Lately I have noticed a pattern about what my friends (and not my friends) assume is “good news” for me.
I am 32 and in a wonderful relationship. I work full time and, like a number of my peers, do not want to have children. Let me be clear. That is my decision and I am a-okay with it. I have also accepted that for the foreseeable future people will continue to say to me “oh you are young, you will change your mind.” My partner has 2 kids. They are lovely. I am an aunt and I adore my niece and nephew. My friends have delicious children who are a wonderful blessing and bring joy to all that meet their children. My star sign is Cancer – so I am, according to the stars, a ”nester” and I “love children and marriage”. Despite all of those things, I am 32 years old and I, happily, do not want to have my own children.
When I was 7 I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I studied law and practiced for 7 years. When I was 15 I knew I didn’t want to have children. My parents have been married for 46 years. They are great friends. My brother is a religious minister and is happily married with two children (the niece and nephew I dote on). I have been surrounded by love and families my entire life (and I consider myself extremely fortunate). My childhood was blessed. Great school. Wonderful support. Every opportunity was given to me. The decision to not have children is not one that I am flippant about (even though I might seem to make jokes about it – but usually to make the people who ask me this question more comfortable so they cannot look at me with such distaste). I would like people to respect that choice and respect that decision instantly and without requesting an explanation– the same way I respect the decisions people make to have children. I believe there are children out there who need my help/support and love in the ways I know I can selflessly give. One of the things I never wanted to do in my life is look at another human and think “because of you I can’t do [insert whatever thing it is you wish you could be doing at that point]”. Children are not a commodity I know but the reality is they are expensive, they change the dynamic in relationships and they change how you can spend your time. I am not selfish. My friends would say I am not selfish. I give to them. I give to their children. I give to community. But I believe in my heart that I would struggle being selfless with a child in my life. The irony is that in the relationship I am in I have to be more selfless than I ever have been because I have 2 other creatures that seek his attention. But let’s be honest. That happens 6 days out of 14 and I can manage that sacrifice because he is worth it. Oh and I don’t feel incomplete as a woman. I feel wonderfully blessed.
But I am at the age when the natural question people want to ask you is “when are you having children?”. That I can manage. But then something new happened when I said to someone “I have great news…” they paused, looked at my stomach (which isn’t like Gisele’s) and then looked back up at me. Oh my goodness. I have now apparently reached the stage where the only great news I might have to share is that I (read the words above) am pregnant. Please, please do not assume that of me…or of any other woman you know. As a 32 year old female there are a number of other things in my life that constitute “great news” and when I want to share them with you I would prefer not to be instantly annoyed by your assumption (and feel an overwhelming desire to work only on abs for the next few gym sessions). Sweet as your intentions are please remember that I am more than a womb that can carry a child (and maybe I have one that can’t) but also sometimes I just want to tell you about something absolutely superficial that made me happy.