My childhood best friend has two children. My best friend from my teens is pregnant with her first. One of my current best friends is getting engaged, and the other two are in relationships which, considering our ages (mid-to-late twenties) are likely to lead to marriage and/or children (I say that because, fortunately, I am not the only one in our friendship group who does not want children). My sister is starting to seriously consider single-parenthood in a few years time. Despite the fact that you can (legally) get married and have children when you are basically still a child yourself (sixteen is a child in most people, although sixteen-year-old me would kill you dead for suggesting that), marriage and children are such “grown-up” things, aren’t they? You’re creating a family, creating a whole other person, being responsible for that person for the rest of your life. Once you have a kid, there’s no escape. You’re a parent for life. Sure, you’re only legally responsible for them for the first 18 years, but pretty much all the parents I know would agree that the legal system doesn’t actually control your emotions. You’ll be responsible for that person that you made for the rest of your life. Thanks to evolutionary biology this only freaks people out a little bit, not the WHOLE FREAKING LOT that it should do. Thanks, biology! Super glad that I did not get that particular gift.
Don’t get me wrong- I freaking love babies. The younger the better. Tiny humans who have not yet learned to walk or talk are my peeps (oddly, I also get along with teenager. This is probably because I am, emotionally, still a teenager myself). I just have no desire to have one of my own. If they’re yours, you don’t get to give them back when you’re done (well, you can, we just call that “abandonment” and it’s sort of frowned upon culturally).
Lucky for me my biology degree teaches me all sorts of interesting things, like the fact that if your sibling has two children the same amount of your genetic material is passed along as if you had one of your own (all the fun, none of the responsibility!**). Also luckily for me, my sister seems to have got my dose of biological urges along with hers and is totally on board with this plan (I have zero children, she gets to have as many as she likes as long as it’s more than two).
Frankly, this whole “biological urge to procreate” thing has me baffled. It’s not an Autistic thing, because tons and tons of Autistic people have kids. It just seems to be the way that my brain is wired. Sometimes I worry about the future in a vague, abstract way, because, okay, I don’t want kids. Plenty of couples out there dont want kids, they’re happy with each other! Except that I don’t want that romantic relationship crap either. I am perfectly content with having groups of platonic friends, and one or two (or four) people that I have casual sexual relationships with. So far it’s working for me, but that’s partly because the people I’ve surrounded myself with so far have not progressed into phases of life (ie the “children and/or marriage” bit) where their relationships start to focus inward instead of outward.
It’s probably good that this is one (the only) area of my life that I seem able to not obsess over.
** Don’t tell my sister I said that.