anxiety · children · family · parents · personal beliefs

No Kids For Me

As a child, I played house all the time with my Barbie dolls. I had several lifesize baby dolls and I carried around one of them with me everywhere. I liked cradling the doll like a real baby and feeding her a fake bottle to mimic pseudo milk going into her plastic mouth but that was as far as I went with being maternal.

Real babies scare me. Once I had a babysitter during my early junior high school years (grades 6-9 when I was 10-13 years old). She brought over her infant grandson to care for while also being at home with me (after I finished school for the day). She didn’t have him in one of those portable baby rockers for infants to sit/lie down in, and she actually put him on his back on the sofa after she left the room. I was there at a nearby table doing my homework and stayed away from the baby. He was wriggling and squirming but I felt too uncomfortable to even go near him. I thought, What a burden, this little thing can’t do anything on its own. Watching with a wary eye, I then went back to my assignment assuming the babysitter would be back in a flash.

Instead, I looked up to catch the sight of the baby rolling away from the sofa. It happened too fast for me to intervene. He dropped with a thud onto the ground. It was an awful sound. His painfully loud wailing seemed to echo off the walls, in contrast to my own deafening silence. Too shocked to move, I sat frozen. Moments later the babysitter rushed back in to pick up and soothe the infant. His head was fine though it took a while for his cries to subside. A wave of shame washed over me. Back then I was embarrassed at my hesitancy in acting quickly. I don’t know if I could have helped if I had the chance to do it over again.

I still have an aversion to children. Whenever my mom’s relatives came over with their kids, my mom often tried to make me play with the children. I hated it. One time in summer school around 4th grade, I finished my work early and another teacher came asking around for a student or two who could chaperone her students for a little bit. The kids were too rowdy for a timid person like me. It was such a bad experience I spent the rest of my summer classes purposely taking longer with my classwork, so every time the same teacher came looking for a chaperone, someone else got picked to go. Then there were my high school years when my dad made me babysit one of my younger cousins. It was very awkward.

I think my discomfort with children is linked to my own childhood experiences. I don’t know how to interact or talk to little kids without treating them like delicate glass because that’s how my parents interacted with me when I was little. They treated me like I constantly needed to be cautioned on danger but also like I was just another mouth to feed. To this day I don’t know if there is a “correct” label for what I feel the problem was; their culture or their parenting style. Maybe both.

Only after I grew up and got more immersed in U.S. culture and lifestyle, I was surprised there was such a thing as parents actually talking to their children about their hobbies and interests and vice versa. I was a shy kid that would’ve benefited from receiving more encouragement to talk and more individualized attention. My parents never really did that with me. I think it was hard for them because they just didn’t know how else to help me except to hope I would grow out of my shyness. Even now about more than 80% of what my parents mainly talk to me about is food, which may sound bizarre, but if you come from a family where your parents were immigrants to a new country, you might get what I mean.

Missing out on the kind of nurturing I felt I could have had, I look at myself today in the present that could have been different. More confident, less scared. Going through the turmoil of childhood and knowing from firsthand experience how a child can be impacted by their parents even when they try to hide things or act normal, it’s why I can’t imagine myself being a mother. I wouldn’t be able to handle the guilt of not giving my what-if child the perfect life.

Also let’s not forget what things are needed to have a child in the first place too, lol, which doesn’t align with how I want my life. I don’t want a nuclear family with a husband or unmarried partner and a baby bouncing at my hip. I get lonely, but it’s a mixture of wanting to belong somewhere and wanting genuine human connection without the confusion of infatuation/lust/flirtation. Plus I have a particular personality type, in that I do long for social time with people I care about spending time with, but I also need lots of downtime on my own. Having a partner and/or child constantly around all the time would drive me crazy. I have enough trouble taking care of myself, how could I be responsible for other people?

Secondly is I am not sure I can realistically see myself being physically intimate with anyone. Not only the act itself but actually sharing my body comfortably with the intention of pregnancy. I have the parts for babymaking but I doubt I will ever put them to use. It might appear to you the reader that I wrote this part easily, however, it’s embarrassing to admit since it’s so personal to me.

A dark thought I have sometimes is pondering how my life would’ve been if I was born in another era where a woman’s only worth was to marry and bear children. My dad’s mother lived such a life; she was arranged an marriage and only saw her husband for the first time on their wedding day. I am glad I have a choice unlike her, though it is bittersweet to know I exist today because things in the past happened as they did. On a more superficial level, I do feel an unnecessary kind of guilt for ending the family line. “Unnecessary” because it seems natural to marry and have kids yet I don’t have any desire for either.

6 thoughts on “No Kids For Me

  1. I’ve had very conflicting emotions about babies…they just always seemed more work than joy, and as I’m not good with people anyway, why would I want to bring another into the world?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel the same way, Nat. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve always said I didn’t want children and I never changed my mind. When my nephew was born last October I was scared to death of holding him and dropping him. He felt so fragile and helpless and I didn’t want the responsibility of his life literally in my hands. However, now that he’s 10 months old and I’ve spent a lot of time with him that anxiety has completely disappeared and I feel 100% comfortable with him. I’m still not a natural at entertaining him like my dad is, but I’m not as awkward as I used to be.

    Still, as much as I love the kid, he’s only reinforced my stance of never wanting children. Seeing the amount of energy that is required to care for such a small human, the constant noise it produces and attention it requires, it is beyond exhausting. My brain requires too much downtime and me-time and silent time for that. And I feel like there’s a good chance I would pass on my anxiety to my child if I had one. That, I would never wish upon another person so I would never make one if I didn’t feel like I could make it happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to hear you get along and can play with your nephew. I don’t know if my brother will ever have kids, but it’s possible if I ever do become an aunt, I think I could get to the point of being okay with babysitting the child but would definitely still want to return the kid to his/her parents at the end of the day, lol.

      I completely agree with having me time/down time away from noise and activity. I also am afraid my kid would inherit my anxiety because I see I got my anxiety from the kind of early childhood nurturing that my parents did and did not give me. I wouldn’t want my child to suffer like I did.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I knew someone once who had no desire for children, so there will be others out there too, all with different reasons.
    I hope you feel some comfort from sharing your story, knowing you are not alone. Certainly don’t be embarrassed.

    The intimacy side I wouldn’t do again. But this is down to what happened to me, that I know I will never be like that again. I won’t allow it.
    As for children, I wanted one and I felt my 30’s was the right time, but given the circumstances I now know, it’s a good job that never happened and I wonder with what has happened since, if that’s for the best for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too know other people too who don’t want kids. Everyone is different. Some people find it fulfilling to be parents and have their own kids to love and teach them. More power to them.

      Intimacy has a vulnerability to it that I am not sure is for me. In theory it sounds nice. But the portrayal of intimacy on tv and in movies, no matter how real they try to make it, seems to have a fictional gloss to it that is fantasy, especially thinking about the voyeuristic aspect where we as the audience are watching it. So time and time again I wouldn’t know if real intimacy can be as sweet and meaningful as some depictions of it are.

      I do wonder “what if” someday I change my mind about kids. I could, but maybe I would still be too unwilling to reconfigure my life to fit a child in mine.

      Liked by 1 person

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