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Why I Won't Encourage My Children to Have Children

by Jessica Rowe 4 years ago in children

Being a parent is the most terrifying thing in the world.

I love my children more than life itself. I’m honestly a little obsessed with them. I didn’t know what love really was until I became a mother. They are beautiful little souls and the mere thought of a life without them makes me burst into tears.

But do I want them to become parents one day? Not really.

Being a parent is the most terrifying thing in the world. Babies are the most fragile little creatures and their very lives are in your hands at all times. Do you know how easy it is for the things to die?! What if you’re carrying them and you slip and chuck the thing across the room? What if you get into a car accident? What if some crazy person runs at you and murders them? What if you accidentally fall asleep while feeding them and you suffocate them? They’re all terrible thoughts but they are thoughts parents have constantly.

I’ll never forget the nightmare I had two days after my third child was born. I dreamt that I was at the mall and my two older kids got lost. I could see them wandering around looking for me, getting further and further away from me, and I couldn’t call out to them and I couldn’t reach them. Eventually, I found them hiding and crying under a table in the foodcourt when I realized I didn’t have my baby. I looked around and spotted a baby trampled on the floor. It wasn’t my baby. But that image still haunts me to this day. That feeling of losing my children still haunts me and it didn’t even actually happen. I woke up from that terrible nightmare covered in sweat and sobbing. My one chance at sleep with a newborn and I have a nightmare. Figures.

The most terrible, real experience I’ve had as a mother was when my three-year-old daughter got sick and nearly died. We all got the flu and she got it so bad that her liver shut down. I can recall that day so vividly. It was horrifying. But she’s okay now. We’re all okay now.

But these are things that parents have to endure, or at the very least fear having to endure. We are lucky that the hardest thing we have had to experience so far was a near-death and not an actual death.

Our everyday lives as a family are so full of laughter and hugs and great memories, but they’re also filled with crippling anxiety. I still check on my kids every night to make sure they’re breathing. And I know this is all going to get worse as they get older when they won’t always be under our protective roof.

So no, I will never encourage my children to have children. I want to protect them from absolutely everything. And that includes the anxiety and fear and grief they would feel as a parent. I want them to be able to be selfish. I want them to only have to worry about themselves. I don’t want them to suffer when they are unable to prevent the suffering of someone they love so much.

Does this mean in any way that I wish I weren’t a parent so I could be more selfish? Absolutely not. I think I would suffer much more from not being a parent than I would from being one. My children make me a better, stronger, smarter person. They have taught me so much about life and love and I'm still learning from them every day. If they were to want that same thing when the time comes around, I wouldn’t tell them not to. Being a parent is the most incredible thing one could be. But I’m also not going to start pressuring them to give me grandchildren at any point. I don’t see the point in encouraging my children to do something that will give them severe anxiety for the rest of their lives so that I can have even more anxiety for the rest of mine.

Do the benefits of having children outweigh the drawbacks? Of course they do. There really is nothing more beautiful than raising children. But there’s also nothing more terrifying and heartbreaking and painful. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if my children choose to bring in little bubbles of pure happiness and anguish, I’ll be ridiculously happy for them. But if they choose not to, I’ll be ridiculously relieved.


About the author

Jessica Rowe

Mama, wife, writer.

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