Where do I start? I think going WAAAAAAY back to early in my relationship with my loving wife Emily. We had discussed many our life goals to see if we were on, or could be on, the same page. We talked several times about children. I was generally non committal on the subject, to the frustration of My sweet Emily. It sounded, to her, more like the obligatory; "What do you want for dinner?", "Oh, I don't know what do YOU want for dinner?", "Oh I don't know, what do YOOOOUUU want for dinner?" But I was truly principled non-committal about it. I was able to eventually verbalize the notion that I was more than willing to have children, should I find myself in a fully engaged, healthy relationship with the person I've chosen to literally die with. Now, I know that sounds fucking dramatic. It is fucking dramatic, but I was clear in my thinking.
I was a child of a broken home. I remember the moment my parents sat my sister and I down on the couch and utterly destroyed my peace of mind. As a grade school aged little boy, the unusual, disjointed, often tumultuous life I was familiar with was my life. It was precious to me and I assumed, as ridiculous as it was, the trajectory would never change. That moment was a huge trajectory change. It and a million moments to follow, were very traumatic.
When Emily and I discussed having children I was VERY clear in my thinking. I didn't know what my life would ultimately look like, but I did know that I would never subject another human being to that specific type of trajectory change. Truly, I am not deluded into thinking I wouldn't unintentionally traumatize a child in my care. That's almost a certainty. I certainly would not be responsible for managing MY life in such a way as to impact a child like that. So clearly I was determined to only become a parent in a situation where I was certain to be in a healthy and loving relationship with that sweet little baby's mother. I was not at all willing to explicitly decide to be a parent... or not... without knowing the other major contributing factors that would impact the life of another human being. As frustrating as it was to hear "I'm sure I could be an awesome dad. I could also be a great muscle car owning, vacation taking, non parental adult, forever if it must be. It was easier to say those things, than it was to verbalize the "why do I feel this way." part.
Once Emily got to know me more, as our relationship progressed, she actually accepted my explanation and perspective as actually true, and not just a bunch of noncommittal BS. It literally has been the benchmark of my choice for a long time. It has worked out really well, and it has really driven so many different aspects of my life, inadvertently. It turns out this is not a horrible approach at all.