To Be or Not To Be (a Parent)?

Babies are cute, aren’t they? I know. How about screaming babies? Do you find them cute? Or rather annoying?

Let’s just admit it – no one likes it when a baby weeps even if it’s the sweetest creature on Earth. But hey, that doesn’t make you a horrible person.

Screaming babies drive me nuts. And wherever I go, they always seem to find me. On planes, in grocery stores, parks, by the lake, and even in the laundromat. Can’t see what those parents were thinking, but I also saw a baby at a rock concert once. Maybe I’m too conservative, but really? They all smile at first, some of them even giggle, but it’s only a matter of time before they change their mood and the shrieking begins. And I don’t mean the sound of a whimpering cute little dumpling, I mean that screech that sounds like the poor thing was being tortured.

I grew up the same as ninety-nine percent of the female population: with the idea of having babies one day. I don’t know what caused my change of heart – my unpredictable lifestyle, seeing the struggle of my friends, or the lack of meeting potential father figures in the past few years – but I’ve become unsure if I want to be a mom, and these random episodes with wailing infants aren’t encouraging me to go back to the original “plans.” Or let’s say, fulfilling “traditional expectations.”

I was on vacation in Italy last year and spent one of my mornings in a beautiful but overcrowded and, for my taste, too touristy town. By lunch time, I was dying to have some peace and quietness. So, instead of going to a packed restaurant, I decided to buy a slice of pizza and take it to a bench by the lake. Sadly, so did a French family with their toddler. A cute little unbearable anger ball.

How loud do you think a baby can cry? I did some research, so let me give you a little guidance. The limit that a human ear can comfortably accommodate is around 90 dB. A jackhammer measures 105 dB – hence we can barely stand it – and the sound of a rock concert reaches 120 dB. But all this is a piece of cake compared to a baby’s cry, which can go up to 122 dB! Need I say more?

I have no idea what happened to that little French fellow, but he wailed like a banshee. And not only that, but he also threw himself on the ground (and I was trying so hard not to guess how many people spat or peed there before) and was kicking around, twisting his small body, and bawling his head off. Yet, his parents didn’t seem to care. Good for them! They looked so relaxed, it was almost irritating.

I get irked in such situations and the way I try to distract myself is by thinking how much worse this is for the parents. Only, in this case, this didn’t seem to apply. “Does this happen so often that they’ve become immune to the voice of their own child?” I wondered.

I’m clearly not ready for this journey, and lately, it occurred to me that I might never be. Is this strange?Unconventional? Does it bother my parents? Maybe. Is it acceptable? Is it my call? Definitely. I don’t think that everyone needs to have a baby or that raising a child is the ultimate purpose of a woman’s life. And I don’t think that just because someone doesn’t want any, she is a horrible and unhappy person, who will never have a fulfilling life.

What’s wrong with being different? Why do people raise their eyebrows when a woman openly admits that she is too selfish and irresponsible to be willing to take care of another human being? And why do some people think that judgmental comments or sympathetic looks would turn everything around?

I might or might not change my mind in the future, I don’t know. But the one thing I’m sure about is that I don’t need a baby to feel that I have a purpose in life. But who knows, a friend of mine says that it’s not up to me. It’s the hormones. He said that no matter how I feel now, I would wake up one day with an unbearable urge to push a baby out of my vagina. If we put it this way, I wouldn’t make a bet on that.

I don’t want to give you the false impression, though. I like babies. And they like me. Even the grumpiest ones grin when I hold them. (Maybe they do that just because they’re pooping in my arms and they know it.) But there is something beautiful in the moment when I can hand them back to their parents.

I adore moms. My mom, who’s been one for over thirty years; my girlfriends, who’ve been trying their hands at this new challenge and doing so wonderfully well. I admire you all; I’m just not sure if I want to join you in the fun.

Would you rather read know my truth about online dating?

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