Compromising Positions

A sex ed blog with more

To Parent or Not To Parent?

I’m at a point in my life where I’m seriously considering what I want in my future. Society is telling me that hetero, monogamous marriage and children are SUPER IMPORTANT. Let’s focus on the children portion of that. I sort of get the ‘continue the population’ idea, but I don’t consider that a valid reason to become a parent. (Yes, I know that in Canada we are underpopulated – but in the whole world, the human population is doing just fine.) I keep oscillating between ‘do I want to raise children, or not?’ I know this can be very confusing for some people who are perplexed by my external processing, which involves a lot of flip flopping between yes and no. This post is me sharing my thoughts, trying to figure out what works best for me. I wonder how many of us go through this; it can’t be just me who is having these feelings. Is it something that everyone in their mid- to late twenties goes through? Does age have something to do with it? Gender? Sexual orientation? Honestly, I think the answer is going to be yes to all of those.

First, do I want to parent? I don’t know. Legitimately; I have no clue. Some people know, for sure, that they want to be parents. Where I’m struggling: I know that I would be a good parent, but at this point I can barely take care of myself. I haven’t had a pet in 10 years, and my lifestyle is such that I flit about. If I can’t handle an animal, how on earth am I going to handle a child? This seems complicated and confusing. I am far more willing to entertain the idea of parenting as long as I know that I have a co-parent by my side. If I were to suddenly be pregnant and single, I would not have the baby. I’m not in a place emotionally or financially where I can handle being a parent. I am far too selfish. And that’s how I feel right now: I am not ready to be a parent. Good news! I will not go around popping out babies or adopting tomorrow.

Will I be ready to parent in the future? I think it depends on where my life is: steady income(s), steady partner, benefits or enough money to be able to pay for whatever I need to, or my potential spouse’s benefits if that’s an option. Kids are expensive; really expensive! I know that I have come to expect a certain lifestyle, and I would want to continue living said lifestyle in the future.

There are certain things in my life I would like to achieve and do before “settling down”. I’m not sure that some of these things can happen if I’m carting a partner and rugrats around. For example, I have significant wanderlust: I crave travel. I want to be able to take off for chunks of time, and that may not be able to happen.

How do we determine who is going to be a good parent? I think many people have children because they think they are supposed to, not necessarily because they want to or think they will be good at it. I don’t want to be one of those: I want to be a purposeful parent, and I think I would be a good one. What about my partner? How can I tell if my chosen partner would be a good parent with me? Can we have a trial run? I guess that’s what babysitting is. My favourite part about babysitting is handing the child back to the parents. If you’re not a parent, why would you want to hang out with kids all the time? Pretty sure I don’t love kids the way someone who wants to parent is supposed to.

Now, we get into the whole birthing thing. In theory, because I am someone with a uterus, I am capable of pushing a paint can-sized human out of my body. Thanks to the words of my friend, it is magical that our bodies, which are often seen as weak and frail, are capable of such strength and force as to bring forth a human. I could handle being pregnant, but I don’t think I’d want to birth. I suppose I could be pumped full of drugs to mitigate the pain, but even then, I’d lose all agency. When on drugs, you’re not allowed to make any decisions about what’s happening to your body or your baby. So hopefully I’d have a clear understanding about what’s going on, and my partner and I will have discussed what I’m comfortable with. I’d have someone on my side who can make decisions for me. Also, the recovery time is way longer if you’re drugged up. I don’t like pain, so I’d probably opt for the various drugs … and that’s not necessarily the best option for my body. Sigh, why is this so complicated?!

Honestly, the fact that anyone is able to get pregnant and have a child is quite frankly a miracle. It really is. And for those who want to be pregnant, or currently are, or have been, good for you! I fully believe that it is an incredible and amazing experience. People are going to give you all kinds of shit because you have a uterus, but if anyone ever tries to call you a wuss after having given birth, I’d say “YOU TRY PUSHING OUT A PAINT CAN, AND THEN WE CAN TALK”.

Not going to lie, I’m a little scared of how my body will change while pregnant, and through the birthing process. And I’m not talking about my vagina being all loose. I mean all of the other stuff that we don’t often talk about: stretch marks, scars, acne all over the body, hair becoming straight or curly due to hormones, peeing a little bit when you sneeze, and so much more that I don’t even know about because I have not given birth. I get that at the end of it you have a baby, and that’s supposed to make everything worth it.

I guess I’m flip flopping because I recognize that these are HUGE life decisions. Hopefully the labour and delivery lasts less than 24h, and you’ve had 6-9 months to prepare, but then you’re a parent for the rest of your life. And at the beginning of the baby’s life, they depend on you completely – 100%. What if I decide that I want to be child-free, and my partner realizes that he wants children? If this happens after we’ve been together for 7 years, for example, what would we do? One of us would have to make a big shift if we want to stay together. Is one spouse going to resent the other? Or maybe we thank each other for the love and time, and go find others who are want the same things we do. I know that I am getting ahead of myself, and these are problems for Future Julia to worry about … but Current Julia is still thinking about them, because they affect what I do now and I don’t really know how to reconcile these conflicting ideas. I love that I am not a parent right now. I don’t know if I want to be a parent. At this point in my life, shouldn’t I know? There have to be other people going through the same things: what are you doing, or have you done, to help yourself decide? Let me know!

3 comments on “To Parent or Not To Parent?

  1. Stefanie
    June 24, 2015

    I’ve opted not to have children. 1) Like you, I have a lot of dreams & a child would complicate them. 2) I don’t know if I’ll ever be financially wealthy enough to provide for a child with how expensive things are now. 3) I’m disgusted by the state of our society & would not want to make a child suffer through it.

  2. Alex
    October 5, 2016

    Marie-Claire, of all places, had a really interesting article recently called (something like) “I regret having children.” Highly recommend for giving an opposite perspective from what you usually hear.

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This entry was posted on June 24, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .
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