Thursday, October 11, 2012

Without Great Risk…

I have several mothers in my life dealing with autistic children, and as a childless woman it's been made clear I'm not allowed to talk about autism and Aspergers. And I get it. I don't believe, as many do, that autism is some horrible affliction that means the end of the world. I think Autism Speaks is a misguided organization and I think the demonization of autism as a terrible disease is missing the point. I think these parents are doing an amazing job under difficult circumstances. I know their brilliant, hysterical, eccentric kids and I am in awe of the way their minds work. So autism activists — please understand I'm on your side.

THAT SAID, watching my friends' struggles reinforces a key reason I don't want to be a mother: I can't handle a sick or difficult child. I couldn't do it. I couldn't deal with my friend's often violent, moody, yet absolutely brilliant Aspie kid, who is hypersensitive to the max and has already had bouts of suicidal depression that required hospitalization. It's not in me. I just can't.

Whenever I daydream about potentially having a child, it's under perfect circumstances. The kind of circumstances that involve a bright, even-tempered child who is self-reliant and calm from the start. I picture I a child I could travel with, who we could teach to love Indian food and behave in restaurants, who never has tantrums or bad days. I picture utopia. That ain't the real world.

When I think about a child who's got my highly sensitive traits and neurotic tendencies paired with my husband's all-but-diagnosed Aspergers, I shudder. I think about the calls my friends get from the school that their child hit another because he acted out of turn in the game, or another friend is dealing a teacher who thinks her daughter's plan for care is stupid and the school is threatening to condemn her to learning disabled classes when she's absolutely brilliant, though incredibly particular and eccentric. I contrast these to the kids who make me think I could maybe do it someday — the easy ones, the mellow ones, the funny and geeky ones — and it just sinks in about what a great roll of the dice having children is.

Of course autism spectrum disorders are only a fraction of the things that can make life with one child more difficult than another, but they're the type of difficult with which I'm most familiar (and the one that my and my husband's history would be more likely to experience) so they're my example. My friends don't regret having their children, but they're also quite different than me. They've always wanted kids. They've known it in their hearts and have been committed from the start to devote their lives to being mothers. If I had a child right now, there wouldn't be that passion. There just wouldn't. Maybe I would change as so many new moms I know did, and suddenly feel that my child was my heart walking around outside my body or whatever.

Or maybe I would be like my mother, or my niece's mother. Cold. Detached. Resentful. Maybe I would regret forever changing my career goals like my mother did. My gut tells me that's me. My lack of patience, how easily I'm annoyed to the point of anger, my inability to play along with kids for too long without getting frustrated…all signs point to "don't go there", and that's okay.

I think I could love that "perfect" child and I think it could be great. But for me the idea of having an incredibly high maintenance or sick child sounds a little like hell. No… it sounds a lot like hell.

I am proud of the moms I know, and I think it's wonderful that there are parents out there who are willing to do whatever it takes to devote their lives to their kids. Childfree women fight the selfish label all the time, but in this case? I think it's good to be a little selfish, to know what my limitations are and to recognize them. I think it's healthy that I know what I'm willing to handle and that I'm not interested in rolling the dice.

My friends' spectrum kids are awesome. But with their particular brand of awesomeness comes a degree of difficulty that only the most devoted and amazing parents can truly handle with grace. While I tip my hat to them, their life is one I would never, ever want, despite how much we all adore their kids. I simply don't want the reward enough to take the risk.

Friday, September 28, 2012


It's a big number. As a rule I haven't really cared much about the numbers, but 35 is a big one and it has me reflecting a lot. I wasn't even 30 when I started this blog and started talking about milestones. In those years I've struggled with losing friends, disappointing family, fighting against my body when it wanted a baby and my brain didn't.

When I started this journey my friends, who were a couple years older than me, were starting their families. Although I was just starting a relationship with the man who I've now called mine for 10 years, I had made my choice, though they all insisted that, in time, when I met the right man, I would change my mind. I was the only one making this choice, and for reasons I still don't understand many of them had problems with that. They interpreted my choice as a rejection of them, of their children, and very quickly there was no room for me in their lives. Aside from commenting on each others' Facebook posts now and again, none of them, including my best friends at the time, are a part of my life anymore.

Thankfully, much of that is now behind me. 

This time, I do have support. I have many childfree friends, and my parents support us even if my in-laws don't understand. The parents who DO remain in my life are amazing, and their kids give us plenty of moments to experience the good stuff we're missing out on. My life is full of love and support.

For years it was easy. None of my new circle of friends, even those who were older, had kids. That's changed in the last year, not that it was unexpected. Friends who had declared themselves childfree are panicking as they now face infertility at 38, 39, while others the same age and younger are all becoming new moms. This stirred up some baby rabies, but my conflict was all internal this time, without the harsh pressure and ridicule of 10 years ago. 

My friendship groups are shifting again, but this time I can say with confidence it is simply us growing apart rather than the hostility I felt when it was all about "this childfree hate group I called myself a part of." I'm at peace with that.

Age has brought me confidence that I do know what I want from life, and I don't want to be a mom. I'm working at my dream job, spending tons of time with friends, excelling in grad school and traveling constantly. My husband and I have a rich social life, we travel constantly and we dote on our cats like crazy. We enjoy our disposable income and our freedom. Age has taught me that while there are moments we wonder whether we're missing out, we know we'd be asking the same questions if we chose the other path. I don't need to make excuses for the choice like I felt I had to before. I'm 35, and life is good. Life is really damn good.

Friday, September 21, 2012


"The day I found out I wasn't pregnant after the sixth failed intrauterine insemination (IUI) I collapsed to the ground in tears. My husband had to help me to the car. I laid on the floor for hours just sobbing while my mother sat on the phone with me, feeling impossibly helpless."

This is paraphrased from my cousin's new blog that deals with her journey through infertility. Her journey has a happy ending, with gorgeous twin girls through IVF, but the journey is what blows my mind. Six IUIs, laparoscopic surgery, heavy fertility drugs, two specialists and, finally, the IVF that brought her twins, over the course of four years. I can not imagine wanting anything that much.

The times when I waver are when I think about my cousin and other friends who've struggled with infertility. They sob each month when they get their periods, mourning each month of failure. Their lives fall apart after a miscarriage, or a failed fertility treatment, and it breaks my heart. But is also makes me realize that my twinge of "gee, I hope I'm making the right decision" that is always followed by a glaring realization that I *AM* making the right decision pales in comparison.

I can't imagine wanting it that badly. Or truly wanting at all, really. I remember the years before my IUD where a late month sent me into a state of panic, and when talking to mommy friends about my scare would land me an "I'm sorry." No, I'm *glad* I'm not pregnant, I'd say, and they'd respond with something akin to "well, when it's your time it'll happen," still consoling me as if I'd said nothing.

And then there are the "friends" who have made me feel guilty, including the bitter one a decade ago who said she felt more comfortable with my childfree choice because I had PCOS, which meant I wasn't "wasting a perfectly good uterus."  And I do feel a bit guilty. It's hard not to.

There are times I wish I wanted a child. Usually these are the kodak moments with my friends' kids who I adore so completely, or the moments when they're so filled with love and pride. I'm missing out and that sucks. But watching these people who are close to me makes me realize a wistful moment is not the same thing as wanting to raise a child. It's heartbreaking, but also refreshing. "If you want a child, you'll know," one mom told me when I told her I was wavering. "You'll know, and you so don't know right now." I laughed, but she was right.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Acceptable Choice

Initially I applauded How I Met Your Mother for keeping Robin childfree, but that was before. Before they felt the need to justify her choice and their choice to keep her childless by making her infertile. It played into so many of my pet peeves because it minimizes her choice, and even though she stuck by it by not choosing adoption or fostering, her choice feels less powerful to me, somebody who would have liked to see a childfree person on TV respected. I like it in that it takes away peoples' hope that her mind will change, but it reinforces what so many people say to me.

Countless times it's been suggested to me that I should lie and tell people I'm infertile to get the people judging me to back off. But I can't. I have friends and family who've struggled with infertility. I just can't take the chance of getting into that conversation. I've seen the desperation in their eyes when they've talked about their struggle with wanting a baby so badly and being unable to have one. Without fail, infertility has brought mourning with it for the people I've known, and I can't play that game.

I understand that gives people a reason to accept my decision, to shut up about the pressure, but I want to be accepted for the choice in itself. I want people to stop saying I'll change my mind not because I'm too old to change it, or because nature took care of that choice for me. I don't want them feeling sorry for me.

I'm happy with my life and my choice, and that's after dealing with a pretty rough bout of arguing with my biology over babies. I'm not going to be a mom. Not because "it's God's plan." Not because I waited too long. Not because I or my husband can't make it happen. I'm not going to be a mom because I don't want to be.

Wouldn't it be nice if that was enough?

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Death and Dying

This is a very stream-of-consciousness post. My apologies if I seem all over the place. 

My husband's grandmother has cancer. The matriarch of his side of the family. The vibrant almost-90-year-old who's outlived two husbands and a daughter, is getting sick, and it's a scary time. It's also a time when she's getting extra impatient. She wants to meet her grandchildren "before"… And once again we're faced with letting her hope that we're "trying", so she can say her prayers and wish us well, or to tell her that the grandchildren aren't coming.

It's her 87th birthday on Sunday and we'll be celebrating with family. This includes my husband's father and wicked stepmother, his childless aunt and uncle, and, of course, Grandma. I twitch when I start thinking about the questions that are getting harder once again to dodge with a chuckle and a change of subject. We will be finding out on Sunday just how bad the melanoma is, if it has spread and how far. It's a conversation no one wants to have over the phone, but having it over a birthday feast seems a little off-putting too.

I don't know; I suppose it's because we're all getting older, but things have been pretty gloomy and are getting gloomier when it comes to the health questions, and the wondering about what will happen when we, who don't have children, get older.

But then I see my father's brother, the one I can barely stand to call my uncle. He's dying of cancer and probably only has a few weeks left in him. The last family member in my father's generation, he's been kind of a drunk screw-up his whole life. I can't say I love the man, but I do feel for him. Miraculously, his son managed to escape the craziness he and his wives would sow over the years to become a successful theater manager in New York, an outstanding actor married to a beautiful woman who he often shares the stage with. They're great, but their life is in Manhattan. Both working actors, they don't make a lot of money. They can't help with his medical care, keeping food on his table. They're keeping food on their own table. My family is helping where they can, but they have their own massive medical bills to deal with.

I understand being torn, and my father's not a giant broken mess like his brother is. I look at my parents and the thing I'm most scared of is having to take care of my father because something happens to my mother before his illness takes him. We bought a house big enough for Mom to have her own space if she needs it after Dad dies. We've talked about the opposite happening, especially now that my father's illness is under control, and we are unable to form a plan. We feel selfish. Horrible. But we know it's on us. My brother and his wife can't afford to help. It's on us, and we don't want to do it.

Having kids is no guarantee they'll be there for you in your darkest hour, and it's not always because they're bad people. It's far more complicated than good vs. bad. Of course we say we would do what we can to help, but where does that line get drawn? Do we sell our house that we love so much? Do I quit my job and become a caretaker — a job that I am *woefully* unequipped for, emotionally and physically — or do we take on enormous debt to ensure he has a caretaker? Or, do we find him a nursing home we can afford while keeping our own future stable? It's an honest question, and with healthcare costs we have to look at that. My dad would say he doesn't want us to blow our future on him, but at the same time, can I live with putting my dad in a shitty home? I don't think so.

My husband's Grandma has it made. Her childless son and his wife are very well-off and can take care of all her needs. But my husband and I aren't there yet. My cousin and his wife aren't there yet, and neither are my brother and sister-in-law. Between student loans, expensive housing, iffy job prospects and everything being so bloody expensive, I'd argue having a child doesn't get you much closer to having someone to care for you at all, and if you count on it not only do you come up empty-handed, but it comes along with the hurt and betrayal of feeling "abandoned". My husband and I know we have to deal with that ourselves and will take measures to attempt to ensure we're not blindsided. It's on my mind a lot lately, what we'll do with our parents, with ourselves. How far we can go.

And then I my thoughts go back to Grandma, wanting so badly to see her grandson become a father before she dies. Nothing would make her happier, and yet I can't help her with that.  The thought of breaking her heart breaks mine and sets all these emotions tumbling. I just hope we're not made to be bad guys at dinner this Sunday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Living At the Dance Studio

My (step)sister-in-law has two adorable little girls, and she made a post on her Facebook page that started me thinking and led to me noticing commentary from other moms I know that sort of terrified me. Maybe it's because summer is coming, but everyone's all a-twitter about what their kids are going to be doing this summer.

"Just enrolled Gracie in Dance! Starting next week we'll be living at the dance studio every night!"

(S)SIL is enrolling her younger daughter in dance classes that, inconveniently, meet on the days that her older daughter has off, which puts them at the dance studio almost every night of the week. The level of commitment blows me away.

I have my commitments. Gaming every odd Thursday, a rotating dinner-and-a-movie party with friends every Tuesday (hosting once a month). Additional hosting on weekends and such. It gets exhausting but it's fun for me. I get to host friends, make delicious meals for everyone to enjoy. It's something I could conceivably manage with a baby, possibly, but one or two young children who are already getting into extra activities? When I think about my life becoming that of a (hardly) glorified chauffeur, driving my child from this practice/class/birthday party to that, I start looking for myself in the picture and can't find me.

Other moms are struggling to find activities for their children over the summer. One stay-at-home mom is fretting because activities that don't put her at the center of everything are hella expensive. Send the kids to the neighborhood community pool? $500 for passes… PER CHILD. And that's not even the private club, which involves a $1500 buy-in *before* the annual fee. Park classes? When I was in elementary school in the '80s $5 bought a supervised afternoon at the park and craft supplies to make with friends. Now? $300 please, to join the summer program in their upper-middle-class neighborhood, and then individual class fees. Why yes, that IS per child, TYVM.

It's ridiculous. And for parents who don't have the luxury of staying home? Now suddenly there's a full day worth of childcare for three months that is now a problem. I've said it before and it's certainly not news, but kids are damn expensive.

I don't know what's worse, really, the financial cost or the time. For me I think it would be the time. I don't have a problem, in general, with throwing money at the problem (supposing I have it). But my time is a non-renewable resource. I need time to be me, to do things I enjoy. I could find joy in my children, I suppose, but I know I'd be miserable living at the dance studio every night. The novelty of "look what I can do" would wear off quickly. The pressure to be perky and enthusiastic among the other moms, to not look run-down and tired like I would surely be, would be devastating. I imagine high school all over again, full of gossip and cliques. I wouldn't fit in with the other moms, of course. Flashback to sitting alone at the lunch table in high school, in college, looking around for people who look like me. It's almost panic-inducing. No; strike that "almost".

Okay, fine, I don't need to enroll my kid in anything like that, but that doesn't help matters. I'd want to nurture my child's interests, which would get to be exhausting. My god, how much time it would take. It isn't any wonder that so many parents lose their own identities. Time alone makes it almost impossible to nurture yourself anymore without being branded a neglectful parent. "You're leaving your kids for the weekend to do WHAT?" "You're going on vacation without your kids?"

Judgment. Ridicule. The constant fear that you're ruining your kids. Keep it.

I'll be busy traveling with other grown-ups, eating in the best restaurants in the country and spending my time living my best life. If it's not your idea of the good life, that's fine. Ask me if I have regrets and I'll throw it right back at you.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Looking Brighter

My depression is subsiding with the warm weather, thankfully. I've spent several days in the sun and working outside getting the garden ready for our early spring and I'm feeling more optimistic about things in general, and you all have helped tremendously.

Seriously, you all are awesome. The influx of support while I've been depressed is amazing and encouraging. I thank those of you who are commenting so much. I feel less alone and I'm so glad I've made you feel less alone too. You are so amazing it makes me consider lifting the anonymity of my blog, but I still can't bring myself to do it (not that any of my friends wouldn't recognize themselves in my stories if they came across the blog, but that's beside the point). The anonymity protects me, keeps me honest and frank.

To all of you who've offered up support, you're amazing. Want to talk? Reach me at childfreeme at gmail and Google+. Maybe we can get together and have a childfree hangout on G+ sometime soon. I'm useless as an organizer, but it's something to think about — we need to stick together!!

Also, if you like my blog, consider clicking on a couple ads. It isn't much but every little bit helps me write more.

Much love,


My friends' little girl — the one who's made of magic — is amazing. I'm overjoyed to be welcomed as a part of her life and she is absolutely awesome. When I consider how much I love Babygirl I feel almost self-conscious, like I'm intruding on Mom and Dad's territory, even though they encourage us to love the hell out of her because there's plenty to go around. Most of the time since she's gotten over her colicky start in this world she's a dream, but when she has a bad day… damn.

We stayed the weekend at their house and Saturday was a really bad day. Babygirl didn't sleep so well the night before and neither did mom and dad, so everyone was a little on edge, yet somehow they managed to be gracious hosts. We did, however, get to see the vicious cycle of frayed nerves, exacerbated by the fact that their live-in nanny, Babygirl's grandmother, is contemplating moving out and suddenly they're faced with looking into the cost of childcare.

Mom and Dad are excellent parents under the worst stress, but Dad was under a lot more pressure than usual this time around. He and I are of very similar temperaments, so it's interesting to me to watch him dealing with his daughter. He's highly sensitive and easily annoyed, very nurturing but often impatient. And my guess is, because both Mom and Dad are very intuitive, perceptive people, Babygirl could be extra sensitive to their emotions.

I could watch her grow uncomfortable as Dad got more and more frustrated that she continued to fuss, and when he got angry that, once again, she slept only briefly before waking up and squalling. When I mentioned this to Mom she just laughed and agreed that it's as if Babygirl is yelling at Dad for getting so frustrated with her. We did a lot of laughing that weekend, and it got us through the worst of it. It's easy enough to tolerate the child's inconsolable crying, but it's the tense, frayed energy from Dad that really made me start to get twitchy and uncomfortable. I feel bad for him, because all he wants is to be able to comfort his daughter when she's hurt or upset and it eludes him. Because of his hypersensitivity, he can't not take it personally and it really, really gets to him. I imagine he and Mom fight about the fact that only Mom can really calm the baby down more on their own than they do when we're around.

But if it was just Babygirl we were talking about, it wasn't that bad. We got used to it. We laughed when Babygirl made a particularly hilarious sound during her cries and were able to go about our business of hanging out. The next morning, when she woke all bright-eyed and happy, her magic kicked in and all was forgotten.

There were so many times that day and night where my husband would take my hand and squeeze, or I'd glance at him with a knowing look.

I see so much of us in this couple. They're amazing. I've never known a couple to continue living their life as normal so easily with a baby in tow. They're not afraid to take her places. They know Babygirl loves animals and is always gentle with kitties — she loves our big fluffy boy especially — and they have no problem setting up the pack-n-play in our guest room so they can spend the night. They're not paranoid about germs or who holds her and they take everything in stride. Some things have changed — they're not as flexible as they used to be, but they're the same people. Unlike so many parents I've known who've become paranoid, distrustful shells of who they once were, losing their entire identity with the birth of their child, this couple proves to me that parenthood doesn't have to change you. They prove to me that you can have a child and not live a life of fear. It's refreshing.

But that doesn't mean there aren't fundamental changes in their life and their relationship. Far from it, and I'm seeing it more as Babygirl gets older and they're coming to the realization that this is their life now. This isn't going away. It gets more real every day.

While they're very much the same, their world does revolve around this amazing little girl. When she's hungry, when she's dirty, when she's sick or in pain from just plain growing too fast, they have to be there. Even with their nanny, there are really no breaks. Sheer determination and knowledge that they need their creative outlets keeps them devoted to their hobbies but it leaves them utterly exhausted. Their social life may not be suffering, but it's clear their romantic life is, and that breaks my heart for a couple that is so in love. But there's just no time and intimacy is easy to sacrifice when your nerves are shot to hell from wearing Baby on your hip since you got home from work. Not a moment of their days is unaccounted for… and not a penny of their money is either. The level of sacrifice is daunting to consider, even for people who, on the surface, appear to not have sacrificed much at all.

I can't fathom my life changing that much. The constant presence of someone so dependent on me, the frayed nerves causing tension in our marriage, or the lack of any intimate alone time. So for now, we'll just consider spoiling Babygirl with the toys and clothes that are so fun to buy, and we'll enjoy taking her from Mom and Dad when they need a break. It's a pretty sweet arrangement, I've gotta say.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Our Furry Kids

Sometimes I wonder whether my husband and I love our cats too much. One (awesome) parent friend called our enthusiastic sharing of photos "baby picture time!" and while we laughed it off, it was totally right.

That said, our three cats are totally our babies. Our phones are full of photos of them. They're prominent in our social media and we talk about them ad nauseum. As we watch our youngest grow we get excited about the littlest things. We squeal with happiness and watch when he plays with his brother and sister. We're overjoyed he's learning the wonder and warmth of laps. We cuddle all of them and love them so very much. All three of them are sociable, extremely affectionate and super snugglers. They are, without question, our family, as we declare happily whenever we have occasion to have all three of them with us at once.

I'd never equate having cats to raising children, but it fulfills so much of the same emotions for both of us. The love I feel for them is incredibly strong, and in the moments when I know they love us — when they take turns sitting on our laps, or when our little girl curls up to sleep on me every single night at bedtime, or when our big boy paws at us for loving — it's powerful stuff.

Especially while I'm fighting with my brain chemistry against Seasonal depression that's making everything seem a pretty gloomy, they bring me joy without fail. Cat cuddles make the worst thing better, and they're bringing me much solace. I look at them and think that this is the life. I don't need more than them. Between them and my friends' kids who we spoil rotten and enjoy plenty of Kodak moments with, life is really damn good.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Little Less Alone… and a Little More

First, I need to thank you all for your comments. It's amazing to know there are others out there and it helps more than you know. Still, I'm finding myself in the midst of a bout of depression that I've had a hard time shaking and this time, for the first time, I'm choosing not to find myself a new therapist.

This was a hard decision for me, but when I've spoken to therapists in the past they've always — ALWAYS without fail — felt the need to pathologize my desire to remain childfree. It's because my mother was a cold workaholic who didn't hug me enough. It's because of my low self-esteem. It's because my marriage is somehow unhealthy. It's because of my father's alcoholism. It's never simply because having children is not for me. It's always a symptom of some greater mental illness and I can't even begin to cope with that right now. Sure, these things may have contributed to my decision in that they've contributed to who I am, but I hate approaching the topic as if something's wrong with me.

The cruel irony is that a big part of my current depression is wrestling with my choice and coming to terms with it being my forever choice. This in the midst of all my closest friends having children or, in the case of the latest friend, going through the process of adoption. It's about my desire to fit in, my guilt for not liking children outside of a controlled setting, and not wanting that life for myself. Of course, if I wish I wanted children I must secretly want them, so why am I denying myself this? I don't need a therapist to make me feel even more like there's something wrong with me.

Additionally, I feel, more now than ever, that my femininity is part of what's being judged. It isn't friends but family in this case. As a women entering my late 30s, what am I if I'm not a mother? I see the discomfort in peoples' eyes when I tell them I have no children as they presume some sort of catastrophe or infertility problem. I can feel them deflate and become uncomfortable in a way they really didn't do before. I stay chipper, I talk about my niece or my friends' kids who I'm close with. But there's always an air of "oh, you poor thing…"

This is, of course, my childfree blog, so I'm focusing on the childfree component in my current bout with depression. The childfree issue isn't the only one contributing here; I've been stressed about starting my own business and my dying father, his dying brother, and my tense relationship with my in-laws all contribute to me being less than 100% happy 100% of the time, and that's not taking into consideration my Seasonal Affective Disorder and general brain chemistry. There's a lot there, but I can just see, as has happened in the past, my therapist focusing on the kids issue to the exclusion of all else. Or my weight… that was a fun round with *that* therapist, who blamed my fat for every thing that ever went on in my life. But I digress…

I can't deal with a therapist doing that again. I can't spend an hour each week talking about how broken I am while ignoring the elephant in the room, which is awful because I'm in a situation where I feel like I might need to go back on medication to break free from this funk. But for now, journaling helps. Hearing from all of you who say my story strikes a chord: that helps. I'll make it through this.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Last One Standing

Another one down. My friend is in her late 30s, a few years older than me, and I'm ecstatic that she was able to get pregnant when she was so afraid she couldn't.

But it's another one down, the second of three who were trying to announce her pregnancy. The third has gone silent about babies in her social media, which is leading me to believe she may be close to an announcement herself.

The point is, I'm feeling awfully alone. Friends don't understand when I explain how I feel and start pushing me to consider having kids, which is missing the entire point. I wish I had a friend who just got it, one who understands what it's like to be dealing with this mixed bag of emotions. I'm 34. My time's running out to change my mind and it's not changing and there are consequences to that.

But the only place I can talk about the consequences, the mixed emotions, is this private blog. I've swapped several posts to "private" on my public blog after friends took horrible offense to everything I said. I tried reaching out again, to see if it would be different this time. It hasn't been.

I have a couple remaining childless/childfree friends, neither of whom are very good sounding boards for such emotional stuff. I can't talk to my mom, even though I want to. It's starting to get really lonely out here.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Wishing for the Wish

I am in love. I'm in love with a baby girl who doesn't want to sleep when it's time to sleep and won't eat anything but applesauce. It's my friend's daughter, the formerly colicky one who's calmed down a bit, and I'm still in love with her.

She makes me wish I wanted kids. The mood swings are back.

I want to want the whole package, I do. But I still just don't. For the thousand reasons I've said before, I don't. But her face… my god her face. This baby has the best face, with wide bright eyes and her mother's infectious smile. God she makes me want to want one.

And then I see her parents, who haven't changed much as people except that they're tired all the time. They have a live-in nanny (Grandma) who takes care of her all day, cooks for them, cleans for them, and still their lives now revolve around this little child. Even though they have a full-time babysitter whenever they want to do what they want to do, they can't always do it.

She's expensive, for one. Far more expensive than they even imagined, and that's without having to pay for daycare. Mom's desire to go back to school for a career change has been exchanged for thankfulness that they have job stability. Her dreams come second now. And she's okay with that. I'm glad she's okay with that. And Baby's needy, going through week-long phases that drive Mom, Dad or Grandma until they're a raw, frayed nerve ready to snap at any moment.

But her face. I do love her face. I've said she's made of magic and it's true. Whether she's been crying all day or just threw up all over the place, her face makes it better.

But that face becomes a kid's face, which becomes a teenager's face and I tense up even thinking about trying to deal with a teenager, especially when I see the teens of friends beginning to run wild and rebellious in one way or another. Nevermind that we would never have the luxury of a nanny to help care for the infant like they do. The little bit of normal that my friends hold onto can be credited to Grandma living with them, which also creates an entirely different set of privacy-related problems.

It's not a life for me, but her face… her face makes me wish it was. But I get to make that face smile at me, make her coo and laugh, and then when she pukes I get to hand her off to Mom.

I still get to enjoy that face. Not in the same way I would if I was her mother, but I don't want to be her mother. Her face makes me wish I wanted one, but it also makes me feel so lucky that I have her in my life while I won't have one of my own.