I never wanted children. I am the youngest in my direct family, and I never took a particular interest in younger cousins or other people’s babies. I never felt the urge to nurture and it was never asked of me. Even after I became engaged to be married, I didn’t want children. My husband did. It was the topic of our first major fight.
As you may have noticed, I’ve since changed my mind. I have two children now and would like more — three or four or five. (Five total, not five more. That’s just crazy.) I cannot pinpoint one thing as the deciding factor for my change of heart.
Andrew, on the other hand, always wanted children. His mother saved an elementary school report in which he answered the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “a father.” I love my husband very much — how could I be the one to squash his childhood dream? I didn’t want to take that away from him. I didn’t feel in any way obligated, but I realized that I would be a mother for him, a mother to his father. He would make and raise wonderful children. (And I’ve since been proven correct.)
I was a bit afraid of pregnancy and what it would do to my body at first. But women’s bodies are made to bear children. And it wasn’t hard to find women who’ve had children and managed to maintain and take excellent care of their bodies. Sure, it’s changed my body a bit, but bodies change all the time anyway. And I actually quite like how pregnancy and breastfeeding has changed my body. (I had room for some more curves.)
I also wasn’t sure if I was going to make a good mother. Remember my lack of nurturing instincts? Well, they kicked in with the rest of the hormones I didn’t fully understand. It felt easy and right to just go with it. Naturally, I wanted my children to survive and thrive so I nurtured them. The most important parenting decision I made was to be calm and flexible.
Having children has been extremely difficult and absolutely wonderful. I did have one condition to becoming parents, though — that we would spend the first year of our marriage alone together before trying to conceive — and I am very happy with my choice.
My experience has basically brought my thinking around to this: I think in most cases it would be more likely to regret not having children, than to regret having them.
Cheers to family and primal instincts.