This is called a state of grace. On one hand, we want so very much to know absolutely we’re doing the right thing. The father who beats the crap out of the child who steals. The mother who walks out on her toddlers when they smear shit on the nursery walls. We are all doing our best. And by god it is often WRONG. The above examples are from my home life. My parents never wanted kids, moved to a farm, and decided to go in the other direction. How that turned out is still in play, but how we were treated made my decision very young.

However to your question, and it is a hard one. Some of us know immediately that we’re not parent material. I did. At about four. I had my tubes tied at 27. Never looked back. It took me until I was in my mid-fifties until I found a man who felt the same way ( we just broke up again, but what the hey. At least I know they exist) When you know, you KNOW. I do not owe the world a unit. I owe the world a responsible example of a life. I’m a terrific Aunt, that crazy lady who does adventures all over the world, a friend, mentor and much much more. BECAUSE I didn’t have kids. That does not work for everyone. This is such a private, personal decision and nobody, but nobody — except your partner- has the right to influence this huge decision.

Nobody has the right to lay a judgment on anyone, male or female, that they OWE our society a kid or two.

My parents never wanted kids, but had two anyway. Their reluctance showed. On one hand, trust me, I’m glad to be alive. My brother committed suicide six years ago. I’m still finding my way at 66. This is not my parents’ fault, per se, but would I rather have had parents who really, really wanted us? Sure. But by the same token, how I grew up molded me into who I am. That’s why we don’t know what we’re doing. Kids don’t come with a manual. Hell, relationships don’t come with a manual. WE don’t come with a manual. Dan, the best you and Alex and I can do is figure this out moment to precious, sacred moment. With or without kids.

But in every way with each other. Being clueless, and figuring things out together? Hey. That’s how its designed.

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