It’s been over a year since I finished university, and during that time I’ve watched a large amount of my friends and former classmates make some unfathomably huge life decisions. A few have moved in with their significant others, and a handful have even gotten married. These are choices that I am somewhat jealous of – after all, who doesn’t like the idea of waking up next to the person you love every morning? I’d probably avoid getting married myself, however. I’m not religious, and I’d rather spend the money for a wedding on something concrete and substantial, like furniture or two hundred puppies. Yet a select few of the people on my Facebook feed have undergone what is easily the most terrifyingly massive decision of them all: creating human life. And the more photos of baby bumps and freshly birthed infants I see, the more I realise that I am absolutely repulsed by the idea of motherhood.
Okay, so maybe ‘repulsed’ is too strong a word. I don’t look at children and immediately want to projectile vomit, unless they’re doing some gross shit like drinking directly from a ketchup bottle. (I have seen this on more than one occasion.) Admittedly, however, the entire concept of pregnancy does make me feel unbelievably queasy. Maybe it was being exposed to too many films like Rosemary’s Baby or Alien, but whenever I see a protruding pregnant belly, I’m struck with the image of a parasite leeching off of my energy and devouring me from the inside. But this is only whenever I think of pregnancy in relation to myself, if that makes sense. Looking at those expecting, who are so very visibly excited for the life inside them, who really do emit that stereotypical glow because they’re just so happy, fills me with warmth and never fails to make me smile. But if I try to picture myself in that scenario, it’s like a mental block is put up, and my brain shrieks unrelentingly at me about how absolutely God-awful it would be. It’s an inconceivable scenario to me. I just don’t get that joyful feeling fantasising about it.
Carrying something inside you for nine months, and then undergoing a process which will either involve intense vaginal pain for hours on end or leave you with a scar across your entire midsection is bad enough. But then afterwards, you are responsible for another human being for the rest of your life. A human being which looks remarkably like a hideous pink raisin to start with. Some people view this as an entirely new and different adventure, a plunge into a mysterious land to discover. I cannot fathom this perspective. You are responsible for something FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! FOREVER! NO TAKE-BACKS! THAT’S IT, YOU’RE DONE! From the second your child is born, every single decision you make has to be for their betterment. You have to pay attention to this child 24/7 or else it will literally die because it is useless without you. It’s like you’re the permanent designated driver for a tiny drunk. Say goodbye to disposable income and free time, because you now have to spend all of it on someone who may grow up to completely hate you anyway.
I think that’s one of the most off-putting things about parenthood. That you can do practically everything right, investing in your child both financially and leisurely, giving up almost everything to make sure they have a decent upbringing, and they can still turn out terribly. It reminds me of one of my favourite books, We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, an epistolary about Eva, a woman who immediately regrets her foray into motherhood almost as soon as her son Kevin is conceived, and then on an even grander scale when he commits a school shooting. The novel deals with age-old questions about parenthood: can some children be born evil? Or are we shaped completely by our experiences? Eva is very flawed, but she genuinely tries to form a connection to her son in his infancy, but it just never comes, and the prospect of that is horrifying to me. Because parents always say that “you’ll feel different when it’s yours”, but what if I don’t? Why would I want to undergo an entire pregnancy solely on the gamble that maybe I’ll love whatever comes out?
It’s not even that I don’t like kids. One on one, I absolutely love talking to them. My job means that I deal with them a lot, and have to do a lot of product demonstrations for them, and they go completely nuts for it. It’s adorable. They’re generally so excitable and funny in the naive, eccentric way that kids can be. Most of them, anyway. In the upper-class area I work in, you get your fair share of spoilt brats who have no manners whatsoever, and believe their existence heralds a Second Coming. Before this job, I never had thoughts of sucker-punching a child. But eventually I realised that everything a child is and does is completely down to the parent. Children are just little sponges that will absorb everything their parents teach them, and if the parent is a cunt, well, odds are they’re gonna have cunty little wankstain spawn. Being a parent is a tiresome, thankless job that you have to be entirely engrossed in if you want to produce a decent human being, and when it all boils down to it, I’m just too selfish to be a mother. For me, the pay-off is just not worth the sacrifices. But why does that have to be a bad thing?
Honestly, isn’t it good that I understand I’d be a terrible mother? That I know not to create life because I’d much rather do stupid things like watch Netflix in the same position for ten hours straight? (Related: Stranger Things is really good, you guys.) I used to beat myself up for not having that maternal drive, that ethereal fire that inexplicably draws you to the realm of motherhood. Because we are brought up in a society that expects women to drop everything and become mothers, and paints them as lonely old spinsters if they lead a childless existence. Why is wanting to focus on my own life, my own ambitions and relationships, such an awfully unforgivable concept? Excuse me for not wanting to drop everything I have to give birth, only to look back wistfully on my twenties and harbour resentment for the child I thrust upon the world. How horrible of me.
In short, some people want nothing more than to be a parent, and that is fine. I do not want to be a parent, and that is also fine. If you feel the need to tell me that I’ll change my mind in a few years time, just literally do anything else instead. My suggestion box is currently closed, thanks anyway. Don’t worry about it. You wouldn’t tell people they’ll regret their marriage after a while, so don’t invalidate my feelings either, ta! The cons of parenthood just heavily outweigh the pros for me, so it seems an easy choice. The only compromise I’d be willing to make is having a dog. At least dogs don’t grow up to disappoint you by becoming murderers or anti-feminists.