Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Am I missing something?

The weekend was just beautiful and Jason and I had a lovely time visiting his family back east and attending the wedding of his best friend since the tender age of 13. Jason looked so debonair in his tux (pictures are coming), and his toast was short, sweet and a big hit. I think the bride and groom will have many happy years ahead of them. L’Chaim!

A few conversations this weekend (with persons who shall remain anonymous) got me to thinking about a topic that seems to be one of those “big” decisions in life. That is, to procreate, or not to procreate, that is the question. I have always leaned more towards the “not” in regard to that question. I realize I am only 26 and I very well might feel differently about that at 46, but let’s just say I am firmly in the “no babies” camp for at least the foreseeable future with the possibility of extending that to forever. I find it very interesting how so many people find that position so incredibly odd, some even seem to think there must surely be something wrong with me. I mean, throughout much of human history having children may have been pretty much the sole aspiration for most women, but aren’t we past that now? I thought what with women being allowed out of the house to attain education and hold employment and own property and all that jazz, that maybe we could let go of that whole barefoot and pregnant thing. Of course I’m being tongue in cheek here and I certainly don’t begrudge anyone their right to have as many children as they want so long as they will provide and care for those children financially/emotionally/intellectually/spiritually/etc. In fact, I am glad so many people seem to find themselves up to the task because I find it so mind-blowingly frightening that I’m not sure it’s something I will ever want to attempt. If populating the world were up to me, extinction would be a distinct possibility.

I know there are positives to having children (from what I hear). The pride and joy you feel in nurturing this little being and seeing them grow, and reliving childhood through their eyes, and someone to look out for you in your golden years, and yadda yadda yadda. I know there are parents out there that seem to define their very own existence by their children, and who seem very happy about that. And to be honest, that scares the living crap out of me. Oh, and let’s not forget about the actual process where you have to carry another human being around inside of you and then it actually has to come out of you in the well known and none too pleasant ways of childbirth. It is safe to say if I ever do find my maternal instincts and decide I want to raise a little person, I will be adopting.

I am not ready to put someone else before me at all times, no matter what. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Once you have a blessed bundle of joy, all that goes right out the window. I guess I admire people who seem so willing to give it all up, and I guess I don’t understand it either. Am I missing something? Perhaps I’ll never know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Shannon,

Interesting comments. But, you say you are not ready to put someone else before you at all times, no matter what. But, isn't that what you do with your dog? As pet owners of difficult pets I know we don't always get to do what we want.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Shananigans said...

Thanks for bring that up anon. That is very true, and I thought about including that in my post but didn’t want to get too off topic. Truth is, I really resent the fact that I can’t be off doing as I please 12 hours a day without a care in the world. But I made a commitment when I adopted my dog, and though I love him dearly as I do I often hate the fact that I am tied down by that responsibility. At least he is a dog and will not be emotionally scarred by the fact that I resent him at times. And honestly having a dog, even one with severe separation anxiety, isn’t nearly the same level of responsibly as having an infant. People will call the police on you if you leave your baby alone to bark at the door all day. Good thing I don’t have children ;)

2:46 PM  
Blogger Carrie™ said...

Well I've made it to 42 and I still don't want children. I know, I must be a freak! What kind of a female am I? It should be my heart's desire. I had a co-worker one time say she just couldn't understand why I didn't have any children. In her words "Children complete you." Well, my life is pretty full and complete right now thank you very much. Some people are utterly stunned when I say I have no children. "You don't?! You ARE married, aren't you?" What the hell does that have to do with anything. And frankly, it's nobody's business if I want to or not or my reasons behind it. I make the decisions for my life and this is one I made. I'm living with it just fine. Why can't everyone else?

3:15 PM  
Blogger Carrie™ said...

I also wanted to mention, after reading your 100 things about you list, I dug out mine. I had started it on my old computer about 8 months ago and saved what I had to disc and haven't looked at it since. When I started reading through it, I found a lot of my points similar, if not the same, to yours. Crazy! We seem be quite a bit alike. (the topic of this post included) Anyhow, I'll post mine when I get it finished. Might be fun for you to compare.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Valerie said...


Just the other day, my BFF's boss asked me if I brought her back any gifts from Denver. BFF said "I don't get gifts anymore, Diego gets all the gifts now." I shook my head "true".

Sorry, but I"m not willing to give up MY gifts yet. Call me what you will. I'm just being honest.

3:59 PM  
Blogger KleoPatra said...

Very interesting post! And the comments thus far, also captivating my attention. I am childless at the moment at age 40 and probably won't have kids. I don't think about it much either. I love my dog and I don't mind her as a "burden," though I hate having to ask my family to watch her when I go away for extended periods of time (though they don't seem to mind).

It's just my opinion here, but I don't find it odd or bad or anything negative, Shan, for a woman to not choose to have children. I have two sisters, one with 10 kids (the Orthodox Jewess) and the other with two (from 2 diff. men) and I love being an aunt.

What you wrote rings very true to me. Maybe someday I will have kids, maybe someday I still won't.

"It's my body and I'll do what I want to, do what I want to..." (sung to the old song, "It's My Party," if you know it...)

Either way, it's like the "pro-choice" vs. "pro-non choice" folks out there... seems like there's no grey area for peeps. That makes me sad.

6:10 PM  
Blogger funwithyourfood said...

I am with you on this one. I'm only 23 and I don't want kids. It makes me feel odd too b/c I know a lot of people who do want them and say their "biological clock" is ticking. Mine must be broke


7:31 AM  
Blogger Tanya Kristine said...

amen sister X2! i'm 40 and i am very glad i did not have kids.

and my friends that do have kids DO love them but sometimes envy my freedom. i admit; i'm VERY selfish and i do not want to give my time, money, attnetion and total life to another and i would if i had a child. but looking at my mom who should have NEVER had children, you'd better be pretty selfless to do a good job.

and me too Shanani with the dogs. sometimes i wish i could just drop them off somewhere for 2 weeks and enjoy my freedom. in fact, last weekend i could not go to Feather Falls with KEvin becuase i would have had to leave the dogs alone all friday night (not a bad thing; they have constant water in the toilet AND a dog door to pee whenever they want) ad then my friend mentioned she didn't want to spend the night saturday night which pissed me off. bottom line; it was too stressful to me to leave, enjoy myself knowing my dogs were less that taken care of well.

but at LEAST i do have the option. with kids, you do not.

no thanks.

and i'm damn happy about my choice.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

you're only missing something if you think you are.

10:47 PM  
Blogger vegancore said...

I'm very much in the same position as you. I've never wanted kids. Ever. My family says I started saying so when I was 5 or 6 years old. I have 6 brothers and sisters and 9 (soon to be 10!) nieces and nephews, plus 3 from my boyfriend's family. I've been around kids all my life, and I've never really liked them very much. The idea of having to care for and entertain someone else 24 hours a day, to put their needs and wants ahead of my own, to basically relinquish my right to function as an individual human being is... well, pretty damn terrifying. I'm a very solitary person. I require vast quantities of alone time. Not even being able to take a 10-minute shower when I want to, or read a book, or take a walk would drive me batshit crazy.

And that's no even taking into account the financial side of things. Which, yeah, I can't even afford myself right now, let alone a kid. And what about the general state of the world today? It's not a place I'd want to bring kids into. Shit, it's not a place I want to be myself.

I recognize the rewards that parenthood can bring. I've seen them firsthand. But I've also seen one of my sisters try to have a life of her own, and have it negatively affect everyone involved. The other devotes herself entirely to her kids and never stops running them from one lesson or class to another. One of my brother's children is severely autistic, and the strain and heartbreak they go through every day is unimaginable.

It's just too much, all of it. I like my cat. She's much simpler. Plus I'll never have to put her through college or find out that she's slutting it up around town, the little hussy.

Yeah, I just went on for way too long. Sorry about that. This is a topic that gets me going every time, though.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

I think it's great that more and more women do not want to have children. It is a HUGE responsibility... to bring people up and not screw them up.

I don't get why people have such an issue with women who choose not to become parents.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Shananigans said...

I kind of expected I wasn’t alone here, but it’s great to read all your comments. And I agree that people really shouldn’t make it any of their business whether or not other people want to raise children. Nothing could be more presumptuous or obnoxious. And why do parents pressure their own children for grandbabies? Do they really expect their kids to pump out little ones just for their grandparenting pleasure? I’m pretty lucky that my own parents haven’t said a word to me in that regard, but they have 5 kids so I guess the pressure’s off me.

And it’s a huge responsibility, you have to be selfless enough and competent enough to not screw it up. Hell, some parents seem to do everything just about right and still have messed up kids. I couldn't risk it.

Melody and Vicki, I’m sure y'all are the finest examples of how parenting should be done. You obviously care deeply, you’re raising kids with a social conscience and no one can say your families don't eat like (veggie) kings. Actually, will you be my mom? ;)

3:15 PM  
Blogger Dori said...

I think the decision is totally personal and either decison is right! I have a sister who is 42 with no children and she loves my two dearly. My other sister is a single parent with one child, whose total motivation for that child (now a selfish and cruel teenager) was selfish and wrong. I wish she would not have children.

I can see you are a friend to many, you have a blog that is fun to read, you are making a socially consious and positive impact on the world and if that is the legacy you leave behind then that is what will be. Many great women in history were not mothers of the flesh and blood kind of babies.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Commenting a day late on this one Shannon, but I wanted to get my 2 cents in as this has been a hot topic for us...well, actually it's a hot topic for other people about us, but that's the problem.

I don't want kids. I'm not ready. I'm not sure if I'll ever be ready. Heck, Ryan and I have been together for almost 13 years now and we still aren't ready to get married (actually, we don't feel the need to get married).

I feel like I've already had 3 kids - I raised my 2 sisters and brother since I was 10 years old. I'm finally getting to be friends with my siblings instead of being their "mother". I'm only 27!

However, part of me wants to see what Ryan and I can create and shape. We are a smart and caring couple, but we have so many other things we want to accomplish first.

We are busy enough without the kids and really loving life. I don't see any reason to change it at this point. Maybe in 10 years if I'm sitting around twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do, then it will be time. But, I'm not so sure.

Thanks for the post - it allowed me to get some of my thoughts straight in your comment section :) :)


1:13 PM  

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