Just as a preface: After a recent and yes, belated obsession with "Breaking Bad" - Chris decided to dress as Walt, so for me, it was either blue meth or Skyler. When I realized that dressing as blue meth would take finding a clear trash bag and some kind of blue and white cubes to wrap all around me, I felt like stuffing my chest with 14 pairs of socks and rolling up a down jacket for my belly would make a super easy, pregnant Skyler. Chris took a picture of me before going to a Halloween party, saying "We have big news." Here it is again...
Being that it was Halloween Eve, and other people had been posting costume pics - I didn't really think much of the picture of me. Just thought it might get a double take followed by laughter, knowing that I tend to be a trickster.
Well, people saw it and thought it was real. Not sure if people are upset, but it certainly wasn't our intention. Purely out of lighthearted fun!
Either way - the whole thing got me to write something that's been gestating inside me for a while. Definitely longer than 9 months.
So here 'goes:
I don't want to have kids.
There’s a small part of me that holds all kinds of uncomfortable feelings: shame, guilt, regret, and envy when it comes to my decision to not have children. The feelings come from a swirling mess of all kinds of shit like biology, family, friends, mainstream culture, and actually just plain ol' curiosity.
For the remainder of this writing - I’m going to speak unfiltered from that part of myself. It’s a part of me that is small, as I said, and also does not lurk through very often.
I can’t help but wonder if writing from it’s point of view, allowing it to speak freely, might release it in some way.
The biological urge kind of makes sense - but I think it’s also super outdated, by like a couple million years. I mean, at some point, maybe it was true to say that our earliest ancestors evolved to fit into two categories - similar to men and women - where mating behaviors were hard-wired and instinctive.
But isn’t it obvious that we’ve evolved waaaaay beyond that by now?
I mean, if the variety of sexualities isn’t “proof” of this evolution, then surely, the fact that we invented birth control has gotta say something, right? No, I know not everyone chooses birth control - but that’s how evolution works. Someone realizes that something doesn’t work for them, they adapt their own way, and thrive in their own way.
Sometimes I look at an ankle biter and feel anything from “absolutely nothing” to “get the fuck away from me, and calm the fuck down!” And when I feel that way, it’s soon followed by shame.
Am I a broken “woman”? Am I totally abnormal for not wanting to take care of a rug rat?
Then I think of my family. Jenna would absolutely LOVE to be an aunt. My parents would probably move to Colorado to be full-time grandparents. I watch my dad hold my friend’s baby and tears come to my eyes. My mom fills a huge polka-dotted bag of baby clothes, books and toys for my friend’s baby shower - as she ties a shiny bow on it and hands it to me smiling big, my head wants to hang down.
I think: I’m sorry I won’t be giving you that! I hate myself for that! I’m so selfish!
Most of my friends, extended relatives, and community know me and accept my decision. But there’s still some who really, really want me to have children. They're always the ones who ask over the holidays: "So, when are you going to get married and start a family?" Some of them just straight up tell me: "You'll have kids...I know you will."
I can't read their smile though - it's either saying that being a parent has brought them joy, and they want me to experience that joy too OR maybe it's like a sneaky smile saying Muahahhahaha because they want me to suffer too.
I've also heard people say to me, "I know a friend who didn't have kids, and it's the biggest regret of their life." Which always makes me think - well, sure there's some people who regret not having kids, but generally in our culture w'ere not allowed to regret having kids. I mean, don't even think it for a moment because that makes you a hideous person. Straight up evil!
To those who want me to have kids because you want me to experience joy - I truly appreciate your care for me.
But I can’t live my life for you! I invite you to trust. my. path. Aaaaaaah, exhale, Kendra.
And mainstream culture is the worst! Holy shit - I remember being given dolls as a kid and being completely freaked out by them. I pretended to like them by holding them because I felt guilty being given a gift I didn’t like - but at night, I’d shove them face down in my closet.
Instead of playing mom and dad with Barbie and Ken, I took those up when I was like 14 years old and horny. I pretended they were in college and would just have them dance, party, and have sex all the time [basically just criss crossing their stiff plastic bodies back and forth].
TV, films, marketing - all of it - the majority of mass media represents SUCH a standard of family. [It’s certainly improving; but remember, this rampage is coming unfiltered from a small PART of myself.]
Oh, and I can’t wait for the day when everyone’s caught on to the fact that we’ve evolved beyond the gender binary as well.
I mean, I was at a dance the other night where all the women were told to go in the center of the circle and all the men were to sing and hold space for us beautiful goddesses. And then we were asked to switch places. FUCK that shit.
I’m so sick of being split up - men and women. Let’s just fuckin’ be people together and hold each other.
Having one sex hold the other just maintains the divide, even if the intention is positive.
During that part of the dance, I tried one round being held in the center. And almost instantly it was as if I had taken on the elephant-sized discomfort of someone who doesn't identify as man or woman and thought: "But wait...where do i go?"
This is why Chris and I create dating events and workshops that are inclusive of all genders and all sexualities. Many people suggest that we try doing “all women” or “all men” workshops. Well, there’s enough fuckin’ goddess circles and men’s groups. Let’s work it out and play it out together in real time!
Take a breath, me. Close your eyes. Touch inward. Aaaaaaand Continue.
The curiosity in this part of myself is where I soften. In moments, I consider the amount of personal growth, education, and continual practice of becoming a more and more awesomer human - and how that might impact a child raised with that kind of parenting.
I get curious about what my kids would look like too. Would they have crazy red hair? Oh, no - not that!
Would they be into art and music? Would they dance or be a vulgar smartass? Or maybe they’d be totally into building shit, and they could teach me! Or they’d want to be an astronaut, and they’d take me!
Maybe they’d go through a phase where they hate me. Or maybe they’d be like obsessed with me and I’d be obsessed with them and we’d be totally enmeshed and I’d say things to my friends like: “We have a big science project coming up.”
Maybe there’d be sweet, still moments when I’d look at that person all grown up and simply think: “Thank you, teacher.”
I look with envy at friends and community members who have kids. Not because I want them...but because I want to want them.
But more than wanting to want them is that I want this part of myself to want to be OK with not wanting them. lol. Let's say "want" a few more times.
What I want if for this part of me to be quiet and come into full alignment with the larger part of me that is really fuckin’ excited to not have kids.
To me, the most exciting part of having kids would be when they’re over 20. I always thought - well, if I could have kids and just fast forward them to that age, I would totally have them.
Ironically, I ended up with a partner who has two children over 20 - but they don’t really talk to me... much... yet. I should have specified to the universe: “I want children who are over 20, who love to have fun, deep conversations with me. Who inspire me to new adventures and new ways of thinking and being. And who trust me and wantto connect with me.” If I wasn’t clear before, universe, there ya go!
I believe that humans are a kind of animal with a special capacity to deliberately and consciously choose how we evolve on an individual level. And epigenetics and metaphysics show us that we can even choose how we evolve as an entire species.
As an individual, I deliberately and consciously choose to evolve through practicing love, compassion, and generosity. I evolve by the practice of feeling into my intuition or inner spirit, or whatever the fuck you wanna call it for guidance with decisions like where to live, what to eat, how I get my education, how I support my lifestyle, having kids or not. I suggest that together, we practice a conscious choice for evolution.
I am not determined by biology or family or friends or culture or curiosity or any old stories of who I should be.
We’re not just here as a species to survive anymore...well, of course you can choose to live that way if you want. But I choose to be here to THRIVE [ in my own creative way].
And who the hell knows? Maybe someday I’ll totally change my mind and have kids. Just like maybe someday I’ll buy a boat. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll live my life having birthed lots other cool things and feel really good about it. Just like how maybe I’ll always say “yes” to an invite to hang out on a boat and feel really good about it... for a few hours.
I just want to say too that I don't think I need to justify my decision to not birth a child by saying that I'll birth other things - like a business, art, and song.
Thank you for listening to this part of me.
I felt really passionate and firey while writing. And now I feel just very vibrant and alive having it all out there. I’m excited to see how this part of me shows up, possibly differently, in the future.
I’d love to hear from anyone who wants to share their experience of this question to have a boat or not. I mean, kids.
Also, I wanted to share this on our blog because it's very relevant to dating.
- Not wanting kids or
- wanting kids or
- having kids or
- not being able to have kids
All of these can be major deal breakers when it comes to dating - which I have so so much love and compassion for all of us.
If anyone wants to chime in on your experience here, Chris + I would LOVE to hear you! This feels like a really important topic, and the more voices, the more understanding we can all have of one another.
With vulnerability + loving intent,