Friday, June 18, 2010

What drives me to want children?

I recently began to ponder why people decide to have children. Some people choose to not have children and some people are good either way. I am definitely not one of these people…I want children. I want children so hurts. I decided instead of wondering about other people...I would try to figure out myself...“what is it in me that drives me to want children so badly?

I think many people choose to have children because it is the “next step”. They are married or have life partners and feel that children are the next thing that comes in life. This way of thinking is taught as young children with this familiar rhyme:

“First comes Love, then comes Marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.”

I know many people that I would put in this category. I know they love their children and are grateful for them, but I believe that when they decided to throw away the birth control and try to become parents, they did so because they liked the idea of being “parents” it was the next chronological life event.

After over five years of struggling with infertility, countless amounts of money spent on fertility treatment, two miscarriages, two surgeries and adoption certification I find myself asking “What is it in ME that drives me to want children so badly? Why do I keep putting myself through this month after month, year after year?”

Is it the fact that it doesn’t come easily? It is a struggle and in a way I want to prove that I can do it. I can beat this and I will not give up until I have succeeded.

Is it because I see all of my friends having children and I am feeling left out? Sometimes it is difficult for me to relate to my friends with children. We have very little in common anymore and I just can’t talk “babies” with them.

Is it because I believe that this is the next chronological event in my life? My husband and I dated, we got married, we bought our first house and now what? The next event in our life SHOULD be having children.

Is it because I feel an obligation to give my parents grandchildren? My parents are wonderful grandparents. They love their grandchildren immensely and it has always been a running thing in our family to see who will have the new baby at the upcoming Christmas? (I am the lone infertile in a family of fertiles) I am the youngest of six and all of my siblings have had children and have completed their families. It was blatantly pointed out recently by one of my sisters that I am the only hope for future grandchildren for my parents.

Is it because I am curious to see what my husband and I’s children will look like? My husband is a strikingly handsome man with a sparkle in his eye that still to this day makes me melt. I find myself fantasizing about what features our children will get from him and what features they will get from me. recently had an application where you could upload a picture of yourself and a picture of your significant other and they will put together a picture of what your future children would look like. I never did this…it is too painful to see what may never be.

Is it because I was born with some mysterious “mother instinct” , some genetic drive to reproduce? As a child I ALWAYS had a baby doll in my arms, “house” was my favorite game to play and I even went as far as to stuff clothes in my shirt to make me look pregnant. Was I just born with this desire and have no control over it whatsoever?

The truth is, I think it is a bit of all of these things. There is a certain amount of competitiveness in me that says “infertility will NOT keep me from having children” and the fact that it is difficult for me to get (and stay) pregnant drives me to the next step, the next cycle.

I do feel isolated from my friends that have children and I dread hearing that new friends are trying to start a family because I am terrified that they will achieve parenthood before me.

I feel having children is the next chronological event in our lives. We have achieved many milestones in our relationship but can anyone tell me what happens after marriage, a career and buying a house?

Being the only sibling in my family without children and the fact that all of them have completed their families, creates an immense amount of pressure for me to now have children. How can I be the only person in my family without children?

I look into my husband’s eyes and wonder, will our children have his gorgeous blue eyes, or my brown eyes? Will they have his freckles or my tan skin? Will they get my almost invisible lips or my husband’s luscious, thick lips?

I have this overwhelming desire to be a mother. I have had it since I can remember. I used to carry my nieces and nephews around all day on my hip. I would feed them, rock them to sleep, change their diapers and I never felt more peace than when they fell asleep on my chest. This was my heaven, my oasis.

I guess in a way being infertile has allowed me the time to really sit back and analyze why I want children. After all, if I were able to have children easily, I would have two live children now and probably trying for a third…there would be no time to think about it…it would just “be”.


the misfit said...

I think this is a really important question. For IFers it's so often taken for granted THAT we want kids - there is no WHY. I have been trying to sort this out myself and made nowhere near the progress you have :). If it's just sort of an inborn drive, that could mean a vocation - but I question sometimes whether in my case it's a vocation or just a bad habit.

Tiffany said...

Great post!
So many women don't take the time to think this through. But those of us who have had more than enough time, I think it is one of the few good things that come out of all of this mess. Once we do become Moms, we know exactly why we want this, and how much love we have!
Thanks for sharing!

Mitzie said...

You know, it's funny reading about the "motherly instinct" that you have, because I so don't have it. Sometimes I feel like I'm broken or a freak of nature because I don't have it. Am I the only one that doesn't want children? Most of my friends have children and all they could talk about sometimes is having children, meanwhile I'm just thinking that it'd be the last thing I want to do -- ever. My little sister had that motherly instinct and has 2 children already, so naturally since I'm the oldest people ask me why I haven't had them yet - ummm... maybe because they scare me to death, or there is no part of me that desires children whatsoever. I can tell you that being on the other side of the spectrum is just as scary/frustrating - you feel like your choice is wrong even if your instinct is telling you you're right.

Once you become a mother though, after all of this, I'm sure it'll be all the more sweeter. You can't get to the prize without running the course!

addingtothepack said...

Interesting post. I've been thinking a lot about the fact that going through infertility makes me feel like I need/should be MORE certain why I want children than normal fertile people. As you said at the end, if you weren't infertile you'd have a few kids now and it would have just happened.

Now when I have the moments of fear about all the big changes that are ahead with this baby I find myself thinking "you went through years of infertility, shouldn't you be rock solid on this by now?" Which I realize isn't fair to myself (everyone is going to have moments of fear), but I can't help myself.

Kakunaa said...

Such a hard question. I struggle with it, too, especially since for years I didn't even WANT children. What changed? What is it that drives that? I try to come up with answers, decent ones, and I'm still not there.....