On Having Babies

So, motherhood.

I am an almost 32-year-old woman without children. I have been married for over 6 years, my husband and I are financially sufficient to support a child, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I am CONSTANTLY bombarded with images, verbiage, and other forms of communication about our lack of children and if we are planning on having one any time soon.

I love kids, I truly do. I started babysitting at age 11 and have always found children to be entertaining, inspiring, and thoughtful.

I have also found them to be annoying, loud, and stressful. As a woman, I think the most common question I have received since turning 15 is, “when are you going to have babies?” I understand that almost everyone who has asked this has asked from a place of love, excitement, or curiosity.

Yet I can’t help to question the sincerity and selfishness of these inquiries. How would they know we aren’t trying? How would they know if we are unable to have children? How would they know I had an abortion because I wasn’t ready to be a mother?

When I think of motherhood, I think of the incredible women I have had as examples in my life. My mother was the primary breadwinner of our family. My father was a stay-at-home dad and he did a fantastic job raising his three daughters.

I grew up in an “ass-backward” experience and was raised being told over and over that I could do whatever I want and could be whomever I chose. It was up to me to define myself and my life path. I was so incredibly fortunate to have been raised in this household.

I am a strong female, I will not be dictated to, and I will only ever do what I choose with MY body.

I was put on birth control at 14. My hormones were out of control and my periods were unbearable. I took that pill religiously when I was young because I knew it would make me feel better each month.

After age 19, I took that pill religiously because I knew it would prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I met my husband and was married after my 25th birthday. I continued to take my pill because we weren’t ready to be parents.

My birth control failed me and I found myself pregnant at 27 while on the pill. I was married; we could have supported a child, and I had only one thought, “I’m not ready to be a mother.” I had an abortion. My husband and I chose this together and it is one of the best things I have ever done for myself and my marriage. No woman should be forced to have a child they aren’t capable of supporting emotionally, physically, or financially.

You may be asking, but Betsy, what about now? You’re 31, almost 32! Your days of having children are numbered; don’t you feel your ‘biological clock’ ticking?!

I am the daughter of a physician and a mortician, a daughter of science, shall we say. To your questions of my ‘biological clock’: evolution is the drum that beats within each of us to procreate and continue a successful line. Do I feel the pangs of wanting a child?

Yes, yes I do.

When I have those pangs do I step back and let my husband know that evolution is calling my name?

Yes, yes I do.

I married a scientist whose specialty is genetics. This may be the worst person you could marry and then consider having children with after age 35. I don’t mean him personally, I mean that his brain is wired to consider EVERY SINGLE DETAIL that could go wrong, and then let me know about it.

With all of that said, within the last 10 days (this was written 5/17/18), there has been a minor shift in our world. Forever I thought that if we had children, we would need to have two. We both grew up with siblings and I think most have heard the tales of why only children are the worst.

I took a step back and really considered what would happen if we only had one. Our child doesn’t have to be an asshole. We could do a good job of ensuring that he or she is well-rounded.

So now we find ourselves thinking about it in the most serious terms to date. My thoughts and concerns about the actuality of pregnancy and children will be saved for another day and another post.

I would leave you with this: if you don’t want to have children, great! If you are struggling to conceive, please don’t give up. Those that fight the hardest are meant to be excellent parents. If you are currently pregnant, you are a goddess. You are growing a human being inside of you and that is something special that I can’t explain in details…yet.

Finally, if you are pregnant and don’t want to be: you are not alone. You are not a bad person if you don’t want to be a parent. This is the time to be selfish and you need to ALWAYS do what is best for you.

Ignore those that are yelling as loud as they can against you, regardless of who they are. Your body is your choice and anyone who says otherwise probably has a penis. You deserve the opportunity to live your best life and I know you will do so with or without a child.

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Betsy Page

Betsy came to Bloomington from Seattle, WA when her husband accepted a faculty position at IU. A CrossFit loving, amateur baker and cook, she spends her free time testing recipes with her husband, Gabe. They spend weekends finding new things to love about Bloomington and spoiling their fur children, Roxy, Cora, Mario, and Iguana.

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