From the time I was very little, I never wanted to get married or have children. I knew this, deep down, with everything I was. In fact, as I got a little older, and my father made comments about how I would be a “good wife” when I cooked a dish or something similar, I got very angry. I simply didn’t want to be seen as “wife material.” I can’t explain why this is. I don’t know what was going on inside my young psyche to have such a strong reaction to a role that every other girl I knew seemed to desire so wholeheartedly. Friends and family learned early on never to give me dolls as gifts. They went straight into the trash. Lincolon Logs, Tinker Toys, Leggo, Erector Sets, microscopes, butterfly nets and huge boxes of crayons and modeling clay were more my speed. Starting at age 4 when my first brother came along, I began running around after kids and I didn’t like it. At all. One of the reasons I begged to get a job when I was 15 was to save myself from the agony of babysitting. I would have happily gone out and dug ditches to avoid the whining of little kids. I didn’t have many nicer things to say about kids my own age, either.
So, given all this, I’m kind of surprised that it has taken me this long to realize where a lot of my angst, frustration and recent dissatisfacton have been coming from. It’s easy to look at the obvious, that E is here, that it’s put a wedge between G and me, that there’s added financial and scheduling pressure, all those things. All those things are true, but those are not the core issue. That goes deeper and it’s only been in the last few months that I realized what it was.
Wanting what no one else understands or not wanting what everyone else thinks they want and what the whole of societ tells you you SHOULD want is very hard. It’s hard to continually stand up and say, No, I don’t want to have children. I don’t like children. I don’t like being around children. I don’t want to be responsible for another human being for the rest of my life. No. No. No. Because everyone…even other people who may have felt as you do at one time…spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince you that you are wrong…that you, in fact, do want what you so adamantly know in your gut that you don’t want. It’s hard to keep your conviction. It’s hard to continue to beleive that you know yourself better than the rest of the world knows you. It’s incredibily difficult to put your own needs and desires ahead of someone you care about and who supposedly cares about you.
Bottom line. I was blackmailed into getting pregnant. My ex-husband threatened to hurt the rest of my family if I didn’t shut up, get off birth control and get pregnant. I suppose he had talked to his lawyer (I will never know this for certain, but I’m pretty sure this is what happened) and the lawyer said that if he “had a family” it would look better in court. And there you have it.
So, I was scared. I have never been good a making waves. I have always been the “good girl”, the responsible child, the A student. All that is fine, but it didn’t prepare me to be vocal about what I wanted. I didn’t know what I wanted. So when the time came and I should have stood up for myself and should have put ME and what I knew about myself first, I couldn’t. I simply couldn’t. I wasn’t brave enough. I didn’t value my own self enough. I let myself down in every way possible. I let myself down in ways I hope I would never let anyone I cared about down. I let myself be bullied into making the most life changing decision a person could ever make. I let other people have that power over me. I let society’s messages speak louder than my own true inner voice.
And that’s what makes me so sad. Not the actual decision, not the years of doing a job, managing a responsiblity that I never wanted in the first place. I sucked it up and continue to and I honestly try to do the best that I can. But it’s the self betrayal that eats away at me. And it’s taken me this long to realize that’s what it is.
So, after all this, I beg of anyone who reads this…if a young person or maybe a not so young person, a single person, anyone says to you, “I don’t think marriage and/or parenthood is right for me,” Please, for the love of GOD and everything you hold dear, please do not try to convince them otherwise. Please, just don’t. Please just encourage them to listen to their own inner voice for what they really want and are sure about. Because if they listen to that voice, if they are encouraged to listen to it by people they love and trust, they cannot go wrong.