Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Making Peace Piece

I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but Mr. W isn’t sure whether he wants kids. I knew this early on, and like any red-blooded female, thought, “He didn’t say he doesn’t want them. Maybe we’ll end up on the same page eventually.”

Flash forward a year and a half, and this is our biggest sticking point. He has never given me a definitive “no,” but has said that if I didn’t want kids, we might be further along in our relationship.

I always pictured myself having kids. When I was in my early twenties, I had a deadline to have kids before I turned 30. That quickly passed, and the deadline morphed into a hope that I would have kids while I was still relatively young and capable of delivering healthy babies.

But the older I get, the more stressed I seem to feel when I picture kids in my life. I can’t imagine giving up quiet Friday nights with Oprah magazine. I can’t imagine devoting leisurely Saturdays to soccer games and play dates. I can’t imagine dealing with a child who’s been hurt or betrayed. It all feels very overwhelming. When I was younger, it didn’t feel that way.

This weekend, I spent about 30 hours with my nieces. 14, 10, 9 and 1 ½, each of them has something unique to offer. The little one cuddles and does all those cute, mesmerizing baby things. The 9 and 10-year-olds act silly and remind me how wonderful it is to have an imagination. The 14-year-old entertains me with teenage cynicism and intelligent conversation. I love them all to pieces.

And sometimes, I think they might be enough.

Being an aunt enables you to have children in your life without actually having the full responsibility. You get to enjoy them, then give them back to their parents. It's like all the good without the challenges. But then I wonder if this is like renting a convertible for the weekend. It’s a fun experience, but you don’t get to fully appreciate what it’s like to drive that sort of car every day. To feel the sun on your face after too many hours at the office, or smell the salt air as you’re cruising up the coast.

I feel so torn. So uncertain. Are nieces all I need? Or is a baby or two a necessity to round out my future?

I’ve been trying hard to reach a mental middle ground…and I think maybe I’ve found it.

It seems to me that the universe should decide what my path is. If I’m meant to have kids, I’ll have them. If I’m not, I won’t.

I used to think I would go through fertility treatments or adopt if I couldn’t get pregnant. But I think, now, I would just accept that as being my path. Accept that I’ve been given four beautiful nieces to guide and help raise.

I proposed this idea to Mr. W. He didn’t seem fully ready to let go and let the fates decide. But hopefully at some point, he will be. I’ve come this far with the good energy of the world looking out for me, I think I can lay my parental fate in those same hands. I think I can be at peace with whatever is meant to be.


laura said...

I'm not touching this one! good luck with t=whatever your decision is!!

SoMi's Nilsa said...

After my post last week, I'm glad to see you decided to publish yours. =) I hope you'll go revisit the comments left for me (some after you visited). As your first commenter suggested, no one can make this decision for you, but others can certainly raise valid points on both sides of the equation.

If I were sitting in your shoes, I'd ask myself a few questions. Can you live a fulfilling life into old age without your own children? If no, can you live a fulfilling life without Mr. W should he be firm in his no kids stance? And if he sways and you have children, would you be ok with a father who might be less involved than other fathers on the street (not suggesting that Mr W will be a bad father, but it's always a possibility that he might not take as much interest in some of the things other fathers do)? Go through all the scenarios and feel comfortable with where you stand. I have no doubt you'll figure out an amazing solution! And when you do, let me know! =)

Mel Heth said...

Laura - Come on! You're one of the people whose perspective I really want! Because you've made your decision.

Nilsa - I knew you'd have good advice. I think I will try spending some time thinking or writing about each scenario. It's hard to project into the future, though. I feel like I might just wake up one day with a time-bomb-ticking biological clock. But there's no way of predicting that.

Wow, that was awkward said...

I like your current outlook. Just because you decide you want kids, it doesn't mean you will be able to have them. You can't go wrong either way. Of course its important to agree if you are open to having kids, especially because it is certainly possible to make sure you never do.

You are a forward thinker. I like how you are always pondering the future. And yet you are willing to live in the moment too. Nice.

justrun said...

Funny you write this, or funny I read it at least. I was just thinking about this over the weekend. I spent about four hours at a friend's daughter's soccer tournament. It was fun, the weather was beautiful, we sort of tail-gated between games. Those are the times when I really have no reservations about the kid thing. It is a hard, but good life, being a parent, right?
But then, after the second game, the third wasn't for three more hours. At that point, I decided to leave and get some errands done. And they were stuck there, for three hours, doing nothing on a Saturday, because they are parents and that's what you do.
So I guess my point is yes, I see what you mean. I try not to think about it, either, and just hand it over to fate. But I'm hoping there will be a little clearer sign at some point, because I feel like I've always been so certain myself.

Mandy's Kidding said...

*Takes ten foot pole and walks eleven feet away from this blog*

Mel Heth said...

Wow TWA - I'm almost blushing. You're so complimentary today.

JustRun - I think maybe when you're "in it" it doesn't seem as bad. I hear when they're your own kids, it's easy to do whatever you need to do...I'm just not sure I'll ever make it to that point.

Mandy - COME ON! I KNOW you have something insightful and smart to say here. Lay it on me, sister.

brookem said...

this is a big one. if you feel like you could be happy, either way, then i think you know your answer. there's a lot of things to think about, but knowing you and how thoughtful you are, you will come to a decision that feels right.

Amy Turpin said...

You have to make that decision for yourself, and you need to make sure both of you are on the same page FOR SURE!!! Parenting is HARD work. It's every day, no holidays, no weekends, not a second that they aren't at least on your mind. But, they are the most wonderful blessing you can have in your life, but only if you really want and cherish them.

Big Sister said...

Maybe you should take your nieces for a couple of weeks at a time, to really get a feeling of what it would be like to have kids. I'll try the Oprah Magazine exercise on a Friday night. 30 hours just wasn't enough time for me to really miss them. Having said that, I wouldn't trade my cranky teenager, or my motormouth tweener for anything in the world.

thecoconutdiaries said...

As someone who has never had the instinct to mother, I have no advice other than to say giving up something you want for another thing that you want doesn't make you want the first any less. I can drink Diet Coke to make my ass smaller, but I still want Coke.

Make the decision for you, as if Mr. W was not in the picture, and see what your heart tells you.

julie desmeules said...

Perhaps I am just going through a rough patch, but lately I would give up my dream family life for a little adventure, some me time that's more than an hour here and there, just a little of what is used to be before... I love them more than anything, but there is no going back, no returning them when you are done. It's such a big question to ask yourself, just enjoy your life as it is and like you said, time will lead you in the right direction!

lori matukas said...

It feels to me from reading your posts that your heart already knows the answer but your mind is trying to convince you otherwise. Parenting is the hardest job I have ever had, but I wouldn't change it for the world (and this is coming from a person who did not plan on having any kids). I don't look forward to the early 5am wake up call by my 2 year old asking for apple juice, late nights where my daughter does not want to sleep, or screaming fits while I'm at a store. However, with all that said, just a smile on my little one's face makes it all worth it and melts my heart. I don't know any couples that regret having kids, only couples who don't.

What a tough spot to be in...yuck!

spleeness said...

I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog. I too have been grappling with this issue. Do I have kids or not? I actually went out & read "Maybe Baby" which details people in similar circumstances and how they felt afterwards. The consensus was, people are happy in life if they do what they want. If they want kids and have them, they're happy. If they don't want them and don't have them, they're happy.

I keep waiting for something to happen inside me that means I WANT this, because right now I don't feel the urge.

I'm worried that I'd suddenly realize I missed out when it was too late, but a wise lady once told me that everyone wonders about the path not taken. That calms me. I think I will be like you, ok with whatever happens. (Well, I hope so anyway.)