Last night I dreamed about babies. Again.
My husband and I had apparently had a baby boy some months prior, and had given him up for adoption. Now, we wanted him back, but it didn't look as though it was possible. Worst of all, I couldn't even remember what we had named our son; his middle name, I knew, was Luc, but I couldn't remember his first name. My husband would have known, but I was too ashamed to ask him. There wasn't much story line in the dream, which makes for a pretty poor blog post. All I can really remember is the heartbreaking sorrow that I felt, knowing that we had had a son, and lost him. I woke up on the edge of tears, with the taste of that sorrow on my lips.
I'm frustratingly bipolar on the topic of children. There are many days, sometimes stretching into weeks, when I am convinced that I don't want children at all--never, ever. I don't particularly like children, and I'm never very good at interacting with them. My husband's not good with them either; he's terrified of our nieces and nephews, and pretty awkward in general. There's just no logical reason, in my opinion, for us to have children. We've got nieces and nephews galore already--one of my sisters has six kids--so we're certainly not lacking interaction with children. There are too damn many people in the world already, a fact which is responsible for a vast majority of our ecological problems. I think there's a good chance that the shit's going to hit the fan worldwide sometime in the next century; if I'm right, it seems unbelievably cruel to bring children into such a world. I want to travel the world, hike the long trails, drink vast quantities of red wine, retire early and comfortably. Children don't fit well into that equation either.
But other days, particularly this time of year (why is that?), I desperately, desperately want children. It gets so bad that it transforms into an actual physical pain. Today, unfortunately, is one of those days. I woke up this morning with that hollow ache deep in my body's center. When I walked back to the office this afternoon from lunch with a friend, I passed a playground where young children were playing, and I almost cried out. I pore through the baby pictures of friends on Facebook, and suffer unspeakable jealousy. I don't understand my feelings, and they drive me mad. I don't want to be a parent!
(Perhaps my biggest shame is that I know that if we do have children, I will want to be the stay-at-home mom. I don't enjoy working for other people anyway, and would relish an excuse to quit. I know that this would be a cause for scorn within my social circle, which consists primarily of academics. And although that shouldn't bother me, it does.)
My only consolation is that I still have time to decide. I'm 26 years old; my husband will be 29 next month. We know for certain that we don't want to have children at least until he finishes his Ph.D., in about two more years' time. I hope, though, that we can come to some sort of decision before then, and that I can find some peace with whatever that decision may be.
The photo is of my newest nephew.