Had lunch with a friend who is pregnant the other day...it is always fun to catch up with her, as she is one of the funniest - and most insightful - people I know. Spending a few hours with her always helps reset me in some way.
She is due in October, and is kind of over the whole pregnancy thing. And yet, they'd been trying for over two years when she finally got pregnant - so she is feeling guilty about not loving every.single.minute of her pregnancy.
And that got me thinking - about our current status of NOT trying, and learning to be okay with that. This past weekend was spent with good friends - and multiple small children. It was lovely - it's so much fun to meet the new babies (there are 3-4 every year, it seems), and see how the older kids have grown, and learn what everyone has been up to. But this year, N and I decided that we would just do what we wanted to do, and really try to enjoy ourselves. Since we're not getting a big vacation together this year, we thought of this as our mini vacation.
And boy, did we have a GREAT time. We visited a place I'd wanted to see for years. Found a cave that we didn't know existed - and had a fantastic hour-long tour there (220 feet below the surface! rock formations! stalactites!). And then found a new place for lunch, where we relaxed, had a glass of wine, and enjoyed each others' company and the gorgeous view. At one point, N looked at me, raised his glass, and said "You know, there are perks", and I knew just what he meant. We had left our friends and the multitude of children behind - it was quiet, and peaceful, and so much fun to spend time with each other.
So why do I feel guilty for enjoying our child-free state? There were times last week - when I still thought I could be pregnant - that I actually had negative thoughts about possibly being pregnant. It's almost like my brain has finally accepted that this is not going to happen for us - and it's moved on to making sure I enjoy our life as it is. So I don't think I should feel guilty...but sometimes I do.
From an outsider's perspective, I imagine we seem rather self-indulgent. We don't have college savings accounts (although, quite frankly, since my earning power is rather reduced at the moment, we barely have a regular savings account). We don't have to work our schedules around small people. I can choose which day - and time! - I am going to do particular chores, and those choices aren't derailed by a cranky or sick child. The one variable in our lives is the dog - and quite frankly, he's the best.dog.ever.
I'm not sure whether the guilt is a vehicle for helping me realize that I can make an impact in some way - even if we *don't* have children? Or whether it's guilt imposed by society in some way - that we are expected to have children, and if we don't, we're not contributing? So it's a weird struggle - trying to accept that we are not going to have children, at least at this point, then feeling guilty about enjoying our child-free life.