At some point in my early thirties, I started to notice a baby boom among my friends and acquaintances. It started slowly but then surged like an epidemic. It was an irreversible trend that I was not interested in following but could no longer escape. I felt very comfortable in my childfree status. I had been married for years and as a couple, we enjoyed our freedom and lack of responsibilities. It felt to me, like having children would mean having to give up so much. And it felt like all the things that I loved so much about my life: irresponsible, impatient, indulgent, uncertain and impermanent would be in immanent danger.
The problem with life altering decisions is that you have to make them. And with children, deciding to have them can be as big of a decision as deciding not to have them. If you wait long enough, the decision will be made for you because as much as we would like to deny it, and as young as we feel, fertility ends. Perhaps this fact is what made this subject so important to me. You have a ticking clock and eventually the clock will stop and if your decision has not been made in time, too bad.
So it made sense to me, that a decision this important should really be considered. And even though I was comfortably smug with my childfree decision in my early thirties, I sought out to explore all of my reasons and to see if after confronting them all head on, I could still justify my belief that having a child would ruin my life.
The documentary I had intended to make was one that examined all of the current issues faced by women and couples when they have children. I wanted to examine how, as a mother, your career could suffer, your relationship, and your sanity. I had hoped to talk to all of the experts in these areas and have them impart their wisdom to the viewers so that they could be informed before making their own decision to have or not have children. But once I began, I realized I could not make this documentary without becoming a part of it, because even though I believe many women can relate to my feelings, the film became my own personal journey and I could not remain entirely behind the camera where I had wanted to be. The main reason for this was that all of the experts, whom I came to call prophets, were speaking to me and sharing not only their research but their personal experiences and as I learned what they had to teach me, I grew and changed.
The three main things that struck me were: the realization that as much as you want a career and success and adventure, these thing don’t hold your hand when you are sick and two, as annoying as other people with kids are, you don’t have to be like them. And three, if you don’t want children, that is awesome, don’t have them. This decision is getting easier and becoming more widely accepted and that is a great thing.
My big piece of advice, which is really what the whole film is about, is to think about these things, carefully consider what you want out of life and to be proactive. I didn’t ever want to look back on any decisions with regret and I believe that when you have all of the information and you consider the pros and cons and what you want your life to be and become, you are equipped and empowered. Having kids isn’t just what everybody does, it is a choice and a decision and I hope the information that I collected and put together in Generation Baby Buster helps people with their own journeys and that in the end, they find their happy path.