“Don’t Make Any Babies”

Quick note: No, I didn’t make a birthday post this year because my birthday was terrible. I don’t want to talk about it.

I don’t want to be a parent, but I feel like the “scare her out of pregnancy” tactic is getting old.

I’m 25. I’m in no financial place to have a child, but were that and my lack of desire not issues, I don’t think I’d be terrible if I chose to be a parent. The matter with my family is neither of those things are why they still tell me “don’t make any babies”. The reason is they believe it’s impossible to have a romantic relationship without having kids.

What’s most annoying is this often comes from my grandfather: a lifelong addict and marriage-long cheater who had kids with his affair, and went on to cheat on her. Of all the people to try to give me any kind of life advice, he is the most unqualified. This is the same person who didn’t want me around my friends’ brothers or fathers if they happened to be present when I visited. I genuinely feel it’s a kind of projection for him. He assumes every man is unfaithful and thoughtless because he is, and he has no remorse for it (he calls it “satisfying his needs”). My father and my uncle aren’t unfaithful, but they’re also not much better when it comes to relationships. One thinks it’s the girlfriend’s or wife’s job to take care of 90% of the household and bills, and the other thinks women are too complicated and tricky (but also refuses have any male friends; figure that one out).

I’m not claiming to have everything figured out, but I don’t think any of them can lecture me on relationships, let alone the choice to be a parent outside of common sense. Unfortunately, my family’s history only backs them up. Every parent I know within my close family had their child with someone who left them, even if they have more than one kid with the same man (in that scenario, the other kid(s) is the result of the couple getting back together for a few months, only to break up again). Obviously, I don’t know the details of all of their situations, but I despise it’s ultimately held up against me about why parenthood is terrible. Really, it has nothing to do with parenthood. Outside of unfortunate circumstances, they suck at choosing partners.

It’s weird to me they still feel the need to talk to me about “having babies” like I’m still 15. And even then, I thought it was ridiculous. I didn’t have any interest in dating until I was 19 anyway, but the automatic assumption I would’ve been a teen parent if I did annoys me beyond comprehension. At 25, my immediate family still acts like I’ll become pregnant if I so much as breathe on a man. I really wish that was an exaggeration. If I really wanted to become pregnant against all logic, I would’ve done it by now. Their scare tactics really didn’t work when I was a teenager either. I knew from a young age – about nine or so – children were a huge responsibility, and I only saw more and more of how huge when I became a teen and learned about pregnancy and childbirth. That’s the one good thing that came out of being an older sibling: taking care of my sister was more than enough for me to realize I don’t want to do it voluntarily. For the same reason, it’s probably not surprising if I wanted to be a parent, I’d be “one and done”. To this day, I envy only children. And no, siblings don’t prevent loneliness. Outside of school, where my friends were, I was always lonely. You can be lonely with other people around. “Lonely” and “alone” are not interchangeable.

Since I haven’t “made any babies”, my family assumes their scare tactics work, and I don’t think worth it to tell them they’re wrong. Part of me does wish I could prove them wrong – that it’s possible to be a parent in a committed, healthy relationship and raise kids as a couple – but aside from being a terrible reason to have kids, I doubt they would change their minds. They are stubborn (not hard to see where my own was inherited from), and I’d rather not spend my life fighting to prove them wrong. Some people are motivated by that idea. I find it tiring.

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