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Recommendations from Pocket Users

Callie Schweitzer

Shared November 22, 2015

"one tricky thing about your 20s is the need to make decisions for a future self whose desires are unknowable."

Jessica Bixby

Shared April 5, 2017

I can relate on a different scale. although honestly, my niece is so much fun it makes me want one.

Lila Write

Shared January 13, 2017

Ha. This.
Also entire article, soooo me.

For a few months, nothing did. I started to wonder if I were infertile, if biology had decided the issue for me. I wasn’t sure if I was disappointed or relieved by this. Then — in a development that shocked me despite being completely predictable — I got pregnant, and was immediately convinced I’d made an awful mistake.

Lila Write

Shared January 13, 2017

Ha. This

For a few months, nothing did. I started to wonder if I were infertile, if biology had decided the issue for me. I wasn’t sure if I was disappointed or relieved by this. Then — in a development that shocked me despite being completely predictable — I got pregnant, and was immediately convinced I’d made an awful mistake.

Lila Write

Shared January 13, 2017

Happens

I’m occasionally incredulous that I’ve ended up with exactly the sort of life I once publicly pledged to avoid.

Harsh Pareek

Shared December 20, 2016

From a journalist who has vowed to be child-free at 27 but found herself changing her mind later (for her own reasons)

The idea of having kids to stave off the horror of death never resonated with me; I don’t see how you’re any less dead just because your DNA lives on. But children, I suddenly understood, would hedge against the unthinkable fact of my husband’s mortality

James Varghese

Shared December 24, 2016

If there’s anything I’d say to these writers — or, really, to my younger self — it’s don’t succumb to pressure, and at the same time, don’t be too ashamed if, one day, you find yourself morphing into someone you wouldn’t now recognize.

So It Goes

Shared March 10, 2017

I Was a Proud Non-Breeder. Then I Changed My Mind.
by Michelle Goldberg, nymag.com
May 25, 2015

Photo: RJW
Photo by: Photo: RJW
Twelve years ago, I penned an essay for a Salon series called “To Breed or Not to Breed,” about the decision to have children or not. It began this way: “When I tell people that I’m 27, happily married and that I don’t think I ever want children, they respond one of two ways. Most of the time they smile patronizingly and say, ‘You’ll change your mind.’ Sometimes they do me the favor of taking me seriously, in which case they warn, ‘You’ll regret it.’” The series inspired an anthology titled Maybe Baby. It was divided into three parts: “No Thanks, Not for Me,” “On the Fence,” and “Taking the Leap.” My essay was the first in the “No” section.

So I felt a little sheepish, when, a year and a half ago, the writer Meghan Daum asked me if I’d be interested in contributing to the book that would become Shallow, Selfish and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids. I wrote back to tell her that I couldn’t: My son had just turned 1.

It’s embarrassing to be such a cliché, to give so many people a chance to say, “I told you so.” (And some people, I’ve learned, will say those actual words.) I fear I’ve let down other women who disavow children and who, because of my example, might face an extra smidge of condescending doubt. Worse, if I’m honest, when I hear younger women confidently describe how they’ll feel when they’re older, sometimes I feel a pinch of such condescension myself. Not because I think they’ll all necessarily want kids, or that they should have them, but because one tricky thing about your 20s is the need to make decisions for a future self whose desires are unknowable.

Along with Kate Bolick’s Spinster, Daum’s excellent book has sparked a new round of articles by and about women who feel the way I felt all those years ago. The last thing I want to do is to persuade them that they should, in fact, become parents. I’ve frequently found motherhood exhilarating, but if I’d done it ten years ago, it might have been terrible. If there’s anything I’d say to these writers — or, really, to my younger self — it’s don’t succumb to pressure, and at the same time, don’t be too ashamed if, one day, you find yourself morphing into someone you wouldn’t now recognize.

My own transformation didn’t begin with an unbidden outbreak of baby lust or a sudden longing for domesticity. It began, weirdly enough, when I learned about corpses becoming fathers. In 2011, I reported a piece for Tablet Magazine about the strange Israeli campaign for posthumous reproduction. Israel is the world capital of reproductive technology, and a legal group called New Family wanted to give parents who had lost adult sons the right to extract their sperm and create grandchildren. I have mixed feelings about making dads out of dead men, particularly if they hadn’t donated their sperm while living, but I remember being seized by the realization that if my husband were to die young, I’d want to be able to do it to him.

The idea of having kids to stave off the horror of death never resonated with me; I don’t see how you’re any less dead just because your DNA lives on. But children, I suddenly understood, would hedge against the unthinkable fact of my husband’s mortality. Not long ago, I learned the Arabic word Ya’aburnee from a friend’s cheesy Facebook graphic. Literally, “you bury me,” it means wanting to die before a loved one so as not to have to face the world without him or her in it. It’s a word that captures exactly my feeling for my husband. Part of the reason I didn’t want kids was because I feared they’d come between us, but if he were gone, I’d be frantic to hold on to a piece of him. Grasping this didn’t make me want a baby, exactly, but it started pushing me from “no” to, well, ambivalent.

My husband, Matt, was ambivalent, too. We were pleased with our two-person family, with our consuming careers, constant travel, and many tipsy nights out, all the things people tell you that you lose when you become a parent. We met very young, the summer after my freshman year of college, and we’d never grown bored with each other. Sometimes we puzzled over what people meant when they said that marriage is hard work. We assumed it had something to do with parenthood.

From the start, we’d bonded over a desire to see as much of the world as we could, and we ended up traveling a lot. Once, seven or eight years ago, I was in London for a conference before heading to Uganda for an assignment. My husband flew in, took me to dinner, stayed the night, and flew home in the morning; it was the only way to avoid going several weeks without seeing each other. A little while later, I mentioned this to a cab driver. “That’s something you do for your mistress, not your wife!” he said. Exactly, I thought.

I don’t mean to imply that our life was all insouciant jet-setting, or that that was the only reason for my hesitation about becoming a mother. As happy as I am with my marriage, I’m not by nature a cheerful person. Like a lot of writers, I’m given to tedious bouts of anxiety, depression, and self-loathing. I am introverted, and feel shattered if I don’t have time alone every day. Worse, from a parental perspective, I am impatient, easily undone by quotidian frustrations. As much as I love to visit faraway places, I’m often reduced to tears by the indignities of air travel. When I’m stuck in a taxi in traffic, I unconsciously shred my cuticles until my fingers bleed. I imagined parenthood as a clammy never-ending coach flight, the kind that used to leave me feeling like I’d give 20 years of my life for an hour alone in a clean hotel room.

Also, there was my work. As a little girl, I had never imagined myself with babies, or, for that matter, with a husband. My vision of the future had involved an apartment in New York City, a cat, and a typewriter. I was sure children would get in the way of my ambitions — and, worse, that I’d poison them with my resentment. In Caroline Moorehead’s biography of the swashbuckling journalist Martha Gellhorn, she describes how Gellhorn adopted an Italian orphan after World War II. At first she was smitten, but before long she felt trapped, writing that her son was, “through no act of his own, but because of a careless, inconceivably frivolous and selfish act of mine, making life untenable.” She was a distant and sometimes cruel mother, and her child grew up to be a great disappointment to her; she once described him as “a total loss, a poor small unwanted life.”

Chilling as this was, I took a bleak sort of comfort in it, since it confirmed that I was right not to take the leap. I started looking online for other stories about people who’d had children and then wished they hadn’t. I read about a famous Ann Landers reader survey from the 1970s, undertaken in response to a letter from a young couple who feared, as I did, that parenthood would ruin their marriage.“Will you please ask your readers the question: If you had it to do over again, would you have children?” they asked. She did, and received 10,000 responses. To her dismay, 70 percent answered no. A 40-year-old mother of twins wrote, “I was an attractive, fulfilled career woman before I had these kids. Now I’m an exhausted, nervous wreck who misses her job and sees very little of her husband. He’s got a ‘friend,’ I’m sure, and I don’t blame him.” This helped shore up my faith in our decision.

Looking back, the fact that my faith needed shoring up was a sign that something was changing. As I got older, the constant travel that once thrilled me became wearying. My work still meant a lot to me, but while I once thought that publishing a book would make me feel that I’d arrived, publishing two taught me that arrival is elusive. Where I’d once seen family and intellectual life in opposition, over time I started worrying that it was an intellectual loss to go through life without experiencing something so fundamental to so many people’s existence. Meanwhile, 35 was creeping up on me. I’d been led to believe, falsely, that this is when most women’s fertility collapses. I still wasn’t sure that I’d be a good mother, but I had no doubt that my immensely kind husband would be a good father, probably good enough to make up for me.

Matt and I went back and forth, and back and forth some more. We both felt like we were atop a fulcrum and could be pushed either way if only the other knew what to do. At some point, we decided that I’d go off the pill and see what happened.

For a few months, nothing did. I started to wonder if I were infertile, if biology had decided the issue for me. I wasn’t sure if I was disappointed or relieved by this. Then — in a development that shocked me despite being completely predictable — I got pregnant, and was immediately convinced I’d made an awful mistake.

It occurred to me, as it probably should have occurred to me earlier, that being scared of loss is not a good reason to have a baby. Within a couple of weeks, the queasiness came on like a portent, though at the same time I longed for the drinks I couldn’t have. We had a trip coming up — my husband had work to do in London, and I was going to accompany him, then go to Israel and Palestine for work of my own. I wasn’t sure how I’d get through it, but I was determined to go since it might be my

Laina Emmanuel

Shared December 31, 2016

one tricky thing about your 20s is the need to make decisions for a future self whose desires are unknowable

Shakeima Boston

Shared January 29, 2016

one tricky thing about your 20s is the need to make decisions for a future self whose desires are unknowable.

Vishak Ayappan

Shared January 5, 2017

"As happy as I am with my marriage, I'm not by nature a cheerful person.
&
"Something Louis C.K. said recently was true for me: "I realized that a lot of the things that my kid was taking away from me, she was freeing me of"

Such an incredible incredible read. Haven't changed my mind though.

Vishak Ayappan

Shared January 5, 2017

"As happy as I am with my marriage, I'm not by nature a cheerful person.
&
"Something Louis C.K. said recently was true for me: "I realized that a lot of the things that my kid was taking away from me, she was freeing me of" "

Such an incredible, incredible read.

ravi karthik R

Shared January 11, 2017

ola :)

Angharad Dalton

Shared April 9, 2017

From impatience to smug. This is an annoying read.

Anestis Iliadis

Shared March 9, 2017

ameliorating

Melissa Reynolds

Shared December 18, 2016

one tricky thing about your 20s is the need to make decisions for a future self whose desires are unknowable.

Rakhilya Lála Ibildayeva

Shared January 10, 2017

Hello, feminism! look what you have done!

I felt like I’d been demoted, from journalist to woman.

Amirreza H.

Shared January 18, 2017

Israeli campaign for posthumous reproduction. Israel is the world capital of reproductive technology, and a legal group called New Family wanted to give parents who had lost adult sons the right to extract their sperm and create grandchildren.

Sonal Singh Baghel

Shared January 24, 2017

me! so me!

Abdul Rahman AlKhanati

Shared February 28, 2017

Women changing their minds later in life to have children after resisting the idea.

Edwin Goddard

Shared March 13, 2017

Beautifully written piece about the ups and downs of parenthood

Ramzi Dziri

Shared January 4, 2017

The best I can come up with is that before there was one person in the world for whom I would use the word Ya’aburnee, and now there are three.

Ravit Khurana

Shared April 13, 2017

lo l knowzoo

wang

Shared January 4, 2017

http://movies.pcriot.com/

Areeba Shah

Shared January 8, 2017

Not long ago, I learned the Arabic word Ya’aburnee from a friend’s cheesy Facebook graphic. Literally, “you bury me,” it means wanting to die before a loved one so as not to have to face the world without him or her in it

Slapping Giraffe

Shared January 29, 2017

The best I can come up with is that before there was one person in the world for whom I would use the word Ya’aburnee, and now there are three.

alib_first

Shared February 27, 2017

ру

Mandy Malagon

Shared March 29, 2017

loved this. so me right now.

Jessica DeRoche

Shared April 10, 2017

This was me 100%!!! I chose to breed and have the coolest kid in the world. My life has not been what I had planned what so ever!!! The worst in fact but my kid Def has everything I ever hoped for her!!!