January 12, 2014 at 8:39 am #48964
Right now I am at a point in my life where I feel an anxious push to have children. It is not coming from my parents but a general anxiety that without children I am not fulfilling the deepest parts of me and not experiencing the deepest love and joy possible. When writing such a sentence down, I hear myself say “Of course not, all that is possible without children” but when I want to stand up and say “I do not want to have children” I feel a sense of going down the “wrong” path, of missing out and making a decision that I will regret. I fear the loneliness and deep dissatisfaction with life that would come with sticking to a no-kids decision. I feel rushed to plan out my whole life around preparing to have children (financially, work-wise, relationship wise).
I also feel that this is just a story in my head that I am punishing myself with. I truly feel that I could have a deep love with myself and others in my life and the family I already have. I do not have to be isolated when I am older, and I can have romantic relationships which do not hinge on children. It is also possible to have children in my life by loving the children around me, possibly foster parenting for a few years of my life, or taking in an exchange student, or working with children in my job (as a pediatric health care professional). There are plenty of people (nuns, monks, couples, single people) who do not have children and live a full life….I just feel that I am “not supposed” to be one of those people even though not wanting children makes me feel freer and more excited about my life.
TInyBuddha, I extend the invitation out to you all to help me see past the toxic story in my head and to come back to myself.
January 12, 2014 at 9:45 am #48968LindsayParticipant
- This topic was modified 10 years, 1 month ago by Hyo.
Have you decided NOT to have kids? Why? Are you changing your mind about that? Why do you feel you need to decide right now? Or is it just that you dislike that you have this weird “must have kids to be happy” script playing in your head?
It’s perfectly fine to not have kids and it’s perfectly fine to want them. It’s perfectly fine to feel that you are missing out if you don’t have kids. It’s also fine to be unsure. It’s also fine to change your mind.January 12, 2014 at 10:01 am #48970
I would say that it is that I dislike having this weird “must have kids to be happy” script.
It is not to say that I am deciding right now and today and that it will be written in stone, but I have a feeling that I am someone who doesn’t really want to have children and I am wrestling with the emotional consequences of feeling that way.January 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm #48972LindsayParticipant
That makes sense and I get that. I’m not likely to have kids, even thought I do like kids, because I’ve never had that internal drive to have one. I don’t have much advice really, other than I think this is totally normal and that a lot of people struggle with it.
I do think that a lot of people have kids thinking that it will make their life more complete or better, or because it’s what they are supposed to do, but it’s really not that simple. There are plenty of single people, married people without kids, single with kids, and married with kids, who are perfectly unhappy and depressed. The status of single/married and kids/no kids does not make a person more or less happy, though they are all factors that a person can appreciate with the right mindset. I think you can live a very satisfying and full life with kids, and can live a very satisfying and full life without kids. What can be difficult is getting to a mental state where you accept and acknowledge that that both options offer a life that is abundant and rich and full of love. And that either way, you will be just fine.January 13, 2014 at 2:18 am #49019trailgirl82Participant
I am going through this same rollercoaster of emotion. Trying to decide what is right for me and my family. On one hand kids would a awesome, a lot of fun, but a lot of responsibility. On the other hand traveling and having adventures would be awesome, a lot of fun…and way less responsible. I think its perfectly normal to think about these types of things and very responsible to think about having kids before you do or don’t. Its a major responsibility and perhaps more people should think about it instead of just doing it. I think that ultimately, you and your mate will come to a decision based on who you are as a family. As for me, one day I dream of all the love and fun of a having a child and the next I am bogged down by the thought of all the responsibility and wondering if there is even time and energy for all that.January 13, 2014 at 5:46 am #49024
Lindsay, I think what you say about having the right mindset and being able to have a fulfilling life either way is key. It is so easy to overcomplicate things when we make it either/or, have or have not.
And TrailGirl, those are the thoughts I go through as well.January 13, 2014 at 7:23 am #49028MattParticipant
As a parent, I can say that I have no regrets… even with the financial, mental and emotional strain that they place on a family. The compassion and playfulness is way brighter, and makes the burdens laughable, simple, easy to bear.
As for the script that plays in your head, a few things came to heart as I read your words. Consider that you may feel some fear that having kids or not having kids is somehow connected to your purpose or happiness. As though having kids is your path to joy, or not having kids is your path to joy… and so making the right choice is big, scary. In my opinion, it just isn’t that way, dear friend. We follow our heart, and bring the joy with us. Kids won’t bring us our joy or cause it to receed. Joy blossoms as we let go of the “should I do this or that” and simply do what feels right. This isn’t like choosing a path that shackles us forever. Its like dancing across a buffet, choosing what we wish to have on our plate.
Said differently, joy arises as we pour our heart and attention into where we are, whether that be volunteering at our daughter’s preschool or going on a journey to a distant culture. Its in the freshness, the acceptance, the presence we have as we meet our experience with open eyes and an open mind. Kids, not kids… those aren’t keys to happiness. It really will be OK either way, because there will be Hyo, heart strong and radiant.
MattJanuary 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm #49053
Wow Matt (and by extension everyone else) your words have reached far beyond even this question I brought up. The fear has been placed on getting, acquiring, losing, winning and failing, but as you all have said
” those aren’t keys to happiness. It really will be OK either way, because there will be Hyo, heart strong and radiant.”
I already have all that I need to live a beautiful and fulfilling life. If I do have children, it will a choice from my heart, and if I don’t that will also be from my heart.January 14, 2014 at 4:37 am #49083HelenParticipant
In addition to the heartfelt wisdom everyone shared with you, there is on more thing that comes to heart for me. We always speak in terms of “having” kids as if children were yet another possession. I invite you to make a little shift and think of it in terms of whether you want to invite another being into the world who will share life with you. There is nothing quite as rewarding, joyfull, or challenging as being a parent. It’s not really about “having” kids as it’s about growing into a different sense of self. When you are a parent, you will connect so fully to another beeing that you will feel their joy, their pain, you will be the giver of love, the magic maker, then you will become the “bad guy” when your children go through teenage years, the best friend when they mature a little more, and you will have to go through the pain of letting go when they spread their own wings and start making their own life. And you will feel incredible joy when they are happy and incredible pain when they are not. And all of this is part of life and being a parent 🙂 Yes, as you said you can feel these emotions with “adopted” children as well, the little ones you come in contact with as a pediatric health care professional and adopted parent. For me, “having” my own daughter brings an extra boost of joy, so to say, because I can really see myself in her (we all call her a mini-me :)), she was born of me. I remember every moment, from the time she was concieved, how I felt her life force within my belly, her heart beat in rhythm with mine, the first moment we locked eyes, the first smile, first step, first word, first boo-boo, first insight, and am looking forward to so many more moments, both joyful and painful.
Yes, Hyo, you are radiant and heart strong. Your heart will guide you on your path 🙂
With light and warmth,