This weekend, while my boyfriend is in Bali, I spent a couple of days with his kids. His daughters are aged 9 1/2 and almost 12, and are totally awesome. Smart, funny, kind, adventurous, easy going. It’s a pleasure being with them, and being a part of their lives makes me feel happy and fulfilled in a way I hadn’t anticipated.
Does it make me want kids myself? Hell no.
The decision not to have children was never actually a decision for me. I didn’t weigh up the pros and cons and then, on balance, elect not to. I have simply never felt the urge. I could analyze why endlessly. The fact that my parents were significantly older than average? Our distant relationship, even before I left Australia? Or did I kill my biological instincts and hormonal pulls through the eating disorders that defined my twenties?
Like so many things I analyze endlessly, I’ll never really know.
My main reasoning, when people ask me why I don’t have kids, which they do, and I don’t have a problem with that because it means I can ask them why they do have children, which inevitably produces a much more interesting answer, is as follows. I have a lot of love to give, and being a mother by definition means giving love in a super intense, specific way. I prefer to spread my love differently, to as many people as possible – as a friend, aunty, yoga teacher, coach, sister, daughter, girlfriend. Mothers do this too, I know. Quite frankly mothers amaze me. But this just feels right to, and for, me.
I never doubt this non-decision. I don’t need to. I love my life so much, and the freedom which has given rise to so many important and meaningful friendships and interactions, many of which I could not have had if I’d had babies. I’m grateful for this lack of doubt, and see close up in dear friends how hard it can be to want children and not be able to. I’m lucky to be spared that agony.
And while I have no intention of being a full-blown step-monster, I’m excited to continue to be a presence in my boyfriend’s kids’ lives, to love and support them as they evolve into teenagers, college students, and beyond.