Walking an uncertain pathLatest Issue, Queerly Forward Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017
Commentary: Queerly Forward
In the child-free community, they would call me a fence sitter – a person who is unsure about whether or not they want to have children one day. Despite this, sometimes aggressively imposed, label, I choose to embrace ambiguity in this area in the same manner in which I approach labeling my sexuality and gender identity. Selecting a single word to describe such an immense topic feels, yet again, overwhelming and, quite frankly, wrong. My decision about the future nature of my family cannot be captured in a single word, nor do I feel a responsibility to claim a position on something that my husband and I feel would be most appropriate discussed years from now, at the soonest.
I felt the demand to “pick a side” surge over me this past weekend, from both the outside world and my own biological clock, when my younger sister gave birth to my niece. As the oldest of the four siblings and in the midst of a period of self-exploration, I experienced her pregnancy through the mindset of “I don’t feel old enough to have children, let alone old enough to have a younger sibling who has them.” Yet, when that perfect little girl came into the world, I was instantly smitten by the visual similarities to my sister and myself, making that clock tick a little louder. My pride in being a first time aunt and sharing her photo with everyone who would look also had yielded an increased frequency at which the question “do you want children?” is being asked. I have given in to answering quite honestly: “I have no idea.”
This phenomenon is a new one for me. I was raised in an environment where so much focus was placed on a future inclusive of children. When we played house, we discussed in more detail than most how many we would have one day. As soon as we were old enough, we babysat the neighbors’ kids. During visits with our cousins, it was reinforced to us how wonderful it would be one day for our own children to be cousins and how valuable these dynamics were. When I began dating, I had a staunch policy about only dating people who were 100 percent pro-becoming parents, because a life without them was beyond the realm of my imagination. It didn’t dawn on me until I moved away from my family to a new state and started to truly beat my own path that I had choice in this matter
This appears deeply incongruent to most who know me. When a baby is in the room, I am the first person vying to hold them. As I walk past displays of baby clothes in stores, it is almost embarrassing how excited I get about the tiny outfits. I even specialized in maternal and child health within my graduate social work program because of my love for working with pregnancy and family planning. I remain apprehensive, despite these traits that typically scream, “I cannot wait for my own kids!” Do we want to bring a child into the world in its current state? Would we either be willing to give up living in this area to move elsewhere, or would we ever be able to afford staying while having a family? If we do have a child, are we going to choose sperm donation or will we choose adoption?
At the end of the day, I feel no true need to answer these questions. I am living a life I love with a partner who is already my whole family; I am and I have more than enough. I am not sitting on a fence, unsure of myself; I am more than certain that when the day comes, we will know the right path and venture onto it wholeheartedly.
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=84222