This past month, Brett and I became an Aunt and Uncle for the first time, and, in our excitement to have a niece, we told everyone how pumped we were for our new roles. And, of course, in response to our excitement, that age old glance-for-a-baby-bump question, "When are y'all going to have kids?", made it's way into our lives more than a few times. I've just accepted it. You get married and people start asking you when you're going to have kids. Bam. Boom. Pow. So I'll leave my answer to this question (as well as the mental processing behind it) right here in a blog post.
Back in high school, I vividly remember driving home from the grocery store with my mom, and, in the middle of our talk, I confessed, in a "need to blow steam" blurt-spurt: I really didn't want to have kids. I'm not sure if "I don't want to have kids" is really something you should blow-steam-blurt in front of the woman who worked so hard to love and raise you, but I just needed to talk it out.
In that moment, I knew I wanted to get married (because boys were one of my only muses in high school it seemed--- am I the only one?) but I didn't want marriage and kids.
Nuh-uh, no way.
Nothing about having children excited me. After a few bad babysitting experiences, kids left me totally drained and confused. I was unimpressed with the idea of motherhood, so I decided kids were frustrating creatures I didn't want to dedicate my life to. Ever. At fifteen, the idea of spending 18-25 years of your life taking care of human beings you have no excitement or passion for, can be overwhelming and almost repulsive. And so it was with me.
I had a lot of girl friends who talked about how stoked they were to one day be moms---that's all they wanted on their "Hello, My name is" name tags--- "Hello, my name is Mom". I heard people at my church talk about motherdom as if it was something that would eventually happen in my life, as if it was some natural expectation that I would grow up, marry a seminary driven pastor, and have a series of blessed pregnancies. I wondered if I was the only one who secretly didn't want to live up to that expectation.
WELP...My confession had barely come out of my mouth when my mom turned to me and angrily spouted, "You're gonna want to change your mind about that. If you want to get married, you need to ask God to change your heart about having kids."
I looked on her words with disgust for a long time. Not really the part about God, but the part about changing my mind. When your'e in high school and you disagree with your mom about something, your pride keeps you frustrated with her for awhile because you just don't want her to be right, and, in that moment, I really didn't want to believe what she'd said. I love my mom, revere her character, respect her patience with me, and love the encouragement she is in my life. I'm even grateful for the moments she responded angrily at me-- cause they helped me understand the seriousness of what I was saying. After loads of babies-kids-family conversations with my mom and other women, I understand her love for motherhood and I was probably too passionately against something she was so passionately for back then.
Even nowadays I still struggle with what she said. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just being selfish and don't want the responsibility of family life. Sometimes I already feel like I'm taking on that responsibility just in a different way, as a parent/sister/mom/friend to the college students I work with. Some days I struggle to believe Brett and I are called to have kids. And on the flip side, I think it's strange to see us not entering into a period of life we can grow and serve our own little Stine family.
What I really love about the tuggings of my heart through the years in regards to having a family, is God has changed my heart towards motherhood in leaps and bounds since that conversation with my mom, and I find myself thinking about how I would want to raise my own kids. And yes, I know, everybody says your heart changes when you have your own kids anyway. I'm all in for that, it just might not be for awhile.
I still get squirmy feelings in my stomach when people ask Brett and I when we are planning on having kids, because I feel like most couples have an answer. Sometimes I spit out something like "five years from now we might" or "When Hogwarts agrees to send my kids a letter, that's when!" But lately I'm trying the honesty answer, "When and if we are called to. That's when."
For now, I'm enjoying the time we have loving on college students. The time we have babysitting kids of those in our Homegroup. The time we have watching our brother and sister-in-law parenting their first kiddo. The time we have to be Aunt and Uncle. I'm enjoying this season, a season without kids, we are in.