet kitchen. All of it. I don't want kids. I want to feel the joy of holding my child in my arms, but you want me to hold it for the next couple years? You want me to have this child as a constant tag-along to wherever I go, listening to kids' music instead of blaring industrial on a summer's day, and to another birthday party, or a kid-friendly event that will fill the room with dozens of children? Have you met me? How could you possibly think I'd want that life?
There are women who dream of this. There are women who want to be the nurturers. What I'm wanting right now is a moment, and it's a moment I realized, after talking with my husband, I can live without, even if it's going to be hard while I watch newbaby rack up the milestones.
It feels liberating, really, and I feel like me again. But this is exactly why we childfree DO talk about it so much. Because sometimes we are at odds with bodies and hormones and peer pressure that messes with our heads so much we get lost like I got lost. And sometimes we need someone to say "you don't sound like you. What's wrong? Let's talk this over." It's really invaluable.