Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular area and maybe it’s because I have done a lot of facilitation work, baby-sitting for my friends and watching others proudly announce they are having a child. The associated words I hear when “children” are mentioned are they were “accidents” or “I would have them if I had enough money”, “IVF treatment”, “Adoption”, “Abortion” and many more. They feel like labels sometimes rather than a celebration of life, a concept rather than a natural part of our existence.
I’m still uncertain as to if I want to have a child or not? For me it was about having a career and being born from a first generation of settlers who thought England would offer a better life (and it did) children was never part of the plan. However, my motto has always been “never say never”. But there is a perception of when you should and shouldn’t have children and this has influenced me over the years. Of course, I like the freedom of being able to go out and try new things, meet friends at the drop of a hat or take on a new course. But then does that make me the isolated one who won’t be invited out because I don’t have children due to the face that I haven’t grown up yet, or my friends feel sorry for me because of the number of “failed” relationships? (Exposing, I know). It feels like a stigma, a perception, a whole load of shitty opinions which can happen and they can hurt like fuck.
Why am I thinking about this now, maybe because of recent conversations, my age, questions that span several directions but I will reign my thoughts back in, however sarcastic I get. Maybe because it is hitting home to me that I am in a relationship where my partner has children or “baggage” as some might refer to, who are still relatively young. Now this is a head fuck of endless questions or maybe just one, I don’t know?
So, what are these questions in my head, the first is my ego talking, will I be happy with always being second, am I mature and adult enough not to view this situation as second but as equal? (But nothing is ever equal, is it?) And as someone said recently taking PEDs could mean the difference between first and second, but as we not talking about competitions or winning, let’s attempt to remove one’s ego, although I think it can be healthy to identify with your ego sometimes. Then there are questions about waiting for the right person who you want to share a life with, is this the person, will there be another, will there be no-one, sometimes it happens early, sometimes later, sometimes never. Resentment versus unhappiness or negative thoughts versus acceptance?
Statistics show that women between the age of 37-45 are having children later in life. Why, because they are stable, have life experience, and more self assured. But then the critics and non-believers say “why would you put yourself or your child at risk?”. Hmm, risk, there’s no proof that the risks are higher for you or your child being born to an older woman than a younger. If you’re fit and healthy in your lifestyle then complications are less likely. The media perception is that the older women become more incapable and infirm and their bodies change due to pills, potions and menopause. But then again, there is proof that people are living longer, especially women and it’s due to healthier lifestyles, vitamins, medical care, the individual’s mental and physical well-being. If you keep yourself active, working, reading then there is no reason why at 80 you cannot have fun with your children. Yes, our bodies will have different capabilities than when we were 20, but that works the same for a 20 plus yr old woman who is not mentally or physically active and has children. At 20 yrs old many people are still home, living with parents so don’t understand real responsibility or stress. (big generalisation, I know, but still important). At 20 something, responsibility can sometimes go to the parents, siblings, friends or the state yet this appears to be perfectly acceptable.
The older we get, the more we reach out for that miracle skin care, organic food range to keep the ageing process at bay. Our wish to delay the inevitable may extend to our internal thoughts of what our legacy will be, who will keep a part of us alive when we are gone? If we haven’t achieved or made our mark in history or imprint on the world then what is left of us to make its mark? Photographs, films or our children?? Hmm…
Do I want a child or children, I still don’t know? But there are always options no matter how difficult the journey is or do I accept that I had my chance and now I need to acknowledge that my time has passed. Maybe going out with a man who has children is all the pleasure without the pain or maybe the pain is my choices that will sit with me forever. The reoccurring thought which makes me sad from time to time is that my father’s lineage will die with me.