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The Real Reason I Say I Don't Want Children

Being in my mid-20s, baby fever is a regular occurrence for me.

I go through several days of dreaming about raising a child, about becoming pregnant, about the long but rewarding nights and the way I’d teach the lessons I learned growing up.

Then, inevitably, I’ll have a day when my anxiety and/or depression is immobilizing, and I can’t imagine having the energy or patience for a little one. This ultimately throws up the walls against procreating and is where my outward disinterest in having children comes from.

I’ll advertise to friends and family that I have no desire to give birth or raise a family with my husband. I’ll run with that stance for the majority of the time. I’ve even distracted myself by applying to become an egg donor. At least, I might be able to help others have children.

However, more and more, it’s becoming a front.

See, I want to wake up at 3 a.m. to feed our baby and to talk quietly to him or her until one or both of us falls asleep. I want my husband and I to be so completely exhausted and filled with love for our small person that we’re zombies at work who are deliriously happy. I want to help create a kind, thoughtful and smart addition to society who can make the world a better place.

How could I possibly do that when I’m too frustrated to think straight or too stressed out to be kind? How can I forgive myself if my illnesses impact my child negatively and affect the way they grow up and participate in the world? How can I be a mom if at times I find it too difficult to be a person?

I’ve been too scared to talk openly about this with moms or to see how people with depression and anxiety manage their symptoms with children. I’m even too scared to admit I would actually love to have a child. If I admit it, then I have to face the possibility that it’s not a good fit for me and it doesn’t matter what I want.

For now, I’ll listen intently to others’ stories of parenthood and roll my eyes playfully at unwanted prodding to have a baby. For now, it’s just baby fever.

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