When I was younger, my brothers and I would play a game called The Future. It was a bit like The Game of Life, except we got to call all the shots. We got to imagine where we wanted to be in 15 or 20 years and act it out – become the ideal version of our adult selves. My brothers would be pilots, doctors, engineers, architects, maybe married with a kid or two; I was always a famous author and I always wanted twelves kids. Quadruplets, triplets, twins, the works – I imagined myself pushing one of those double strollers and getting everyone’s school lunches ready with only seconds to spare. My life was supposed to be hectic but exhilarating and full of hugs and laughs from my giant family.
Since then, I’ve learned about the horrors of childbirth. I’ve learned about C-sections and the period-on-steroids that is postpartum bleeding. I’ve learned about vaginas tearing and postpartum depression and the possibility of 48-hour labor and honestly, I don’t want any of that.
But I also know that childbirth is a miracle. I’ve taken Intro to Organismal Biology and I can say without a doubt that the development of a fertilized egg into a baby is nothing short of magic. It just might not be my kind of magic.
Even though I’ve rethought the whole ‘giving birth to twelve kids’ thing, I still like the idea of raising a family. I’ve pictured feeling warm and fuzzy as I do my daughter’s hair and raise her to be strong but kind. I’ve imagined laughing with my son and feeding off his crazy energy. I know parenthood is a complicated ride full of unexpected twists and turns and that nothing will ever be how I imagined it, but I hope to be strong enough to deal with those surprises.
Right now, I’m confident I will adopt a kid or two. I’ve heard that the adopting process is just as much of a nightmare as pregnancy and childbirth, but I still think it’s the better option. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to be pregnant with and give birth to my biological child, but if you think about it, I don’t really know any of the choices my future self will make. We can imagine our ideal futures and even act them out—but things will always change.