Most people who know me in a real-world, not-voodoo-magical-internet context know that I have long declared my desire to remain childless, but - perhaps inevitably - I have been thinking about babies quite a bit the last couple of years ... okay, let's be honest - it's not been "quite a bit" but something more along the lines of A FREAKING BLOODY TON!! I say inevitably for several reasons: I'm getting older and know that the amount time I to actually make this choice is quickly dwindling, my family has accepted my childless state and therefore no longer gives me anything to rebel against by remaining so, practically every woman I know is or was recently or is actively trying to be pregnant, I'm making major life choices right now and need to decide if having children is indeed a desire ... you get the picture. Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm pining away on the couch hoping for the pregnancy fairies to fly through the window, it's not even that most of the time I think about the possibility of having children I actually want it to happen; I haven't made any kind of decision here, but rather I'm just thinking about the decision a lot. Do I or don't I want to have children? Honestly, most of the time I don't see it happening - not that I don't necessarily want it happen, but I just don't think it will. There are those times, however, that I seriously want nothing more than to get pregnant right this instant dammit! Luckily those are few and far between, and after several days of moping, crying in the shower and imagining how beautiful my child could be while she sleeps, I'm infinitely grateful that I'm a really consistent birth-control taker! There are simply so many reasons not to have kids (in no particular order):
1) Financial: children are really bloody expensive! And once you have 'em, you're in it for the long haul! I would want some sort of financial security if I were to have children, and let's face it - that isn't happening anytime soon! The hubs has at least 4 more years of school, and I have at least 2 more starting next year. Being two full-time students doesn't equate well to making/having/saving money! Nor does it leave much time to be a parent, which is my second point.
2) Time: Obviously, as mentioned above, being in school for several more years doesn't leave a lot of time for feedings, sleepless nights, changing poopy diapers ... you know, the general being-a-parent stuff. At this point neither M nor I are willing to give up school and career goals to raise children. This issue isn't settled once school is done however; this might sound selfish, but I really like my me-time and our us-time, and I simply don't know if I'm willing to give that up.
3) Environmental: A child brought up in America today will consume a disproportionate amount of the world's finite resources while at the same time creating more non-degradable trash than most people in the world. This is also tied with Overpopulation (which I'll call 3, subcategory A): America's population continues to increase, making it one of the only (the only?) "developed" country to do so. Most of Europe has reached replacement population growth (1 child per 1 adult), or negative growth! Additionally, there are SO many children in the world who need loving homes and parents - can I really justify bringing another life into the world, thereby increasing the population, when there are already so many children?
4) Biological: Everyone is born with a biological history - my child would be born with a fairly substantial history of severe depression on both sides of the family. This isn't to say, of course, that they absolutely would inherent this trait or tendency, but the chances are actually pretty good, and do I really want to be responsible for passing that down to a child? Perhaps a greater deterrent for me is the possibility of postpartum depression and my fear that my child will be raised by a depressed mother.
5) Auntie-hood: I really enjoy being an auntie - I have 3 nephews and 1 niece and feel pretty fulfilled by those children in my life. I usually don't feel like I'm missing children, because it's easy to go see them if I do, and of course I can give these children back when I'm exhausted or they have a dirty diaper.
Regardless of all these reasons to not have children though, sometimes I really want them! Chalk it up to an evolutionarily lagging biological clock, societal pressures and personal expectations, and pure damn curiosity, but regardless of how much I go over the reasons to not have kids, I usually picture my future with children in it, I catch myself saying, "when I have kids" and have to qualify it with a "I mean IF," I am occasionally torn in half, rather painfully actually, when I get my period - I'm happy because I know it's not the right time, and also mourn the loss of a child that never existed and have to consul myself with cake ...
HEY LOOK! THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU GET TO PARTICIPATE!! YAY!!
I don't expect answers, but I am curious about other people's decisions. Do you have children? Are you planning to? Why or why not? Is this is a decision made purposefully or did it just seem like the natural thing to do?