My best friend gave birth to beautiful twin boys a month ago. And this has made me really look at the way I view motherhood, friendship with women, and my own fertility choices.
I’ve never really given much thought to having children. It was just never something I was interested in. And honestly I don’t really like children (I know, I know that sounds horrible but have you been to Ikea on a Saturday? Haunting). And up until I turned 25 I thought the whole “biological clock ticking” was some patriarchal construct to scare young women into having babies.
But it’s not, and over the past three years I’ve been really starting to reconsider my stance on shrugging off having a family. And it’s put me in a tail spin.
Growing up I always idolized my uncles. They left our small town, went to university, got amazing careers (one pilot, one engineer), lived in beautiful condos, and went travelling the world. They always drove new flashy cars and never had children. Very early on I wanted that life and not the one my mother had, which seemed filled with pain and sacrifice.
My mother is amazing. She is the most selfless and caring person I have ever known. She gave us everything she had. She stayed in a bad marriage for too long and sacrificed her dreams of going to university to care for my sister and I. My father was absent, abusive, and often gone for long periods of time out of town. Somehow she overcame all that to raise two productive humans. And I just know I am far too selfish to give everything I am to another being.
My friend who recently had the twins is one of the most amazing women I have in my life. We’ve been friends for eight or nine years (I’ve lost track of the time) and she has seen me through the most turbulent and complicated years of my life. The last 10 years since I left home and moved to the big city have been the most formative time in my lifetime.
I struggle with my relationships with other women. Very often they break down in a fog of competiveness, pettiness, politics, miscommunication, and mistrust. And I have been through all these things as well with this friend, but we somehow always manage to find our way back to each other. And I will ashamedly admit that when she told me she was pregnant my first thought was, “How is this going to affect me? How is this going to affect our friendship?”
There is a joke that emerges from conversations I’ve had with people who are single in regards to their friends who go from being their single buddy to a mommy. And it is that once someone gets pregnant or married it starts a countdown to the end of the friendship. And while I wouldn’t normally be alarmed to let another female friendship sour I could not and would not let it happen to this one.
She will be the first one to tell you I really struggled with the idea of her having a baby (or two!). I was concerned about her future (think about everything you’re giving up!) but mostly about how it would change our relationship into something else.
Who was I going to get stoned and watch terrible romcoms with now? I don’t have any close female friends who have children so this was a real first for me. And as soon as I started sharing that she was having babies with others I started getting a round of warning clucks from everyone (including my own mother) that once I held those babies in my arms my ovaries would start screaming. And I am not sure that was something I was ready for.
It took me a while but I came around to the idea that the presence of babies could add to our relationship and not destroy it. I may never have my own children so this could be the perfect way for me to have them in my life but enable me to keep a nice comfortable single life!
Think about how much more fun going to Science World would be with two little kids in tow instead of being those weirdo childless adults that hang out there. Maybe I could use them to pick up hot single dads! Two little boys to give socially progressive children’s books to! The possibilities are endless.
When I think of having my own children my head is full of all the practical reasons why it’s not a good idea. First, kids are like seriously expensive. While I am truly blessed to have a decent job the reality is the paycheque really doesn’t go far once I’ve covered all my expenses of keeping me fed, clothed, and housed in the most expensive city in North America. Do you know how much organic, grain-free, locally sourced cat food costs? How on earth would I also raise a kid?
Second, there’s a gap on the other half of the equation – the menfolk! As someone who is currently on the hunt for the perfect partner who thinks all my quirks are more cute then annoying, I’m realistic about relationships. They fall apart overtime, and people who get together, bump uglies and have babies are not always able to stay together. So I would want to go into having a baby knowing confidently that I would be able to care and provide for it by myself if necessary.
Because, let’s get realistic about this: raising children alone is hard. I watched my mother do it. And I have no interest in doing it alone. At the very least I’d have to feel confident that I would have someone to co-pilot child rearing, even if we were no longer together.
There is a good chance the rest of my baby-making years will slip by while I am fumbling around in the dark with strange men and devoting the rest of my days to my challenging career. And will I regret that? I’m not sure.
Right now all I know is I’ve gotten the official title of “Auntiepoo” and that is pretty awesome. I don’t know how, but I’ve turned into one of those people we all want to punch. I spent hours making customized decorations for the baby shower and gifts for the babies. I scoured all over this town for preemie outfits for the babies after they were born. My Instagram and Facebook feeds are now proudly full of baby pictures. I even recently aggressively made my hairdresser look at the newest shots of the twins. The employees at the local Babies “R” Us recognize me because of my weekly trips in there to buy baby clothes.
And I’d be lying if I said having a tiny human fall asleep in your arms isn’t the most amazing feeling in the world. And that watching your best friend transform into the most amazing and loving mother isn’t a powerful and moving experience. But for now I’m contented to come home to my quiet clean apartment and my surly resident cat and exchange flirty texts with cute but emotionally stunted men.