Apr 22, 2008

nulliparous

Posted by Mary |

***Warning***
For your own health, do not read this blog entry.
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Seriously, we are entering into the TMI zone.
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No, for real. I'm going to talk about things like cervixes.
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Well to hell with you, then. You were warned.

Of all the things I'll miss about my ex-boyfriend, I think I'll miss the vasectomy the most. No, it's not a dignified way to start this post. Please reference the above warnings. Anyway, neither of us had any desire for children. Zero. Zip. Zilch. And other words meaning "none" that begin with a Z. In the end, though, he made the decision and I just reaped the benefits.

Back on the single scene, I find myself jumping through hoops. The first hoop is the whole do-you-ever-want-children issue. Because I'm not looking for a relationship, but it makes no sense for me to get involved with anyone with long-term potential if we disagree on this one very big issue. I am 30 years old. I do not want children. People tell me that I am too young to make such a decision, and that I will change my mind. I say: Bullshit. I'm pretty sure that when a 21-year-old breeder announces that she loves kids and wants to have, like, four, no one tells her that she is too young and will change her mind. In our society, it is acceptable to want kids, but unacceptable to not want them. Why?

I believe the prevailing idea is that it's selfish of me not to want kids. Somehow my greatest gift to give this world comes from my uterus, not my brain. I'm told that children are my legacy, that they will take care of me when I'm old, that I will never know greater love than the love of a parent for a child. I happen to think that my talents are greater than the ability to conceive, and that I might leave this world with some other legacy. Perhaps I'll design a kick-ass font. All I know is that I don't think I need to contribute to the genetic pool in order be remembered after I am gone. And I can't hold out hope for children taking care of me in my old age. This is America. This is why we have nursing homes and the state of Florida. How often do you really hear about elderly folks moving in with their children? By the time I'd need them, my kids would be busy raising families of their own to take advantage of the obvious opportunity to get revenge for their upbringing. And as for love? Well, I have been well and truly loved in my life. My parents put up with more shit from me than they should have, but they loved, love and will continue to love me. I have a sister who has been there for me for 30 years even when we hated each other, and a brother-in-law who makes me happy because he makes her happy. I've had boyfriends who loved me and friends who loved me and a cat who is kind of whorish and will love anyone, but I secretly believe that she loves me above all others. And in return, I have loved back. If you've ever been the object of my love (or even my affection), you know that there is nothing I won't do for people I care about. I will drop everything (including a cooking project) and go pick up a friend who had her heart broken, then force her to crash a party at the Curling Club because it will cheer her up. I will defend my friends' rights to speak their minds and maintain their opinions, even when they completely conflict with my own. I will be the one who comes to visit you when you cannot leave the house. In short, once you are inside the inner circle, you can count on me when you need me.

So if it's not love and not a legacy and not security, then what is it that drives people to reproduce? I think that it's often selfishness, or an attempt to correct another area in their life where they are unhappy. I don't expect this opinion will be popular. Many of my opinions are not. But I've always thought that people need to be truly happy as a single person before they get into a relationship. It therefore follows that people should be truly happy in a relationship before they add another person to that relationship. But this is often not the case. Babies don't keep couples together - they drive couples apart. I know of friends who seemed to have the ideal relationship until they had kids, and now they bicker. A child is a physical, mental and financial strain, and if you're not strong enough to deal with it, the strain will break you.

As far as my reasons for not wanting kids, they're pretty simple. 1) I don't like kids. 2) Kids would negatively impact my chosen lifestyle.

I really don't like kids. They cry and poop and puke, often all at the same time. When a baby cries, my womb does not twinge. I do not think that someone needs to find out what's wrong and comfort the baby. I do think that someone needs to stop the crying. Several of my friends have kids, and I imagine that as I age more of them will join in. My friends' kids are OK. I can handle them in small doses. When they cry, I can hand them back or I can leave. They're also made up of approximately 50% genetic material that I have already approved of. And I think my sister will pop a few kids out sometime soon. In fact, I hope she does. I will give those kids Pixie sticks taller than they are, and noisemaking toys, and make them run in lots of circles, and then give them back. No, seriously, let me babysit them! To recap: Kids of friends and family = OK. Kids of people I don't know = likely to work my nerves.

And I know that "my chosen lifestyle" sounds all gay. But the fact is that if I had children, I'd have to constantly put their needs and desires before my own. I'd have to buy a house in a good school district and save my money for orthodontic work. I wouldn't be able to run away to foreign countries for weeks at a time. I'd have to utter phrases like "Make your poopies in the potty." I'd have to make my life revolve completely around theirs. And I just can't do that. Not now. Not ever. I am a person who craves alone time. Who enjoyed having the house all to myself for the weekend because it allowed me to get some thinking done. Who needs privacy and quiet.

So those are my arguments against kids, and the reasons why I look for men who do not want kids. But finding a man who doesn't want kids is only part of the problem. There's also the second hoop. Remember the whole vasectomy issue? Well, without such drastic measures, sex is fraught with land mines. Condoms are the sanest choice, since they also provide protection against diseases. But condoms can break. Or in the heat of the moment, you can forget. I know, I know, I can hear your lectures from here. Let's not pretend this is an ideal world, OK? This is the real world, and shit happens. And when it does, it leaves me in a bad spot. I can't do hormonal birth control. I'm crazy enough as is. But the fear of pregnancy is always, always on my mind. And having had to take Plan B recently has made me realize that I need a long-term solution. Ironically, despite all my arguments against having children, I'd have to persuade doctors to have a tubal ligation. People still think I might change my mind. So yesterday I met my new best friend, Mirena, aka the Baby Blocker 2.5.

And now we truly get into the TMI. Because, yes, I got an IUD. I got one because, no, I do not want children. And I'm at home today because, dear God, it hurts. I knew going in that the insertion would be painful. I didn't know that it would cause me to nearly pass out, or to lose all feeling in my face, or would make my ears vibrate, or make me shake uncontrollably on the table for a few minutes. I unfortunately didn't know I'd need more than just my health insurance card to get my Vicodin prescription filled. I didn't know that the pain would continue the next day. And despite all that, I'm still glad I did it. Thanks to a state-sponsored program, I only paid $150, which works out to less than $3 a month for the next five years, which is how long it will last.

So now that birth control is off my mind (and forever lodged in yours if you ventured this far into the post), I can stop worrying about babies and start worrying about other things. Like the fact that the guy I started dating a month ago has become my boyfriend. And that scares me, but not as much as the fact that he's not planning on staying in the state. Knowingly getting involved in a relationship with an expiration date is not a good idea. I am aware of the fact. But I can't ignore the way he makes me feel when I am around him. There was an instant sense of ease around him. Things are effortless, even though, on paper, there's a lot of effort involved right now. I imagine there will be more posts and more angst over this man in the future.

2 comments:

Julie said...

Reading your entry makes me realize that I never really tell how I'll feel in the future. I've been back and forth on the kids issue...it usually depends on my state in life (partners, finances, etc.). Maybe that would make me a weaker candidate for parenthood, as I've never been one of those "I want children or I'll die" kinds of people. That said, I really appreciate your point about a 21-year old not being told that someday she'll change her mind someday.

Archeobot said...

Hey,
I know exactly how you feel, i'm just as frustrated with people's attitudes and the whole birth control issue. I've gotten in fights with doctors about the tubal, but I'm determined to find one who will do it. Especially after 16+ years on hormones and all the freaking side effects. I've had it. I've also had it with people implying somehow that I am broken or deluded for not wanting children (I've known since forever and never wavered). Ugh. Now if I can just get insurance...

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