When I was growing up I thought I had it all figured out – college, internship, career, marriage, house, kids – in that precise order. I used to fantasize about my dream wedding and what the gender of my future children would be. Whenever I would hear a name I liked I would write it down to remember it for when the time came. Like I said, all this happened when I was young and naive. My childhood mindset was that those were the typical stages that every person went through. But the thing is, as we grow up our mindset alters based on the experiences we have. We look at the lives of those around us and observe their levels of happiness. Is their life the kind of life we want for ourselves? Do we want to spend our lives committed to one person in the bond of marriage? Do we want to make endless, selfless sacrifices for our children?
I’ve realized, recently, that all these big life choices are going to be made in my twenties. I’m a 22-year-old female, which genetically programs me to think ahead and obsess about the future. There’s so much pressure in our society to make your life as worthwhile as possible. You’re told to find your perfect soulmate; have an unforgettable wedding and perfect marriage; and then raise children who will make a beneficial impact on society. Then you start to wonder – what if I don’t want to include everything on the list in my life? Can I still have a fulfilling life without one of the items on the list? Like children?
Lately, I’ve wondered if I even want to have children. I have several close friends who are getting married at my age, and then after they’ve tied the knot they’re instantly ready to start cranking out kids! I know that the desire to start a family is tied to a biological clock. I’ve heard that once you get married there’s an internal biological alarm that starts ringing as if to say, “Time to have a baby Amy! You’re ready to be a mother now!” I just can’t imagine that clock ever buzzing, and I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t. I imagine finding and marrying the man of my dreams and spending my life blissfully with him, but kids? I’m just not so sure.
Don’t get me wrong, the gift of life is a beautiful thing! I just don’t know if it’s for me. Every time I see a child nowadays they’re often misbehaving in some way, and I’m left thinking – “Ew, gross.” Whether it’s a child sitting in the church pew crying in front of me or running down the store aisle screaming in laughter, I just don’t know if I’d want to subject my life to a series of endless sacrifices. I’d also be fearful that I would make a terrible mother, but that’s an extremely premature thought to have for someone who just finished college. I just hope if and when that biological clock goes off I’ll be willing to accept it as the next stage of my life.