I went through a brief period of time recently where I entertained the idea of producing children. PP husband is not opposed to the idea and even mentions wanting them once in awhile. He is by no means enthusiastically mooning over the idea because our situation is shared with only 1% of the US population and I do not mean that we are rich.
We are an active duty military family. My husband flies jets and I am a high school teacher. Having kids for our family would look considerably different from the rest of you 99%.
Other than my normal reasons for not wanting kids (overpopulation, freedom, alone time, sex life, $$$, risk of making an asshole kid, sleep deprivation, constant worry, career aspirations, birth trauma, pregnancy weight, mom guilt, over sharing, advice from the world, mom competition, pinterest moms, etc.) I would be tasked with raising a child(ren) alone for 9 months at a time for the next several years. That’s not fair to PP spawn, me or PP husband.
One could argue that plenty of people are single parents and to those parents I salute you to the moon and back (you also probably live near helpful family members. We live 1,750 miles away from our closest relatives). I am not meant for that and I didn’t sign up for that. I can barely keep our pets fed and house and cars running while PP husband is away. You want me to keep another human alive (and happy), too!?
I have watched military parents struggle through deployments with sleep deprivation and broken marriages to show for it. The kids mostly survive but often the parent relationship dies from a myriad of causes ranging from stress, loneliness and adultery to just plain resentment. Our own (child-free) marriage limped along through the second deployment while I tried desperately to keep my shit together. I have several emails that I (shouldn’t have) sent to my husband expressing my inability to keep going. I was lonely and my husband isn’t the best at expressing love from long distances. He’s great in person.
My story is not unique except that we somehow managed to survive where others did not.
For many women, becoming a mom is a drive that even military life can’t stop. I know one woman who freezes her husband’s sperm so that when he is deployed or training she can still try to conceive while she’s ovulating. She’s clearly motivated mom material.
That’s not me, dammit. I’ve spent 17 years trying NOT to get pregnant and I seem to continue doing so without many interruptions. When I get a little too used to my husband being home I toss the kid idea around a little. But then he leaves again and I’m right back to Planned Parenthood begging for another Nuva Ring to put in my beautiful lady cave.
I think I’ll stay child-free for(ever) the next 4 back-to-back deployments. But to all of you military parents, keep up the good fight. I’ll be here supporting you with peasant food, wine and the occasional babysitting gig. (I love kids! I’m a teacher for fuck’s sake!)
(Thanks, Tim Fonder for the cartoon!)