I’m faced with friends and co-workers every day who feel the same way I did—they don’t think they want to have kids. I was sure I wanted to remain child-free forever…until I actually became a mom. Here’s why I don’t regret my decision.
It’s like I’m a different person now. Before I had kids, I had all the same thoughts and feelings that other people who tell me they don’t want them have: I liked my independence and free time, I enjoyed not having any financial worries, and I just didn’t feel that nagging need to have another member of my family. But after I had my son, I fell so completely in love with him that I can’t imagine not having him in my life.
I like my own kid. Like a lot of people, I didn’t like kids. In fact, I still don’t really like kids—other people’s kids, that is. I never wanted to hold the baby at a party, I didn’t enjoy buying cute onesies for baby showers, and I certainly never got asked to babysit. You were more likely to find me playing with a friend’s pet than their kid. However, once I had a child, I found myself enjoying buying all the cute clothes, playing with toys, and all the other things I used to hate.
I have a free pass to get out of anything I don’t want to do. It sounds horrible, I know, but having a kid is a free pass to get out of literally anything. Oh, I’m sorry, the baby is kind of fussy, we need to leave. The 28th? Um, I’ll have to let you know—my little one might have an appointment that day. Noon? Oh, I’m sorry, that’s his nap time.
I get to view the world through his eyes. Remember when you were little and everything was magical? Do you ever miss that? The feeling you got knowing Santa was going to leave you presents? Snow days, birthday parties, sleepovers? Having a kid allows you to feel all those feelings again, except better. Seeing your child’s eyes light up is somehow even more magical than when it was you that got to open the presents on Christmas morning.
I’ve learned so much about myself. It wasn’t until I started examining my relationships with others that I really got to know myself. There’s only so much you can learn about who you are and what your purpose is on your own. When I had my son, I got to see myself through a new lens. There were things I liked and things I didn’t. I had to work to change the things I didn’t like and I’m a better person for that. I found myself through him.
It forced me to be an adult. No one wants to change diapers, get up in the middle of the night, or clean up puke. Why would I sign up for that? But there’s something empowering about knowing you’re the only one who is responsible for this tiny person’s life. Once you’ve changed a poopy diaper at 4 a.m., gone to work on one hour of sleep, and managed to get groceries with a grumpy toddler in tow, that’s when you know you can do anything. Your boss doesn’t seem so intimidating after you’ve been through 48 hours of stomach flu hell with a 1-year-old. And when you’re the one who made it all better? The feeling of satisfaction you get when your kid smiles at you puts any big promotion to shame.
I’m passing on my lineage. I never thought this would be something that was important to me, but after the birth of my son, I began to think a lot about my deceased father. He wasn’t around to see his grandchild but part of him will live on through my son. They share some traits; I see his smile in him sometimes. My son has taken a liking to certain subjects, like cars and building things, that my dad would have loved. I know that part of my father has been passed on to him.
Love for my child is the most powerful love I’ve experienced. I’ve loved my family, friends, pets, boyfriends, and even a husband, but nothing has compared to the love I feel for my son. It’s different and yet the same. It’s deeper, more intense, and above all, it’s unconditional. When he tells me he loves me, no other feeling compares.
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