I think I’m really sensitive to this because I, too, spent most of my younger days being grossed out by babies and poop and spit up. I felt like omg, everyone expects me to just swoon because a smelly baby is right in front of me. That being said, none of my family members really ever pressured me to have children and I think a lot of that kids-in-my-face business was my imagination. In retrospect, if I didn’t want to hold a person’s baby, they didn’t force me; they left me alone if I said, “Oh, no. I’m afraid I might drop him” or “I don’t want to be thrown up on.”
I was married for six years before we even discussed the idea of thinking about it. He loves children and wanted to have them if I was up for it; I was child free by choice until I was almost 34.
What it all came down to was my own upbringing. I was scared that I might royally mess up a kid because I was afraid I didn’t have the skills or emotional strength to keep my shit together. My mom had a notoriously short fuse and would often throw at or hit me with anything in her hands.
I was also petrified of the idea of childbirth. I grew up thinking I would never get married and never have kids.
But then I did. Both. And now it seems I run across people like I was, but worse, a lot. Is it karma? Did I bring this on myself? Maybe you just have to get older and know yourself better to understand the exact reasons why you think you can’t stand children.
I mean, I wasn’t especially vocal about my feelings. I would never have had said I “hated” children, and I wouldn’t have posted about it on the internet all the time. I see this a lot on pages I’ve “liked” on Facebook. I’ve seen entire web sites dedicated to how retarded parents are. People yank photos from their social networking pals’ pages and submit them to web sites that pass judgment and point fingers and call the parents nasty names. It seems really popular and super trendy to despise children.
Do I love every child I meet? No. Do I ooh and aah over every infant I meet? No. Do I scream in baby talk at kids? No. The older my daughter gets, the more interesting I find her, and the less interested I am in taking care of another infant.
Like I said, maybe I’m just hyper aware, but it seems as though there are hordes of child-hating females on the interwebz. Maybe it’s just that the anonymity allows people to be more open about it. Maybe there have always been women like this throughout history, but they’re only now comfortable enough to discuss it openly. But they all like to talk about how different they are, how they’re going against the grain, how they’re bucking the system, how alone they are in this. And then twenty other women agree with them on one post.
I want to scream at all of these people that they, too, were children once, and how would they like it if they knew that a stranger they’d seen at the grocery store or a restaurant was thinking, “Jesus, I just fucking hate kids.”
I don’t want to get all hippy-dippy and kumbaya on you, but kids really are the future and it really does sometimes take a village to raise a child. In the US it seems we have two types of people that are the most vocal: those who are so focused and extreme in their parenting that they can’t be flexible with their children and parenting styles at all (baby-wearing, extended breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby-led weaning, everything has a name and EVERYONE has to find a way to identify themselves), and those who think kids are soul-sucking, filthy, disgusting creatures whose mere presence is an insult. I don’t think either person is right, but I wish they could all step outside of themselves for a moment and notice how ridiculous they sound.