April 25, 2009

After spending a week with my family in Tennessee--including my brother's four-month-old baby--my husband and I have decided to put off having children for a while...again. Surprisingly, I'm ok with our decision. I've spent the past several months evaluating my reasons for having children, and some of them are fairly compelling: to have heirs to carry on our values and possible future wealth, to combine our genes in a single entity, to shape the life of a human being, etc. But really, that is all. The dream some women have of carrying around a "little bundle of joy" everywhere they go seems more like a nightmare to me. I've been told that parenthood is fun and rewarding beyond imagination, but I see the work and inconvenience that goes into that reward and shudder.

I also need to seek professional help. I cannot stand this tumult that has been raging through my brain for the past two months. If I had to deal with postpartum depression on top of that, especially if my husband were at sea, I might consider offing myself. Not good.

Besides, I've never been one to follow the status quo. People seem to assume that now my husband and I have been married for over a year, we should be popping out babies. After all, every other married couple we know has. I just want to tell those people that, even as a woman, my purpose in life goes beyond producing offspring. Even if I never have a child, I will still have a rich, fulfilling life. Not to knock women who want to be mothers, but I think many women get too caught up in the social expectation to reproduce and forget that they have other abilities that can influence their communities and their world. Why should men have all the fun?

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