This week I’ve been thinking about babies. Now, before my hubby disappears in a cloud of dust, never to be seen again, let me just clarify that statement a little. I’ve been wondering whether or not babies might actually ever figure in my future.
Over the last few months I’ve been toying with the idea. Not in a desperate oh-my-aching-ovaries kind of way, more a rational, dispassionate way. As my thirtieth birthday is in the not too distant future, it seems prudent to at least consider that at some point in the next few years I might want to have a baby. How would it fit into my life?
Earlier in the week, one of my friends – who got married two months before me last year – announced that she’s due to give birth in November. A couple of days later, I caught up with two former colleagues and showed them our wedding photos. They were all too keen to ask when our baby would be arriving!
But the truth is I’ve never really had any interest in children. I come from a small family and have never been around them much. When I’m near a baby I don’t go all mushy and coo over how cute they are. Teaching was my nightmare career. Usually I just roll my eyes inwardly whenever a child is screaming or being awkward near me and am thankful I don’t have to deal with that yet.
From conversations I’ve had with friends and articles I’ve read online and in magazines, it seems more and more young women are realising that they aren’t actually that bothered about kids. We know it’s going to be hard work and worry about how it will affect our lives. I work full time and I’m often exhausted as I never get enough sleep during the week. And that’s without having a brood of children to get me up at the crack of dawn or keep me awake half the night.
If I struggle to cope sometimes now, how much worse will it be with a cranky baby in tow? Ideally if I were to have a family I’d like to stay at home for a while, at least part of the week. But in today’s financial climate not many average middle-class women have that luxury any more.
There’s still the expectation that having a baby is just something that you do. You don’t even have to think about it. But more and more women of my generation aren’t attracted by the idea of raising a family. I’d be interested to look forward twenty years and see what the statistics are for couples choosing to remain childless. I bet they will only continue to rise.
Not that there’s anything wrong with having a baby, of course. But it’s such a huge, life changing experience that I think you really have to want it and be prepared for the sacrifices that come along with it.
And that’s the problem for me. What if I never really want it?
Answers on a postcard please, or leave ‘em in the comments!