Changing Plans

I’ve been having an ongoing debate with myself for over a year now. I always thought I’d have kids. I can remember riding the bus home from school, daydreaming about the adventures my two kids and I would take. When I was younger, I only ever thought about the fun parts of parenthood and I didn’t understand everything it entails. I’ve always liked kids. I babysat a lot growing up and it was a joy. Seeing children develop and grow into fully fledged humans is a treat, but I was always exhausted after a few hours with my charges and was glad to retreat to the quiet of my own home. Throughout college, I thought I’d have kids. It’s only recently that I’ve started to question the assumption that having children was the only way I could live a life surrounded by people I love and having a strong family.

As I have gotten older, I have discovered there are many ways to lead a fulfilling life, filled with joy and peace. I have found I’m most at peace when I’m out in nature, with my friends, family, or church community. I do best when my schedule is within my control and I can rest when I need to. I love to travel to new places and learn about new things. I’m the happiest now I’ve ever been and I do not feel like anything is missing from my life. Despite feeling this way, I’m consistently told that I should have children and or that I will change my mind. It’s exclusively women who tell me this, men don’t seem desperate to convince me to bear offspring. I don’t like it when people question my decision to be childless. I’ve put a lot of thought into this decision and when others tell me that I will regret it or will change my mind, I feel that it insinuates that I haven’t already put a great deal of thought into this choice. This assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.

I have always felt my emotions deeply and have been prone to dramatic mood swings the week before my period. Before going on birth control, I would end up furious about some small mistake someone around me would make. I would know that it wasn’t reasonable to be as upset as I was. I would be angry and want to calm down, but be unable to. Going on birth control helped me feel sane again. On top of the mood swings I’m already prone to, postpartum depression is something that my mom struggled with and as a person who’s already struggled with major depression, I’m at an increased risk. Nothing scares me more than having a baby and having to go back to a behavioral health hospital while my baby is at home. I want to remain healthy and stable for the rest of my life. 

A big theme of my life post-mental health crisis is life often turns out differently than I had planned. When plans change, not beating yourself up and focusing on the positive is important. I look forward to seeing what other changes are around the corner and making a difference in this world. 


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