To reproduce or not to reproduce

Jen,

Long time reader, first time writer.  I really love your blog and how matter of fact you are with everything, it’s so refreshingly honest.

I’m 28, my husband is 26, and we’ve been married for about three years and both of our parents have been pressuring us to have kids.  Aside from the fact that we’re two gay men and that process is a bit more involved than with a straight couple, there are a number of things that make us hesitate to go through with it.  Most notably, and maybe most selfishly, we like our life.  We like having time to ourselves.  We like being able to do things on our own schedule.  Most of our friends have kids and it’s all “I need to check with my sitter” and “I need to get back and relieve the sitter” and “I have a soccer game that day.”

And that’s not to mention the kink aspect.  I’m mostly submissive to my husband and one of the things I love is the spontenaity.  I could literally be sitting on the bed folding laundry and he’ll walk in, grab me by my hair, and just start fucking my face, just without a word.  Or I could be putting dishes away and he’ll walk in, bend me over the counter, and just start fucking me.  It’s one of my favorite things about our sex life.

You’ve talked about having a kid and how it has impacted your kink life.  I’m really just looking for an honest, matter of fact answer because everywhere I look all I see is stuff about how kids are the most amazing thing ever and “Oh I wasn’t complete until I had kids” and “You haven’t lived until you’ve had kids” and honestly, it’s all just overwhelming.

I need someone who can be honest with me, who can tell me the good and bad, and can tell me if it’s worth it.  I need someone who can tell me what life as a kinky parent is like without all the ooh-ing and ahh-ing that everyone does.

Please, anything would help.  And thank you so much.

Will

Will, dear, I actually take quite a bit of pride in saying this: You’ve come to exactly the right place.

And before I get into all this, I do want to do the obligatory I-love-my-kid thing.  In my specific case, yes, I think it’s worth it.  It comes with some pretty major fucking caveats, and some massive fucking disadvantages, but at the end of the day, I’m glad my kid is here, and if I could go back 7 years and do it again, knowing all the disadvantages and bullshit that goes along with parenthood, I’d still do it exactly the same way.

But what’s right for me may not be right for you.  And the only one who can make that decision is you.

Yes, having a kid will have a massive impact on your life, including (and perhaps especially) your kink life.  That spontaneity will all but disappear.

I mean, it won’t disappear completely.  You’ll learn, and your husband will learn, to be more opportunistic.  The kid is taking a nap.  Cool, come ride my cock.  Quickies in the bedroom while the kid is watching Barney, a quick blowjob in the shower in the morning before waking the kid up, a hurried, frenzied fucking before work while you’re making the coffee, I mean, there are ways around it.

But nothing really prepares you for that kind of loss of freedom.  Even when I was pregnant, I could still go where I wanted, when I wanted, and do what I wanted.  I could get up and go to the grocery store.  I could go out to dinner.  I could go to munches and play parties and doctor appointments and whateverthefuck I wanted.  I mean, I had limitations placed on me because of the complications with my pregnancy, but you get the general gist of it.

I had no damn idea.  And that was the first big revelation I had about my new reality as a parent.

Once she was born, even things like running out to get a quick lunch at a drive thru became an event.  It took planning.  Forethought.  And going out to dinner?  Yeah, that wasn’t something we could decide to do on a whim.  At 5:30pm, I couldn’t turn to my husband and say, “I don’t feel like cooking.  Let’s go out instead.”  We had to make arrangements.  Plans.  All the shit your friends say about sitters?  I’ve said those exact words so many times, it’s comical.

And let me just tell you right now: babies fucking suck.  I mean, you’ll either be adopting or using a surrogate, so there are some things (like breast-feeding vs formula, and then breast-feeding in public) you won’t have to worry about, but that doesn’t mean you get a free pass.  Midnight feedings, lack of sleep, exhaustion, frustration, resentment of the baby and/or each other, I mean, it’s fucking brutal.

Neither of you will be feeling very horny those first few months.  Newborns are the worst kind of baby.  They suck the hardest.  Every spare moment you get, all you’ll want to do is sleep.  Luckily, that part only lasts a few months, and then things start getting easier.

I love my kid, okay, and I loved her when she was a baby.  But I can also be completely honest.  There’s not a whole hell of a lot about the first six months of her life that I can look back on as a positive memory.  I mean, her first smile was awesome, her first laugh was amazing, watching her personality develop was fantastic, and really helped me bond with her.

That’s one thing you might actually be spared from, I’m not entirely sure.  Unfortunately, I don’t know many gay men who have kids, so I don’t know.  But for me, and many mothers, there’s this assumption and expectation that you’re supposed to be completely, 100% in love with your kid from the moment it leaves your body.  I don’t know if you’ll experience that expectation, but I imagine you’ll get at least a portion of it.  If you go through a surrogate, you’ll likely be expected to love it just as much as a biological mother would, from the moment it’s born, and if you go through adoption, you’ll likely be expected to love it just as much as a biological parent would, from the moment you sign the papers.

Either way, I’m going to do you a favor right now, and tell you that it’s completely bullshit.  I mean, I know even less about adoption than I do about surrogacy, so I’m just going to write the rest of this assuming that you decide to go through a surrogate.  I’m also going to write it from the perspective of a biological mother, since that’s the only perspective I can speak on with any degree of authority.  Obviously there will be things that are different with adoption, and with you being fathers, but I imagine the gist is about the same.

But there’s this expectation that you’re supposed to be completely in love with the kid from the jump.  And for some people, I guess that’s what happens.

It sure as hell didn’t happen for me.

I mean, I wasn’t completely indifferent to her, it wasn’t like that.  I’d been waiting for her for 9 months.  I’d been feeling her growing and moving around (and kicking the shit out of me, consider yourself lucky you don’t have to deal with that).

The point is, some people fall in love with their kids right away, and some don’t.  I didn’t.  Hell, I didn’t know her.

And then of course there was the guilt, because I didn’t fall in love with her instantly, that I must be a terrible mother, and then all the baggage with my own mother made its way to the forefront of my hormone-crazed mind, and what was I thinking, and what have I done, and how badly am I going to fuck up this poor kid?

Now I know it’s all bullshit.  You may not feel anything for the kid right away, and that’s fine.  I personally was reassured when the IV they had in her leg (she had to stay in the NICU for a week) started causing her pain.  I saw it, I recognized the IV burn, and I told the nurses.  Who promptly ignored me.

And then the mama bear instincts kicked in, and I went on a rampage until her next scheduled dose of antibiotics, where they realized, “Hey, it’s an IV burn,” and moved the IV.

She still has a scar from it, by the way.  Almost 6 years later.

So that was reassuring for me, because even though I didn’t really love her the way people say a mother is supposed to love her newborn, she was still mine, and I would do whatever it took to protect her.

So that’s something I tell new mothers, and it’s something I’ll tell you, too.  You may not be completely smitten with your kid right away, and that’s fine.  You don’t have to be.  You don’t know anything about the kid.  It’s a complete stranger.  It’s fine.  Because if something happens, if the kid needs you to protect it, those instincts will kick in and you’ll do what it takes without a second thought.  It’ll just come naturally.  Whether you’re a mother or father, whether the kid is biologically yours or not.

Because even though you didn’t carry it, and even if you don’t share a biological connection, you know that’s your kid, and if it needs you, it’ll flip the same switch in your brain that it flipped in mine.

We carry so much guilt as parents, because we put having kids up on this pedestal, and it’s all just stupid.  I’m glad I had my kid, I think she’s worth all the bullshit that comes with reproducing, but I can admit that there are parts of parenthood that just suck.

But while I didn’t feel that connection to her immediately, and I resented her more often than not, I did enjoy watching her learn, watching her personality develop, and that’s where we really started bonding.  That was really special, and for me, that’s the one thing that made all the other hell worthwhile.

Once they leave the baby stage, it’s easier.  And now, she’s almost 6, and she can do things independently, she does chores, she can hold conversations and she’s actually really into politics, interestingly enough.  I mean, it’s all got to be watered down, she’s fucking five, so there’s a lot that goes over her head.  But she does not like Trump.  Which is an opinion she formed on her own, independent of my thoughts or Kazander’s thoughts of the man.  I mean, she knew he was the president, and she’d seen a couple of interviews and speeches from Obama (most notably his Thanksgiving speeches, with all the dad jokes), but that was about all she knew.

It started when we were in NC, in the hospital room with my mom, who was watching a press interview with Trump.  I didn’t think she was paying attention, I was too appalled and disgusted to notice that she was actually watching, until she said, “Mommy, he’s mean.”

I said, “Yes, baby, he sure is.”

“I don’t like him,” she declared.  “You’re not supposed to be mean to people.  Especially if you’re the president.”

“You’re absolutely right.”

“I miss the old president.  He was nice.”

“I miss him too, baby.”

So she, quite proud of her new opinion of the president, started telling everyone she met.  Which was fucking adorable, okay.

The problem is that a small town in North Carolina is probably not the best place to voice that particular opinion.  Reactions ranged from awkward silence to dismissal to feigned cheerfulness.  And she picked up on that, and started to doubt herself, so a few days later, she said, “Well, I like him a little bit.”

“What?  Why?”

“Well, he’s the president.  You’re supposed to like the president a little bit.”

“No the fuck you’re not,” I corrected.  “You’re supposed to respect him a little bit.  There’s a big difference.  You don’t have to like him at all.”

“You don’t?”

“Not even a little bit.  I don’t like him, either.  And neither does Daddy.  You absolutely do not have to like him, and you don’t have to support him or stick up for him.  He’s a cruel man, and I will never like a cruel man, even if I have to respect him, or even if other people like him, or even if I feel like I’m supposed to like him.  If you want to like him, that’s your choice.  But there has to be something more to like about him than him just being the president.”

That made her feel better.

So I mean, it’s fun now.  She can have these kinds of conversations, she can develop opinions of her own.  She says she wants Michelle Obama to be the next president, and she was quite irritated when she found out that she won’t be allowed to vote in 2020.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a little kid is pretty fucking awesome, too.  You kind of realize how jaded and cynical you are, and it’s so refreshing to sort of let go of that for a little while, and look at the world completely differently.

But there is one thing I’m noticing here, in reading your email.  And I mean, forgive me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you don’t even really want to have kids.

So if that’s the case, I’ll do you a favor now, and tell you this:

You do not have to have kids.  At all.  Ever.  Like, literally ever.

I know exactly that attitude you’re talking about, and I despise it.  Every time someone said that bullshit to me, about how I’m “not complete” until I’m a mother, I wanted to hit them in the face with a chair.

Uh, no.  I was not an incomplete human being before my spawn was born, m’kay.  I am more than just a baby-making machine.  That is just as true for you and your husband, even though neither of you will actually be carrying the baby.  You are two whole, complete, autonomous people.  You do not have to reproduce in order to be human.  You are more than a series of chemicals and DNA that must be passed down to another generation.

That being said, I’m my father’s oldest child, and he came from a very old-fashioned Mexican family.  Legacy was and is a big deal.  He could trace his roots back a dozen generations.  He instilled in me the spirit of our family, and that as his eldest child, it’s my job to carry that on.  I mean, shit went a little sideways, so that fell off a bit, but the attitude is still there.

The point is, having been brought up like that, I mean, family was everything, legacy was everything.  So yeah, I felt obligated to carry that on in a way my little sister and my cousins never really understood.

Because I’m the oldest child of my grandparents’ oldest child.  In an old-school Mexican family.  Yeah dude, I was told basically from birth that it was my job to carry on the family line, and have lots of babies.  I have male cousins to carry on the name, but it was my job to carry the legacy.

So that was great.

But there’s this pressure to reproduce, this idea that reproducing is the end-all, be-all of existence, and that’s all just utter bullshit.

“Oh, you haven’t lived until you’ve had a child.”

“Your life isn’t complete until you’ve had a child.”

“I didn’t know what love was until I had my child.  You have no idea what real love feels like until you have a child.  Your life is just empty.”

Jesus Christ, shut the fuck up.

I mean, honestly, how much does your life has to suck to think that you were incomplete before you had a kid?

I kinda liked my life before the kid was born.

Sure I like who I am as a mom, I’m damn good at being a mom, it’s a role I take a great deal of pride in, but I also liked who I was before my kid was born.

And some of the bullshit was ridiculous.  I remember, early in my pregnancy, before I even started showing, I wore a T-shirt that had Cartman on it, from South Park.  My mom saw it and said, “You know you’re not going to be able to wear that once the baby is born.”

Um, what?

“Why the hell not?”

“Well, that show isn’t really appropriate for kids.  And you won’t be able to curse, either.  You have to change a lot when you have kids.”

Yeah, fuck everyfuckingthing about that.

I’m not going to stop being who I am just because I made a person, m’kay.  I don’t lose who I am, I don’t become reduced to nothing but my spawn’s mother.  I still curse, I still watch South Park, I still drink, I still party and have fun, I still am who I am.

And my kid understands that some words I say are “grown up words,” and she will be able to say them when she’s a grown up.

Which works.  She just doesn’t curse.  Even though I curse all the time around her, and even when I’m talking to her.  I talk to her the same way I talk to anyone else.  I don’t pretend to be something I’m not around her, and I’m not going to change who I am as a person because she exists.

I haven’t changed who I am, I just added “Mom” to it.

And I’m still not a kid person.  I still hate other people’s kids.  I love my kid to death, I think she’s fucking awesome, and I get compliments on her behavior all the time, because I believe in discipline, goddammit, and I’m not going to raise an obnoxious heathen who cannot sit quietly in a waiting room, or who annoys the hell out of people on an airplane, or who screams and throws tantrums in a grocery store, or who whines and throws shit in restaurants.

So I love my kid, but I am not and will never be a “kid person.”

You don’t have to change who you are when you have a kid, because there is nothing “missing” without them.  I mean, if you want kids, and you honestly do feel like something is missing without them, then cool.  But not everyone feels that way.  I didn’t feel that way.

There’s nothing wrong with not having kids, if you don’t want to have kids.  You sound like you’re happy with your life, like you enjoy the life you and your husband share.  If you don’t want to change it, then don’t.

You like having free time and disposable income?  Feel like giving it up for the next 18 years?

Right now, you can literally be driving in the car with your husband, and you may drive past a new restaurant that just opened up.  And you can turn to your husband and say, “Hey, that place looks nice.  We should check it out.  We can go literally any time we want to.”

Giving all that shit up is not something you should do on a whim, or because your families tell you that you should, or because you feel like that’s what people are supposed to do when they’ve been married for a while.

If your families are pressuring you to have kids, tell them to fuck off.  I got it when my kid was about 2, and everyfuckingbody and their damn dog suddenly were all like, “Well, it’s time for a sibling!  You’re going to give her a little brother or sister, right?  Isn’t it time to get started on that?”

“Uh, no.”

“What?  She needs a sibling!”

“She really doesn’t, actually.”

“Kids are always happier with siblings.”

“They are?  Well shit, I never got that memo.”

“They’ve done studies.  You need to give her a little sibling.  It’s better for her developmentally.  Besides, you’re not really a parent until you have more than one.”

“Oh wow, I’m not?  I never knew that.  Well fuck, and I’ve spent the last two years raising this thing for no reason, then.”

Holy fucking shit, dude.  And no, none of that is even remotely an exaggeration.  I literally did have people try to guilt me into reproducing again, and I literally had people tell me I’m not a real parent because I only have one.

Just ignore them, or tell them to fuck off.  They’ll shut up eventually.  After about a year of those kinds of conversations, I started getting less and less tactful.  They stopped after awhile.  I haven’t heard any of that bullshit for… shit, probably 2 years, now?  Something like that.

Don’t let people pressure you into having a kid if you don’t want one.  You don’t have to have kids.

I mean, I can’t tell you whether you should or shouldn’t.  That’s not a decision anyone can make except you and your husband.  And for me, yeah, it worked out, and I love it, and I think my kid is one of the coolest people on the planet, and she’s more than worth all the disadvantages and all the limits it places on my time and my kink life.

For me, yeah it’s worth it.

Is it worth it for you and your husband?  That’s not something I can answer.

4 thoughts on “To reproduce or not to reproduce

  1. Based on his letter I would say they don’t want or need kids! The tine commitment is huge. My oldest is now 25. While most of the year she lives in another country, she still lives with me for portions of her vacations. I’m glad she does but there’s no walking around naked when she is with us. Life has to adjust to her presence. These guys don’t sound like they’re ready or wanting that.

    • Domina Jen says:

      Exactly. And I think a lot of people who don’t really want or don’t feel ready for kids feel like they should have kids anyway, because they feel so much pressure to do it. And I hate to do the whole “If you don’t have kids, you don’t understand,” thing, but honestly, nothing could have possibly prepared me for the adjustments I had to make once she was born. Life gets very different, very fast. These two seem to really enjoy their life the way it is now, and they’re both still young, so there’s no reason to have kids if they don’t want them.

  2. A reading recommendation for Will:
    Mother Shock: Loving Every (other) Minute of it

    While this book is written from a bio het perspective, it offers an exceptional reality check to those considering parenting.

    I would add to what Jen wrote (which is spot on, by the way) – and that’s if you have a healthy, “normal” child. I went from a successful career woman, who had been wanting children since I was a child, to regretting that I had a child at least once a day every day. Insert the obligatory “Of course, I love my son” here.

    I purchase this as a new baby gift for folks I know. It talks about the ugliness that goes along with those adorable cooing babies you see in media. Therefore reading it will provide new moms some consolation that, no, they aren’t the only ones who feel this way and, no, they aren’t bad mothers because they don’t immediately love their tiny human.

    Given that Will and his partner are still in their 20s, and there is no biological clock involved, I would urge them to wait. Give it five years. Enjoy your youth. You can always have children later, should it become a burning need.

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