I've played many roles in my life. The off-stage roles include: camp counselor, box office attendant, concessions counter girl, waitress, bookseller, producer, production manager, teacher, coach, wife, sister, daughter, grand daughter and niece. My favorite role of all, however, is the role of Tía.
Being an aunt is one of the most amazing things ever. I love my nephews to pieces and I get to play with them and care for them, at least once a week, and I am an important and integral part of their lives. AND I get to give them back to their mommy & daddy at the end of the day. It's kinda brilliant, actually.
Oy, do I love these two little guys!
For most of my life, even my friends told me, "You'll make a great mom someday." (Note to self: by the way, this is NOT something you want to hear in high school from the cute boy who you'd like to ask you out.) Or people would say: "You're so good with kids. When are you going to have your own?" And my least favorite - "Why don't you have any kids?"
Choosing not to have kids seemed foreign to everyone I knew. It was completely against-the-grain and out-of the-box.
And truth be told, for a long time, I was just pissed off & angry. How are any of my personal choices, let alone my reproductive choices, anyone else's business? I knew, on some level, that the questions were not about me, but about the person who was asking them. Yet every single time my choices were questioned, it made me feel like no matter what I did, it would never be enough, I would never be enough. I would never measure up, and I would not fully meet the external expectations of why I was brought here to begin with. I was letting down the "team" or something ridiculous like that.
This whole idea of having kids was something I never agreed to nor was I EVER asked if that was what I really wanted. It was just assumed that I would, by everyone else and therefore by me too, I guess. I suppose it was ingrained in my head: "you get married and you have kids." And yet somewhere in my gut, something didn't feel right.
Something felt off.
Where did what I want come in? Having a child is not something you can undo and it is certainly not something I take lightly. When I took stock and I really checked in with myself, I realized that it was not a yes for me. In fact, I think that on some level, it was never a yes. It was always a no. In truth, even now as I write this, I probably felt that way since I was at least 12 years old. I was simply convincing myself that it was a yes because that's what everyone else wanted; because that's what everyone else expected; because that's what everyone else did; because I wanted to be accepted, loved and fit in. AND since everyone else seemed to think that's what I should want for myself, I therefore, assumed that's what I should be wanting and doing myself.
OY the dreaded "should"! PLEASE STOP SHOULD-ING ON YOURSELF!!!
The greatest harm a woman can do to herself is to abandon what she truly desires to please and make other people happy. It's called self-abandonment & self-betrayal.
AND How you do anything is how you do everything. Do you allow other people's expectations of you to govern your decisions around work, relationships, health, family, until one day, you wake up and feel like you are living someone else's life and you have gotten lost in the shuffle? Have your hopes and dreams gotten shoved aside to fulfill what you thought or think your role is supposed to be?
Ask yourself, what do I desire? Can you truly answer that question separate from any external "shoulds" or expectations? If you use the word "should" in your answer, it is an indicator that it is not truly your thought or your choice but it's coming from something outside of you, someone else's conditioning is actually dictating what you believe you want.
The more I denied my truth, the angrier and more frustrated I became. I felt alone and like some sort of strange anomaly, because I wanted something different than what I saw everyone else doing. And to make matters even worse, the constant need to try and explain, justify, defend and argue my choices over and over again made me feel even more alone and less-than, made me hate myself and made me feel guilty, ashamed and doubtful of what was right for me.
I didn't feel I could tell anybody because everybody else was doing what everybody else was doing, except for me. The easy thing would have been to succumb to the pressure and give them what they want, be who they want me to be, do what is expected of me and live a life that wasn't what I wanted, that made me unhappy and made me feel sad & empty & sick on the inside. But then that deep sadness would then affect every other part of my life, my relationship, my career, my health, everything.
Making decisions that truly honor your desires, that truly feel right for you, requires you to stop trying to please everyone else. Trying to please everybody else only makes you suffer and then you have to live with what you created based on "their "expectations. This kind of decision making leaves you feeling unfulfilled, resentful, unhappy, etc.
AND PS - this does not just apply to having babies. This applies to EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE.
If you choose to be a parent, awesome! Own it and own your power and remember that that is just part of who you are. Don't use parenthood or your kids as an excuse for staying small, stuck and unhappy. Claim what you desire and live the life you came here to live. Your children learn by what they see and hear you doing. Lead them by example. Teach them what it means to go after your dreams no matter what other people say or think or do. Teach them that no circumstance can stop them from being, doing and having what they came here to be, do and have.
If you choose not to be a parent, awesome! Own it and own your power and know that you can love the kids in your life as your own and that who you are and what you have to offer is such a gift to those children and to their parents. Better role models for children leads to better adult humans. Children need positive role models in their life to learn how to say yes to their truth regardless of opposition or resistance that may try to throw them off course.
Each of us contributes to the whole of humanity. Our behaviors ripple out and cause the attraction of more of the same. Whether or not you have kids of your own, how you live your life contributes to the lives of each of us, everywhere, no matter what our age.