If everything goes to plan, I won’t be starting a family any time soon.
I’m a young and childless twenty-something who despite getting asked to comment on the provocative photoshoots of 10 year old girls and critiquing sexist onesies does not have children of her own. It’s a question that comes up often given that I regularly jump in the ring to discuss issues that are conventionally reserved for parents – whether it be crotchless thongs for seven year olds, pedophiles claiming that little girls came onto them, or pointing out that sexualizing advertisements of kids are unacceptable.
I always make sure to give the same answer when I’m attending an event for Mommyish and handshakes go limp at my confession that I don’t have kids of my own. Despite their raised eyebrows and curious glances, I’m of the firm belief that everyone should care what our children see and what they’re told to value. Whether it’s an advertisement or an item of clothing or a television show or a cultural attitude toward their capabilities because of their gender, the childless and parents alike should be united in their concern for generations to come.
But having said that, parenthood is something I may want when I am a twenty-something no longer — and adoption has always appealed to me. I started babysitting children quite young and even though that experience of watching women navigate both motherhood and their professional pursuits gave me an early understanding of the importance of feminism, I also found that I could bond enormously with children with whom I had no biological connection.
I have always had a deep fondness for children, but caring for them as an early teenager all the way through college and even beyond allowed me to cultivate connections with children who were clearly not “my own.” I may have only been the babysitter or the nanny, but becoming so invested in their lives, their education, their health, their interests, their growing aptitude for life, convinced me that I could in fact one day be more. I came to truly love children and understand them through assisting in the homes of others and from nurturing kids who didn’t share my DNA.
Biology is clearly so coveted in an age when women in their 50s are throwing down money for expensive fertility treatments in the hopes of conceiving. And as much as that is their choice in an era in which women have more and more avenues to parenthood, I am most certain that I see my own in the not so distant future.
There are so many children who desperately need homes and as a young woman is deeply fearful of labor, I have trouble envisioning pregnancy or childbirth in my hypothetical parenting future. As I get older, adoption appeals to me more and more as not just as a viable option, but as a practice and a path to motherhood that genuinely speaks to me and the way I’ve come to regard children.
I’ve always tried to respond to every child I encounter as if they were my own and, perhaps one day, I’ll encounter the child that will be.