[I wrote the opening sentences of the post like 5 times before I decided – let’s just jump into it.]
I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was a teenager, and had two surgeries around that before I was 17. Fast forward to a few years ago, and my doctor told me that if I wanted to have kids, I needed to start thinking about it. That whole adventure is really its own story, but an important intro for this, I think.
When I realized I needed to start thinking about whether I wanted kids, I took that to heart. The thinking part. I honestly think a lot of people just sort of go along with it. “Oh, when I have kids one day…”. It’s just something you say or assume you’ll do. Not that thought doesn’t go into to it, but it does seem to be an assumption of something that will happen, that everyone wants to happen. Or, some people just know. It’s never even a question. But I really don’t believe in making a major decision without thinking about the alternatives, and having a kid was no different.
While of course I know plenty of people with kids of varying age, I’m also lucky enough to have several women in my life who are child free (by choice). They all have their differences, of course. Some are single, some are married. Older than me, closer to my age. Women with strong careers, women with lots of hobbies. But they are all very dynamic, funny, and great people.
In all the conversations of mommy wars and having it all, nothing is like having real people who have just opted for a variety of different life choice when it comes to have kids. It made the idea of choices tangible – I could have a kid, I could not, I could adopt or not. I could have one in my twenties or wait however long I wanted. (I’m also lucky enough to know several moms who started “later in life”). All of these were options for me, and I had great examples of happiness for each. No stereotypes or horror stories of barren women crying over a bassinet or putting an adopted child on a plane to Russia. Everyone’s life is a little different, and there are so many ways to rock that. And let me tell you, these women are totally rocking that.
So when I thought about having a child, I didn’t just start with thinking about when. I really started from the ground up. What would life look like without one? With one? A baby? A teenager? And being able to visualize all the paths my life might take really made me feel solid in the choice we decided on.
Obviously we ultimately decided we wanted a baby, but I’m happy to have had all these different examples of families to think about. And I like knowing that my child will also know that there are so many ways to live their life.