Why Giving Birth Isn’t Something That’s Right For Me

Honesty is the best policy


My wife and I are still on the fence about having a second child. I’ve already told her that staying home full time for another two years is not something I’m interested in doing, so that’s up in the air. I feel guilty about that, but I learned the hard lesson that being honest and upfront about difficult subjects is a lot better than saying “yes” to something you don’t really want to do just to please someone else. If I didn’t honor my true feelings, I’d only end up being resentful and bitter. And that’s not good for anyone.

Many people have asked me recently if my wife and I do decide to have a second child, am I going to carry it. The answer is no. Here are two upfront and honest reasons why:

Number one

I never physically wanted to have a child. I didn’t play with a baby doll and cradle it lovingly in my arms when I was a little girl. I played with GI JOE’S instead. When I got older and my relatives and friends started having babies, I never felt the urge to hold them or coo at them. I felt awkward around babies and little kids, because I didn’t know how to act or hold them or whatever. It always felt as if that part of me was missing, like I was born without it. Of course, having my own daughter changed all of that. I eased into being a mother as seamlessly as finding an old favorite shoe in the back of the closet and slipping it on. But the birth part hasn’t changed. I still don’t have any desire to physically have a child. None. Nada. Zilch.

Number two

I take Lithium. I’ve battled depression and anxiety off and on since I was a teenager. It runs in both sides of family—luck of the draw, I suppose? I used to be ashamed of it, especially because of how society views mental illness. I tried to heal myself through a variety of other means, including reiki, meditation, herbs and spirituality. I only took prescription medication when I’d have a severe bout of depression and as soon I was feeling better, I’d ditch the pills only to relapse a couple of years later. This rollercoaster went on for years, until my wife told me she was pregnant. I was coming out of another bad bout—the worst one I’ve ever had. I thought of Maggie and how I need to be as healthy mentally as I could possibly be. So I stayed on the meds this time and let it be. If I were to get pregnant, I would have to get off them. After giving birth, a woman’s hormones fluctuate so intensely that some women experience minor baby blues while others go into a full on postpartum depression. My mother experienced the latter and it was horrible for her. Knowing my history and my family’s history, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take. Not now. Not ever. Nope.

So there you have it. Honesty. And while we’re on the subject, can you honestly stop asking me if I’m going to have a baby next?

It’s never going to happen.