An actual post. Look out. RogueBambi wrote in her blog the other day about the troubles she’s been having with conceiving a child. I wrote out a response to her and figured I’d flesh out the thoughts a bit more here, if for no other reason then to have something other then a status update.
I knew early on in life that I didn’t want to have kids. Its not that I hate them or have no patience with them. Quite the contrary, I’m pretty good with them. Or at least I used to be. I babysitted quite a bit in high school. I know, unusual for a guy but my parents were going to college late in life and we were living on campus and there was just a built in need for older kids to watch smaller ones. On top of that, because my parents were going to school and having a ton of their time eaten up by that, it fell to me to basically raise my sister. And I did a pretty good job of it. So the reasons aren’t really wrapped up in the child. Its wrapped up in physical and psychological reasons.
My grandfather developed his arthritic condition in his 30s. My father in his 20s. Me? Teens. That’s not a pleasant trend. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if I had a male child, he’d get hit with whatever it is I have very early in life. My sister went through Myasthenia gravis when she was in second grade. In kids you have to take the thymus gland out to cure that and that takes open heart surgery to accomplish. She also got hit with diabetes early in life. These are just the big afflictions. There are a ton of others that my family also has. At some point you just have to take that step back and ask yourself if its fair to do that to a kid. Because you can bet your ass he or she is going to be asking that question. It just was something that I became increasingly uncomfortable with. On top of that is my own health and my ability to provide for and take care of a child. I have a lot more operations in my future as well as a few more diseases that are lurking, waiting for me to ripen a bit more I suspect. Maybe that sounds paranoid, but it is what it is… you know? The bottom line was I just didn’t feel comfortable putting a kid through that.
The psychological aspect of it? Well… in an earlier post I discussed a little about my mother’s life growing up with a sadistic father who enjoyed incest. There has always been a fear attached to having a child with me. A knee jerk reaction that makes me want to say no even when I’m in a headspace where I’m regretting not having one. As I’ve said before, I have no idea what role I played in the house of horror my mom grew up in, but I suspect I witnessed something at the very least. Its a pretty good guess the fear of having a child and whatever sick crap I witnessed as a kid are linked. Incest can become a generational cycle. And if its rooted deep enough, it can be difficult to break. I never molested my sister. I never molested any child I ever cared for. But there’s a fear there that is irrational that I can’t shake. The fact that I enjoy ageplay doesn’t exactly help get rid of that irrational fear either. Logically I understand the difference between roleplaying with my wife and what the reality of doing the same acts to a kid are. The former can be relatively healthy. The later? Well, a bucket full of water and a broken lamp come to mind for those who follow that path. Like I said, my fear is irrational especially when you consider that I have no problem seeing the death penalty applied to child molesters… but its still there none the less.
Adoption is something Grace and I have discussed… but I doubt very seriously its in the cards. The truth of the matter is we spend so much time working on ourselves that we just don’t have it in us to take care of a child too. Grace is still a year away from going back to college. Well, less then a year but still a bit away. She’s had so much of her life taken from her and she’s never had the opportunity to follow her own path before. To do what she wants to do and not what someone else wants. Having a kid would tend to rob that from her. Physically, psychologically, and financially we just aren’t in a place to follow that path.
There will always be that “What if?” hanging there, though. My first wife actually miscarried a child early on in our relationship when things were still good between us. Its the only thing I can point to if someone asks the question, “What if birth control fails and Grace gets pregnant anyway?”. The answer is, I’d be fine with it. For all my neurotic fears and logical reasoning, if it happened anyway I’d be fine. I roll with those types of punches fairly well. I suspect the whole, “Everything happens for a reason” mentality I try to maintain helps with that. I was happy my ex was pregnant. But the flip side to that was I wasn’t devastated when she miscarried. She hadn’t been pregnant all that long so maybe if it was further along it would have hit me differently. We barely had figured out she was pregnant when it happened.
Anyway, I helped raise my sister into a wonderful, loving, young woman. And, honestly, that’s good enough for me. If, at the end of the day, she’s the only child I help raise I’m okay with that. And I love my nephew to pieces. I worry about him, obviously, but we know what to look for with him and if we catch what my Dad and I have early enough in him…if he gets it too which isn’t a guarantee… then he can live a fairly normal life. So I’ll be content to be the Uncle that spoils him rotten every chance I get. And that thought makes me pretty happy. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the what ifs. And the regrets. But most of those are out of my control. I played the game with cards I got dealt and it landed me in a great relationship with a woman that I will live the rest of my life with. That tends to salve what wounds those regrets would cause.