Friday, September 28, 2012

Thirty-Five

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.

8 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I love your term "baby rabies". The only time I ever really thought about having children and actually started to plan for it was when my stepsister got pregnant. It was like all of a sudden, I wanted one too, when I have never really wanted one before! Amazing how that happens…

I'm still coming to terms with not wanting children, and the guilt and feeling of "wrongness" that comes with that. Blogs like yours are a great comfort.

Nicole said...

So glad you are feeling happy and wonderful with your life at this milestone birthday!

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Anonymous said...

hope you had a wonderful birthday! at work and around my neighborhood it seems like every women is pregnant! it doesn't make me want a baby. all it really does is make me want to knit and crochet baby blankets, bibs, and other baby related items. so far i finished one blanket and started work on another. my plans are to donate them and to give them to friends who are childfree and have pets!

i look forward to reading your next post!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, I hear you on the guilt thing. My husband and I have been married 9 years with no kids, and no plans for any EVER. I've made it perfectly clear to my parents, hinted at it to his family, and of course he and I have discussed it at length. We are in our mid 30s, happy in our life, travel when and where we wish, enjoy disposable income-all the things Stasha talked about in this post. We would never change it, and I know with 100% certainty that if I were to get pregnant I would be devestated. It's not something I ever want.

However-having said all that, there are still times where i feel guilty for refusing to have/ not wanting kids. Guilty that I'm depriving my parents of grandkids when their siblings (my aunts and uncles) are becoming grandparents for the second time. Guilty of not having a child with my husband, when his brother has had 4, and he sometimes wonders what it'd be like. I feel like I'm depriving them all of the expected experiences. Those moments are few and far between, but they do hit and sometimes I wonder-would it be easier and happier for everyone if I just had a kid? But then reality kicks in, and ughhh!! No. I don't know if that guilt ever really goes away, but I can tell you it's come up less and less over the years, and now it's just a momentary thing and then I'm back to whatever I was doing.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and am enjoying hearing from a kindred spirit. I will be turning 35 next year. My partner and I have been together for 14 years. We have never really wanted kids, but when I was in my 20's kind of imagined age 35 to be 'decision time'. Now that it's almost here, I'm interested to find that I still don't want kids :) Not sure what happened to the biological clock, but I'm rather pleased with the outcome. I have a family (though not according to society's standards) and a great career. I wish everyone could be as happy for me as I am. Anyway, thanks for the support and keep blogging!

Anonymous said...

I'm 33 and I'm so glad I have an aunt and uncle, who decided in their 20's that they didn't want kids. They are my mentors through my realization that I don't want kids, either.

My aunt always said that she realized she didn't want to be anyone's mother when she observed my other aunt parent my cousin. She saw firsthand how draining it was, how much sacrifice it involved. And that's what changed her mind. And my cousin was an only child!

Of all the couples I know and observe in their interactions with each other, my childfree aunt and uncle are the happiest married couple I can think of. And their house is always clean! Bonus.

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