Isabel Caliva and her husband, Frank, had already “kicked the can down the road.” The can, in their case, was the kid conversation; the road was Caliva’s fertile years. Frank had always said he wanted lots of kids. Caliva, who was in her early 30s, thought maybe one or two would be nice, but she was mostly undecided. They had a nice life, with plenty of free time that allowed for trips to Portugal, Paris, and Hawaii.
“I wasn’t feeling the pull the same way my friends were describing,” she told me recently. “I thought, maybe this isn’t gonna be the thing for me. Maybe it’s just going to be the two of us.”
At times, she wondered if her lack of baby fever should be cause for concern. She took her worries to the Internet, where she came across a post on the Rumpus’ “Dear Sugar” advice column titled, “The Ghost Ship that Didn’t Carry Us.” The letter was from a 41-year-old man who was also on the fence about kids: “Things like quiet, free time, spontaneous travel, pockets of non-obligation,” he wrote. “I really value them.”
“The Rumpus post helped me understand that no matter what I chose, there was going to be a loss,” Caliva said. Her ghost ship would either be a carefree life or the experience of parenthood. “That was freeing. It changed my perspective from having to make the right choice to just deciding.”
Caliva liked the column so much she sent it to several of her friends.
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The question of whether to have kids has puzzled me my entire adult life, in part because my reflexive reaction to the thought is “not again.”
There is a large age gap between me and my younger brother, and I was put in charge of minding him during many school breaks and holidays.
My brother was an easy-going preschooler. He pronounced “L”s as “W”s and wore a blanket like a Batman cape—the full “adorable kid” experience. Still, I was struck by how difficult it was to keep him entertained. I don’t possess the goofy sense of humor that charms the under-five crowd. I didn’t understand how to infuse excitement into otherwise boring activities like coloring or baking. We ended up watching a lot of TV, separately. I was so miserable that, one summer, I jumped at the chance to take a job filing papers in an office.
Read more at The Atlantic.