"I don't want to have my own kids."
"Ever!?" He looked lost and sad, like I had told him that world was indeed flat which, guessing by his reaction, was pretty much what I did.
"Yeah. I'll adopt someday, but I just don't want to carry."
"Really?" Same expression.
Another co-worker chimed in. "You'll change your mind."
"Yeah, you're young yet."
This conversation has happened MANY times and by every side of the binary: friends/coworkers/family, male/female, young/old, married/single. Often (and unfortunately), this takes place after I share that I have step-kids. "Don't you want to have kids of your own?" Ugh. This question is problematic as it suggests: 1. My step-kids are mere fixtures or hurdles in my life, and 2. My being a step-mom is a fixture in their life.
I love my step-kids as if they were my own. Do I wish I could have do-over moments? Well, duh, what parent doesn't? But to suggest that our alternative family should need a do-over, a (their words) "real" kid, to address that is incredibly insulting. Or that their love for me is somehow lesser because my genetic make-up is different than theirs. Family is what you pour into it, what you share, and what you take. Our bloodlines may be different, but it's all warm and red (or blue if it's not yet oxygenated) so it's not that different, is it?
Similarly, is the idea of adoption. I just haven't had the intentional desire to carry a baby. I certainly have had urges, but those urges left as quickly as they came. Someone tried to explain that that urge was actually the voice of God. Hmm, well if I indulged
I'm not sure why this is a point of contention. It seems unthinkable to some. I've been accused of being immature or selfish or a femi-Nazi. My being those things might be true, but this decision is not its result. I have the ability to choose and my choice is solely my own based on my thoughts, perceptions and intentional desires for my life.
I've used that term "intentional desire" twice now, and I want to expand a little on that thought. There are desires (fleeting indulgences) and then there are intentional desires: pleasurable, yearned for pursuits which may flitter or flicker but whose flame never die out. Serious, hardcore intentional desires of mine have included: getting a B.A., getting a Masters, creation and publication of my art and others' art, falling (and staying) in love with my life partner, getting a PhD, and having children. And I can say that I have seen through to completion all but one of my intentional desires--still no PhD. As you can see, I count stepchildren as equivalent to adoption as equivalent to pushing a baby out of my vagina and keeping it.
The issue of birthing, raising, and having children is as personal as politics and religion. That doesn't mean it can't be discussed and ideas can't be shared, but please do not presume to know what makes for a "real" family or that my age or personality somehow weighs into this. No, it is not a waste of my eggs nor is it an abomination to my gender/biological makeup and no, no, no! Your story of your cousin who said she didn't want to have kids of her own then ended up with four will not be my story nor change my mind. It is simply that: her story.
My choice isn't as strange as it seems, but even if it does seem strange to you, I'm happy to discuss it--just mind your manners, and check your catch-phrases (along with any scriptures, pamphlets, and soapbox testimonies) at the door.