When I should have paying attention to my professor in class this afternoon, I found myself riveted by this article in NY Mag, I Was a Proud Non-Breeder. I Changed My Mind by Michelle Goldberg. In the article, she talks about how she never wanted children and publicly declared so in an essay on Salon when she was 27 years old. But by the time she turned 35, her perspective started to shift. Her realization began this way:
“My own transformation didn’t begin with an unbidden outbreak of baby lust or a sudden longing for domesticity. It began, weirdly enough, when I learned about corpses becoming fathers. In 2011, I reported a piece for Tablet Magazine about the strange Israeli campaign for posthumous reproduction. Israel is the world capital of reproductive technology, and a legal group called New Family wanted to give parents who had lost adult sons the right to extract their sperm and create grandchildren. I have mixed feelings about making dads out of dead men, particularly if they hadn’t donated their sperm while living, but I remember being seized by the realization that if my husband were to die young, I’d want to be able to do it to him.”
How interesting that what sparked Goldberg’s shift towards the idea of possibly having children was other people’s inability to do so. This article got me thinking about my own feelings about having children. I’m not ambivalent per say, because I know I would like children eventually. But I don’t feel the urge right now, which is problematic being that I’m 33 years old. I feel like I want to accomplish more in my career, and get further ahead before I bring a little one into the world. But I also fear that if I have a child before I’ve succeeded, I may resent my child for taking up my time when I could be writing and producing creative work.
Often times, I wish I had a very strong pull towards having children – one that would usurp all other purposeful pulls in my life. However, for now having children seems to rest in a more nebulous area of my ‘life wants.’ In two years, when I’m 35, my soon-to-be husband and I will have to start really diving into that nebulous area and make a solid plan.
So the tricky thing is, what do you do when you don’t feel an incredibly strong urge to have children, but you’re approaching your mid-thirties?