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On waiting for children

Updated on March 29, 2015

On Waiting for Children

I have known that I’ve wanted children since before I can remember. It’s something that has never been a question in my life and growing up this seemed normal, at an age when everyone thought they would grow up and get married and have kids. Increasingly I find that I’m one of the few who wants this so desperately that I would give anything for it.

I want to be a mother the way that some people want to be a doctor, or find a cure for cancer. I would risk my life for these children I don’t even know yet, and I love them already. I think it’s difficult for people to fathom how much I want children when it’s something that they don’t experience themselves. Yet I can perfectly understand why some people would feel a visceral adverse reaction at the thought of being a parent.

Pre-destined vs Refuseniks

Sociology suggests that there are three types of parental groups; Predestined parents, Refuseniks, and Situational Parents. A Pre-destined parent is someone who was born to be a parent, and would choose their desire for parenthood over their partner, if their partner did not feel the same way. Similarly, a Refusenik has no desire to be a parent and would end a relationship with a partner if they did want children. Situationals are in the middle and sway either way depending on what their partner wants.

The choice of parent-hood is something that doesn’t come equally to all of us. While parenthood is something that a lot of heterosexual families stumble into blindly, quite by ‘accident’, it is a carefully thought out decision for LGBT couples who have to jump through hoops and prove their worthiness. In fact this strength of conviction and desire for parenthood, is what makes them such amazing parents. According to Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts, gay and lesbian parents rarely become parents by accident, compared to almost 50% rate of accidental pregnancies among heterosexual couples.

Research suggests that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are more likely to be emotionally stable, have better results in school, and a secure home environment. A National longitudinal lesbian family study that began in 1986 of 154 American Lesbian mothers, recently checked in on their 75 adolescent children and compared them with their peers from national standardized samples. Results found that overall the children had high levels of social, academic, and total competence and fewer social problems compared with their age-matched counterparts. The point I am trying to make is that people who are passionate about having children and become parents due to a conscious decision on their part raise healthier, happier and more socially adept children.

Perhaps in time, these boundaries we have constructed will be broken down but the inequality that exists today is something that makes me sad, that something I want so desperately, may not even be an option for someone else.

Changing norms

As prolonged education becomes the norm and people are leaving home later, having children is a harder decision. While my mother had me at 25, this is not something I could think of doing. There are many more ducks I need to get in a row before I could bring a child into this world.

While our parents had kids early, they were also more financially stable at an earlier age and had a lot of help from their own parents. With globalisation spreading families thin, this is not a luxury we all have. I’m growing used to the idea that I won’t have kids before I’m 30, and trying to think of the positives like comparative financial stability. Yes of course I would like it to happen in its due course, at the right time with the right person. But I would really struggle with feeling like I have lived a fulfilling life if I don’t have children one day, biologically or through adoption. It’s a sentiment that a lot of people find hard to grasp but I was born a mother, it was what I was put on this planet to do, and I’m waiting to have children so I can be the person I was meant to be.

As a woman in her twenties in 2015, I’m at risk of sounding like a 1950’s housewife, but I think feminism has failed us to some extent. In urging women to renounce their aprons and become career women, it has stopped from revelling in the simple joy of being a mother. It seems almost frowned-upon to say that your greatest wish in life, is to be a mother. Of course I want a career, I want to travel, I want a marriage, I want a mortgage and a garden but I also want children crawling at my feet and without that the rest will be meaningless. I’m not suggesting that this is how all women or people should think – far from it – I just hope that it’s not so unbelievable, that this is what I want.

Dreaming of you

I have dreamt of you since I was a teenager. I have loved you and wanted you since before you were a thought in my head. But one thing I can promise you, is that you will never ever wonder how much I love you because I would risk my life for you.

I promise to carry you until you fall asleep, to wipe your tears when you scrape your knees, to teach you that your body is beautiful and no one has the right to touch you unless you want them to, and to respect everyone regardless of their race, gender, and appearance. I promise to let you walk to school alone, even as I catch my breath when you cross the road and let you find yourselves in ways I may not always approve of but love you regardless.

My biggest fear, is that I will let you down somehow, that I won’t give you the life I dream of you having. But I know that in order for you to have the life I wish for you, I need mine to be just as strong and vibrant. And so I fill my life with people who love me, build a career so I can show you what hard-work is, I hope to have a happy and fulfilling marriage so you know what love can be like, and engage myself in things that matter and be proud of. I find myself looking at my life through your eyes and hoping I will measure up to be the woman I need to be, so I can be a mother to you one day.

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