Over time, I became accustomed to being told I would change my mind on the child front when I was in my late teens and 20’s. It’s frustrating when everyone around you seems to think they know your mind better than you do. I expected when I got to my 30s that people might actually accept that I was very okay with my choice to not have children, but boy, was I wrong.
Bearing in mind, I am not currently in a stable relationship to bring a child into the world; people still feel they have the right to involve themselves in my decision. Instead of “you will change your mind when you are older”, it’s now, “oh, you have plenty of time. Don’t worry about it.” (Oh, don’t you worry because I’m not).
I can’t tell you how many times I am asked if I’m afraid of who will look after me in my old age if I lack on the children front. Honestly, as if having kids guarantees you a nursemaid in old age? Nor am I worried about not passing on all of my knowledge to the next generation. I want to reach people through my writing, so as far as I am concerned, I don’t need to be related by blood to someone to have a positive impact on the generation after me.
Even though it is a sure way to bring the conversation to an abrupt close, I very rarely use the ‘I can’t have children’ excuse, because while my chances of having children naturally are diminished, I am not technically infertile, so do not like detracting from the many women out there who unfortunately are and desperately want children.
I do know most of the comments from those who know me are well-meaning. I am a warm, caring person who loves to do things for others, and I actively enjoy spending time with my friends and their children. So, I know it doesn’t always make sense to people that I would not want to channel my need to care for someone into a child.
The answer is that while I enjoy being selfless with my time, I also enjoy being selfish. I love picking up and going wherever I fancy at the drop of a hat, getting so lost in a novel that I don’t move all day or deciding to lie in for hours on a Sunday. Don’t even get me started on sleeping through the night undisturbed.
Being a mother has got to be one of the hardest jobs in the world, and I am constantly in awe of the mothers. I know how much of themselves they pour into raising their children. But I also know that you always need to be living every moment for someone else. The lack of time to care for yourself properly and the endless daily routine that comes with parenting would make me profoundly unhappy.
Having the time to be creative rules a large part of my life, and scheduling every minute of my day would drive me nuts. Because of this, I know I would resent any child who sucked away all of my free time, which wouldn’t be fair to myself or the child. While I think if I were a parent, I would do my best to be a good one, I also feel that I would more likely regret having children than regret not having them. Children do not have a return policy, and once you are in that club, you are in it for life.