By Anna Brüner
When I tell people I don’t want to be a mom, they assume I don’t like children. True, I am the first person to mutter obscenities under my breath when your spawn starts crying on the airplane. I roll my eyes at Facebook friends’ pictures of the horrid “little diva” and “Iittle player” ensembles they force upon their unwilling 8 months olds. I think people who bring their kids to a bar (I don’t care how good the fried ravioli is, Donna) are shitty. I was the only person in my 10th grade health class to leave during the birthing videos, where I didn’t even make it to the bathroom down the hall before puking in a janitor’s garbage can. Being in the same room as a pregnant woman makes me obscenely uncomfortable. I hate feeling sticky.
But I’m also the person who plays peek-a-boo with toddlers on public transportation. I’m the one who humors your child while you argue with customer service. At family functions I disregard all of my closest relations and opt for playing restaurant with my cousin’s four year old daughter. I make goofy ass faces in public just trying to get your squishy newborn to smile. I also worked as a full time nanny, and it was the most rewarding job of my life. I like kids. I love kids. I think kids are infinitely better than their adult counterparts, full of love and wonder and uncorrupted by the world.
But I don’t want to be a mom.
When I tell people I don’t want to be a mom, they tell me things like “oh, you will someday” and always raise their eyebrows in the same way that eludes to them envisioning the filthy act of my procreating. It’s fucking creepy. I get told things like how I would be a great mom, how I’m so good with kids, how any kid would be lucky to have me as a mom, etc, etc, etc. Great compliments, believe me, but I don’t need them. I don’t need to be told what kind of mother I would be. I don’t need to be reminded in monologues about the glory of pregnancy and the beauty of childbirth. I don’t need to be lectured as if I am failing somehow, as if not having a child is the same thing as dropping out of college and developing a heroin addiction. I don’t have to bombarded with unwanted encouragement, when I’m sure my partner has never been asked from the age of thirteen why he might not want kids, or have his uncertainty about wanting kids deliberated upon by anyone who strikes up a conversation with him.
I’m sure I would make a great parent, in other ways. I don’t think I’m selfish for never wanting to become pregnant. I don’t think refusing to go off of my bipolar medication for nine months, refusing to give up my lifestyle and possibly my career, for a human being who got no say in being created. If I became pregnant, I would cease to be my best self. I would become unmedicated, mentally unstable, possibly dangerous to myself, and would put both myself and an unborn child at risk every single day. That, to me, would be selfish.
My own mental health aside, even if I were perfectly “well-functioning” and stable and healthy and the kind of person who could actually eat kale and not live off of sushi and martinis, even if I offered no danger to the parasitic little person hanging out amongst my organs, I still would not feel right about bringing a child into this world. I am terrified of the future. I am terrified of war, illness, hate, violence, and all the other atrocities people commit against each other every single day. I don’t foresee it getting any better, or at least better enough to the point that I would want to bring one more person into the garbled, chaotic mess. I could never justify bringing a new, pure human life onto a dying planet. I won’t. I refuse. I don’t want to be a mom.
But, as I said earlier, I could be a parent. I could offer my home and my love to a child who is already here. I could try to give them the best life that I can. I would try my best to make sure i help them become the best person they could be. I would teach them not to hate, not the judge, not to be afraid, not to engage in violence, not to turn a blind eye away from those in need. I would teach them to respect and protect life, to reach out to others who need help, to be an example. Maybe, if I am very very lucky, I could raise a person who would find a way to make the world better. Who would solve problems. Who would mend hearts. Who, if they wanted to have children of their own, would feel confident enough in mankind to do so. That, I would try my very hardest to do, and maybe, in that sense, I would be a good mom.