Do you recall the first time you contemplated the meaning of life? Pondered the various elements that came together in perfect harmony to form our existence? Realised the miraculous things of which our bodies are capable? Breathing, walking, peeing, orgasms; the list gets bigger and the discoveries more interesting as we age.
As humans, these questions lead us to start thinking about our intended purpose on this planet. Chief among them is, of course, our biological imperative to procreate.
Naturally, the assumption is that these thoughts are very different for men and women. I assume this, of course, because I am not a man.
Some of us know at a very young age that we are not destined to be baby-making machines; absent are the predilections that cause young girls to ooh and aah over tiny fingers and toes and sniff beautiful bald heads. When it came time to start taking baby-sitting gigs, there was better money to be made (and opportunities to tan) mowing lawns than listening to screaming children and changing poopy diapers.
As a young teenage girl, it was hard to share these thoughts with anyone. Naturally, the subconscious hope was that there were others out there who shared my opinions.
Enter young adulthood. Discussions that centered on children and families became more prevalent; most people seemed unquestioningly certain that they would have children.
This blind faith was dumbfounding.
Why did no one else seem to recognize that there was an option B? Was it biological? Did they get a memo? Was I emotionally and psychologically barren?
The only way I knew how to counteract this strange phenomenon was to tell everyone and anyone how much I thought babies sucked. Not surprisingly, this gave birth to the nickname “the baby hater”. For a long while, I was ok with that distinction. In fact, I revered this title because it meant that no one would ask me the dubious questions of when, how and under what circumstances I would procreate. My stance on the matter was very much public knowledge.
When you’re single everyone asks you when you are going to get married (for which the appropriate answer is: when I find a boyfriend, dickwad) and when you are married everyone asks you when you are going to have children. My long standing answer was always “I don’t believe in those things”. Most people don’t know what to do with that answer and generally shut their pie holes thereafter on the subject.
Entering full-blown adulthood, it started to become evident that most people were following some kind of a “life” roadmap. Get married by 25, buy a house at 27, have the first of 2.3 children shortly thereafter. 50% to get divorced at 35.
So, how does a young girl dare to find a man that would accept her lawn-mowing baby-hating ways and live happily ever after?
For this baby-hater it was simple: find a boy that likes boobs and video games so much that he can be distracted from the baby-making game. Eventually you will grow to discover that you share the same values and life ambitions and can easily and very happily have a life without a child. You make your own family and create a new roadmap.
Truth be told, there are countless reasons behind the decision to not have children. To make this kind of a life choice, it needs to be well thought out and calculated. My husband and I don’t succumb easily to familial or societal pressure to be or act a certain way. I’m also lucky enough to have, over the years, found a gaggle of girlfriends who also didn’t get the memo (phew I’m not a freak).
I have also been blessed with another handful of friends who have turned me gradually from the baby-hater that I was into the super aunty extraordinaire that I currently am. In the end, I was relieved to discover that I don’t hate babies at all; I just don’t want motherhood to be one of the many things that defines me.
Plus the big bonus in all this is I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy a vaganus.