One of my favorite bloggers Rebecca Woolf (I have sung her praises and will continue to indefinitely due to her honest way of writing, her candid humor, kindness and just plain awesomeness)* posted a new question to the women of Momversation- What would you be doing if you didn't have children?
This question is a doozy for some. It can hit you over the head with truth, fantasy, honesty, happiness for the present or sadness for the past. That same question has been looming over my head begging for an answer that I had previously pushed to the backburner, unable to think about it due to taking care of Jack, being caught up in the moments of parenthood, being frightened or even hurt of the outcome of such unanswered rhetorical questions. It wasn't until visiting with family did I think of it after my cousin said "and to think you never used to want kids. You used to say it all the time."
I didn't want children four years ago. I didn't want the never ending responsibilities and truths that come with parenting. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to travel. I wanted to wake up late in sun drenched beds, boyfriend by my side and explore the day on my own time. When I found out I was pregnant everything went grey. Those days of wandering around, spending all day in libraries, writing poetry and smoking were put in a cell, awaiting their execution once the newest priority arrived, swaddled in blankets and needing a changing.
Greg and I were going through a somewhat rockier phase in our relationship. We had just celebrated our first anniversary and it seemed like "what now?" was the main course question on our plates. We were entering the stage where couples get comfortable. Courting sort of becomes a fading sentiment and flowers are given only on holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Make-up isn't applied as religiously and sometimes bathroom doors are just kept open. Being young you fear this stage as "boredom", as a slow suicide to romance. I know now that this isn't the case but back then...
I had just quit my job. A short sided attempt at saying "fuck the man" that immediately resulted in the man fucking my bank account and credit. Greg had just finished getting his Masters in Biochemical Engineering, yet had no luck finding a job in his field for about four months and instead took a job in telemarketing to make money for rent, car insurance and Hormel Compleats. I couldn't find a damn thing, something that bruised my ego as I had always found jobs easily. After the positive test came through, nobody wanted to hire the pregnant girl. Eventually after much grind, arguments stemmed from stress, and living with my dad for a few months to get back on our feet, Greg found a great job in his field, we moved to Oro Valley and in five months Jack joined us. We became a family. But "what would you be doing if you didn't have children?"
It's hard for me to really say. A part of me thinks Greg and I would have broken up. I would have moved in with my grandmother or friend and started classes at the local community college (I had started enrolling before I moved in with Greg). Maybe I'd major in literature. A part of me thinks Greg and I would stick together and be "the sweet couple who's working on their dissertations together". A part of me thinks I'd just be alone. The lone wolf part of my soul taking precedence over relationships and everything they involve. I will forever be those two fish swimming in opposite directions at times able to go one way for a long time, but not without looking back behind me. And that's okay. It's okay to think "what if?" It can lead to revelations, reignite passions, propel you to make things better. Stick in there, but don't get stuck.
These days I don't fear the future and I don't regret my past. If I never had Jack I'd have loads of growing to do. And all of those things I wanted to do are never out of reach anyway. The lone wolf simply found her pack.
* I actually e-mailed Mrs. Woolf one day after she released her book "Rockabye: From Wild to Child" which was everything I had wanted to write about my experience with an unplanned pregnancy but she had written better. I thanked her for her words and ability to write all too kindred feelings. She responded that evening, and was the most sweet, down-to-earth, and empowering woman.