Tomorrow, August 1st, is a day known by some people as International Childfree Day. It’s not a day I particularly care for and I often forget it because there seem to be a lot of “special days”, such as National Donut Day, and I simply don’t have any feelings for them. Plus, so many special days, even if they’re not major holidays, make the idea of special days alone not so special anymore.
However, I’m mentioning this day in particular because despite my feelings about the holiday, I do occasionally think about how different, and how much worse, my life would be if I did have children. I’ve spoken before about how I compare my life at this age to my mother’s when she was this age. Let me clarify right now there is no feeling of superiority. I have never felt that. What I have felt since I was a child is motherhood is a route my mother shouldn’t have taken, but time can’t be reversed.
No, I don’t go around, parading happily how I don’t have children. For what? Like most of my thoughts, these tend to come up at night, when I’m lying in bed and not yet asleep. What often comes to mind is what I’d lose or not even have if at some point between the age I became capable of reproducing and now, I’d become a mother. That includes my own sanity and that is not a joke since I’ve been heavily suicidal in the past. In fact, I strongly fear becoming pregnant, and if that were to happen, my immediate thoughts would shift to self-harm before I thought about terminating it. I believe that speaks for itself.
If it’s not my sanity and mental health, it’s the loss of relationships I’d experience. I’ve read when you have children, you learn who your real friends are, but on the other side, I’ve talked to people who did try to keep in contact with friends who became parents and they couldn’t because those friends would stop responding altogether. Obviously, I don’t know exactly how busy a day with a newborn is, but if it’s busy enough to leave no time to take five minutes to send a text message, that sounds less like “not real friends” and more like the friendship simply faltering due to no time to care for it. That happens to any kind of relationship that’s given too little or no attention. It’s why I lost friends when I switched school districts as a child. We couldn’t keep in contact. In short, it’s natural.
Being honest, I have to admit the above is something that scares me. My friends do want to be parents and I absolutely want that for them since it’s what would make them happy, but I do feel sad at knowing it could spell the end of our friendship because they lack time or I do, and I’d feel selfish and like a pest if trying to keep in touch with them only made their days harder.
My relationship with my boyfriend would be non-existent. We wouldn’t know each other, let alone be a couple. This is because he doesn’t want children either, so if I had a child, neither of us would’ve had a chance with each other. Of course, if I’d never met him, I wouldn’t know any different, but since I did, knowing I could’ve missed out on what’s been and continues to be the most loving and one of the healthiest relationships I’ve had in my life saddens me. We did nearly miss each other, but that was due to not checking messages. That was easily amended.
The third top thing I’d lose due to have a child would be my body. Now, before the cries of vanity come, looks are not what I’m referring to. I try to keep myself neat, but I do not have any care for dressing and looking like I just finished a photo shoot. I’m talking about the effects pregnancy and childbirth would have, such as tearing and having to be stitched up, and bleeding continuously for several weeks. And that’s if it goes well. Heaven forbid it goes awfully because at worst, I’m dead. I don’t care if the stitching and bleeding is “not that bad”. Don’t touch me!
On the list of smaller things I’d lose, there’s my collection of things like Disney and Pokemon, and certain outings I’ve been on. Yes, I know it’s possible to still go hiking, to farms, and to amusement parks with children, but it’s also more expensive and requires more planning. When I was invited to the farm, for example, I didn’t even have to think about saying yes. I hadn’t made any other plans, so I could say yes right away. If I’d a child, especially a small child, I definitely would’ve had to make some arrangements, like finding and being able to pay a babysitter for that day, and having someone arrive early or drop my child off early and return home to be picked up. In my eyes, that’s a pain in the behind. Those things probably seem insignificant and I wouldn’t disagree they aren’t the most important things, but they’re small things I enjoy.
While I still have no plans to do anything in particular for International Childfree Day, I will say the day is a nice reminder of a choice I’m happy to have made for my life. No, my life’s not perfect and I’m positive it never will be because perfection doesn’t exist and life enjoys stomping on people at every turn, but to know I have control over, at least, one aspect of my life is assuring and indeed makes me happy.