The trip to Indonesia this time has made me surer of the childless-not-by-choice path that we've been walking along. It's also made me realize that there's now quite some distance between me and my buried dream compared to three years ago when I last visited Indo.
This time around, just like last time, I knew some people would ask the question (because it's just the way the culture is in Indo) and prior to our holiday I was sort of curious and anxious about my reaction, though by the time I arrived, I had already forgotten about my curiosity and anxiety because my head was on a holiday. (chuckle)
Anyway, two neighbours said, "Hurry up and make babies." I managed to explain to the other one that we're fine just the way we are and that there's no use forcing a wish if it's not God's will (I find that this line works like a charm for religious people - not only for Christians, because my neighbours aren't Christians) and she took it quite well. I didn't explain anything else to the other one, though, because the last time around when I said we were fine just the two of us, in a very shocked state she immediately replied, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I'll keep praying for you."
So this time I just smiled and chuckled. A similar thing happened when I visited the church where we got married. Two women who were at our wedding asked me, "Do you have kids? Why not? Are you using protection?" Cue confused faces when I said "no, no kids" and "no protection" without any additional info. They both just replied, "Ah, maybe not yet." To which I just smiled.
The difference between three years ago versus now was this: three years ago those words still had the power to make me feel that what we have was "less than". Three years ago I just wanted to say "Whatevaaahhhhh" to them (in a cynical, pretending-not-to-care tone), but this time around the second I heard their responses, what automatically popped out in my head was their idealized versions of how life was supposed to be. Either that or their own fear (that this kind of life that we're leading is one of their worst nightmares).
During our holiday I also spent some time with my nephews and I talked to many mothers about their daily struggles (most of them have two kids already) and watching/hearing the daily struggles made me feel these things:
1. I'm getting less and less sure concerning how good of a mother I could have been if my child wasn't the angel child that I was (during TTC) probably wishing for. Not that I was always sure I could be a good mother, mind you, but back then the primal drive to become a mother trumped all the other worries/fears/thoughts.
Other than the fact that kids in general can really push your buttons, some kids are tougher to handle than others and some kids have more problems that you can't really handle without the help of experts. Add to that is the lethal combination of the outer world that doesn't understand your silent struggles, the outer world who judges you and excludes you/your kid. Because to a certain extent, you can't really choose the kind of child that you're going to have. I remember someone once told me that she hoped that her child would have a similar personality to the father instead of herself because she felt that she was a more difficult child.
2. It's a crazy jungle of child-rearing out there and I feel less and less interest in jumping into that kind of jungle anymore. The cons of having children have outweighed the pros by a few miles now.
I believe this is mostly due to the fact that the distance between me and our buried dream is quite far now, but it's interesting to note the shifts. I definitely feel much freer now. It feels like this trip has made me found more closure in regards to my buried dream.
That said, though, watching/hearing the daily grind of parenthood makes me understand more the existence of all those slogans and quotes concerning the importance and value of parenthood and I do admire those who are up to the task.
I'll end this here. Will catch up on blog reading later on.