I read the start of two different articles in the current issue of "Time" (I would have had to pay to read more, and I didn't want to do that!)
One was about the people that want to "have it all" by not having children. Good luck with that. The thing is, you can indeed have fulfillment in life without having children. But you can't find fulfillment in self serving. If you are avoiding having children SO THAT you can sleep when you want, travel when you want, make/save lots of money, have adventures and experiences, relax, chase that career alllllll the way to the top, I'm going to go ahead and guess that at some point it'll all fall short. You'll get insomnia, you'll realize that traveling is great... but now what? Money can be lost quickly, or you find that spending it all doesn't fill the hole in your heart, and the career can either end or you realize that you were so busy working you never started living. Or, you'll have it all and it still won't be enough.
Guess what. I get a lot of those things (not the lots of money, because my career doesn't have a top dollar earning potential at the top rung of some ladder) and they're nice, but they're side things. I would give them up in a heartbeat for the chaos and the noise and all the insanity of having a large family. I wouldn't love the poop, snot and vomit, nor would I enjoy the fact that my introverted self could never find enough time to recharge. But they would be so worth it.
Fulfillment doesn't come in having it all and getting it all and avoiding as much pain and unpleasantness along the way as possible. It certainly doesn't mean going after what I want, when I want it. Fulfillment is found in recognizing this one important truth: "It's not about me." If I don't get what I want (husband, children, etc.) but I use my time and my pain and my life for whoever is in my life, then I will find fulfillment. I will still be able to die to myself and give it up for someone else (not that I always do, but the opportunity is there).
If I do eventually get married and have to die to myself in whole new ways, it will also be beautiful and I will (sometimes remember to) offer up the things that I hate- like poop and pee and vomit and lack of sleep and privacy- (and hope that I haven't complained so much that there's not much of worth left). Either way, there are ways of giving of myself than I ever thought were possible. And that is where the fulfillment is for any of us, whether we have children or not. Whether we make all the money and travel to all the places.
If I seek fulfillment in giving up myself then I will be able to find happiness in all circumstances. Not always, but eventually. If I seek fulfillment in having it all, it will never be enough.
I was going to write about the other article, too, but I think that's enough for now. Besides, I'm tired and have no idea if any of this makes sense but I'm not about to do anything drastic like reread it and make corrections.