Day 158 – I don’t want kids. Really.

First, let me start off by saying, I love children. This post isn’t about whether I love or hate children. I’m happy to babysit other people’s children. I get along with them. I even like going to children’s birthday parties (as long as there is a healthy supply of beer). I can understand why people want them. It’s just not for me. There. I said it.

A few weekends ago, Jeff and I attended my mother’s party for our post-wedding celebration where Jeff and I didn’t know 95% of the guests. It’s a Korean mother thing. There will be a long blog on the “Korean mother thing” in the future – stay tuned.

The typical conversation with my mother’s friends (most of whom I’ve never met) went something like this.

Mother’s friend: “Hello, so nice to meet you. Congratulations.” (Bows.)
Me: “It’s so nice to meet you too. Thank you” (Bows deeper.)
Mother’s friend: (Bowing even deeper.) “Husband is very handsome.”
Me: (Bowing now even deeper. Looking like I’m practicing a yoga move.) “Oh, you are too kind.”
Mother’s friend: “So, when are you going to have children.”
Me: “Oh, we aren’t planning on having children.”
Mother’s friend: Long silencewalks away.
End Scene.

I struggle with this have/not have children debate in my head. When I hang out with friends who have children, I try to imagine my life inside theirs. I see how amazing children are. I see the joy. But I also see the diaper changes, 2 AM (4 AM, 6AM) feedings. The cost of having children – emotional and financial. And I just can’t see myself doing it.

Part of me thinks it would be so much easier if I can just go with the standard practice and wanted children. I wouldn’t get the awkward silence, or raised eyebrows. I wouldn’t have my mother who just can’t help herself from bringing it up in every conversation. It would be easier to fit in and get along.

Then there is the internal struggle. I see little baby hands or feet and there is a dull ache inside. There is a sense of loss I feel.

It’s not that I haven’t thought about it carefully. I have. And I am. But it’s a huge decision – arguably the most important one of my life. There is no “undo” button. No returns or refunds allowed. The idea of being so completely responsible for another human being – that’s some scary s***. And if I’m going to do it, I need to be ready and willing to do it right. I’m not.

Sorry mom…

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily Suess October 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I can so totally relate. At 31 with no children and no plans to ever have them, I’m aware that it’s the right choice for me. But I’m also aware that there are some joys I’m giving up in the process.

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Jeena Cho October 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm

That’s how it goes – isn’t it? You give up one thing but get something else in exchange? We don’t have to worry about changing diapers, won’t know the joys of having someone call you “mommy” – but can always fly to Paris on a minute’s notice. (In theory.)

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Kim Nicol October 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm

When people ask me, “So when are you going to [get married / have kids / etc.]?” I smile and say, “When I’m ready.”

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Jeena Cho October 18, 2011 at 12:19 am

That’s a great response. I’ll have to practice it. Smile + “When I’m ready.” Love it!

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Richard Vetstein March 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Hey Jeena, great blog! You are still young and a newlywed! Plenty of time to figure it out. Enjoy your new marriage. You may think differently towards the end of your 30’s. Maybe not. Who knows? Keep an open mind…

It’s certainly a huge decision, and you need to be fully committed to taking the plunge. It’s scary sh*t for everyone considering being a parent, myself included. But for me, the pluses have far outweighed the negatives. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Sounds like you are scared to death of the responsibility and challenges. All natural and common emotions.

The diaper changes aren’t that bad. It’s pretty cool most of the time. Quiet house. Just you and a little warm snuggle bunny. And you can make your hubbie do the nighttime feedings!

Keep an eye on that “dull ache.” That’s your motherly instinct. If it gets stronger, you can re-evaluate. So maybe the end of your post is “I’m not–right now.”

~Rich

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Amy Kleinpeter March 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm

And if you have one, you’ll get asked when are you trying for a sister/brother. Seriously, one time I was yelling across the street to a neighbor about how we might start trying for a sibling soon and I realized that technically I was yelling about my sex life, and how hilarious that was since I couldn’t remember the neighbor’s NAME. My Mom keeps on me too “But you make such beautiful babies!” I make beautiful pies, too, I’ll keep them coming a few a year and stay with my 2 children. You have to make your own decisions and thinking them through is never a bad idea! Life with children means you give up a lot of other rich things in your life. Is it worth it? I’m going to say for me, yes, plus it’s not permanent. I’ll be able to suntan naked again on the porch when I’m 60, right? But some people act like with life WITHOUT children is not a rich life, and that is just silly. Live one day at a time and no regrets!

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Jenn March 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Absolutely nothing wrong with your decision–don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. Check out http://www.babyoffboard.com if you get a chance. Some like minded people blogging about their choice be childfree.

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