The other night, I was sitting on the couch, and both kids were curled up on either side of me. They’d had whatever bug was going around and needed extra cuddles. But as I thought about how much I love my kids and that I’m so glad they’re here, it hit me at that moment how close I was to not having this life.
See, I didn’t grow up wanting kids. I never thought about it much. I never cared about playing with dolls. I babysat to earn money, but I stopped immediately as soon as I was old enough for a different kind of job. Having kids never seemed like it would fit into the other things I wanted in life, like traveling, going to college, having a nice house, and building a career.
I got married in my early 20s, and as I saw friends having kids, having a family still didn’t appeal to me. Also, I became more aware of issues like global warming, our flawed healthcare system, and the astronomical childcare costs in this county. Add a house full of Legos and dance recitals to all of that? Likely not.
But women are still largely expected to have kids. That way of thinking is improving as educational opportunities, and access to contraceptives give women more choices. However, the question unfortunately still gets asked: When are you going to have children?
For some people, parenting is their calling, so it’s an easy answer. I get that. But for many, many others – that calling isn’t there, or feelings may be mixed. There’s figuring out what you want and then if it’s even possible. It’s a lot to consider on top of the many problems we have in the world.
For me, life turned out to be full of surprises. The surprise is that I have two of the best things to ever happen to me – my son and daughter. My kids have made me appreciate the little things in life. They’ve taught me the meaning of overwhelming and unconditional love. I miss them when I’m not with them. We have the best times together as a family. And I’d step on a Lego or attend the world’s worst dance recital every day of my life to have them in my life.
While I’m so grateful and wouldn’t trade my kids for anything, I strongly believe that life with or without kids can both be wonderful. While I almost didn’t have this life, I’m certainly along for the ride and look forward to many more of life’s surprises.