“Sorry, that’s a bit personal isn’t it?”

Yes. It. Fucking. Is.

This was said to me after I’d answered her “Do you have children?” with a very curt “No.” I didn’t know this woman. It was a work-related phone conversation. She didn’t mean any harm, she was just making conversation.

And that’s what needs to stop. Our conversations. Our assumptions. Our ridiculous idea that we have the right to know about someone else’s body and whether or not someone has used it to reproduce.

Why? Because whether we mean to or not, the next thought we have after getting a “no” to this question is “Why not?” Whether it’s said out loud or just thought, we can’t help ourselves. And believe me, there are plenty of people out there who think it’s well within their rights to say it out loud. Countess Drusilla has one or two things to say about those people.

So here’s what I’m envisioning right now:

  • A world where making small talk doesn’t automatically include asking about children and whether or not you have any. Instead we ask “How do you spend your time?”
  • A world where a  woman without children is respected just as much as every mother out there.
  • A world where we don’t make assumptions about people who seem to be different from us. Trust me, they probably aren’t that different
  • A world where we don’t beat ourselves up because we don’t have children, for whatever reason.
  • A world with less Depression, less anxiety, less stigma and discrimination

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? And I’m aware that these are very lofty ideals, but I do believe that the world I envision is possible to create. But it’s going to take work.

So, here’s how I’m going to do it:

  • I’m going to be the best damn role model for making a different lifestyle normal, that ever lived
  • I’m going to stop being so hard on myself, celebrate my weirdness and celebrate other people’s weirdness too
  • I’m going to keep talking, loudly and in your face, about what it’s like to be childless by circumstance and not by choice
  • I’m going to keep defending every woman’s right to make her own decisions, her right to not have to defend those decisions, and her right to say “None of your business.”
  • And I will never. Ever. Stop valuing myself and my opinions. Mother or not. Click To Tweet

 

Have I made myself clear?

I AM happy for you even though I can’t bring myself to come to your baby shower.

No, really, I am. It’s just that I’m a human being with flaws and faults and my pain sometimes overshadows my joy for other people. It’s not deliberate and it’s not always like this, but right now? It is.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be part of your child’s life. It doesn’t mean that I’m angry, bitter, upset, or jealous. Even though sometimes I am. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be friends anymore. It doesn’t mean I won’t come to the baby’s 1st birthday party. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be proud to be the baby’s Godmother or honorary Aunt. It just means that I can’t do it today. It doesn’t meant that I won’t be thinking of you, even though I’m not there physically.

I have to look after myself, you see. No. I don’t have to be strong for my children, or husband, or family. I have to be strong for myself. Nobody else should have the responsibility of looking after me. And if I slip up, and don’t look after myself? I’ll drown in the pain and that will help nobody.

I don’t have a mother’s wisdom. I have the wisdom of a woman who has found herself living a life… Click To Tweet I can, and if you will let me, teach your baby so much about life, about grief, resilience, strength, and all those other things I can’t put into words but can put into a hug. I just can’t do it today.

Maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow it will be easier. I’ll call you. You can tell me all about the baby shower. We’ll laugh at Aunty Mabel’s hideous taste in gifts, and the silly games you all played and you can send me the photos by email.

Yes. Tomorrow will be better. I AM happy for you even though I can’t bring myself to come to your baby shower.

My own passion and purpose

I haven’t been well recently. I had a nasty flu, and was just recovering from that when I got bitten by something equally as nasty and swelled up like Quasimodo’s sister. Or Aunt. I must confess to being more than a little scared when I woke up the other morning and couldn’t open my eyes due to swelling. Yuk. Twas not pretty.

I’m feeling better now. There’s just a little bit of swelling in my face now, and hopefully that will disappear soon. It can’t last forever can it?

And while I don’t recommend getting sick, it’s amazing what it can do for renewing your passion for what you do. First of all, there’s the fact that you no longer have a choice. You absolutely have to rest, or you’ll be carted off to the circus as the next freaky feature. Or perhaps something not quite as dramatic. But isn’t it ridiculous that often we still need to get sick before we realise we need to rest?… Click To Tweet

It also gives you time to think. And by think, I mean plan, scheme and create. You watch tv, read books, listen to the radio. And all that time, your brain’s soaking up that information and turning it into a new product, or essay or craft.

Then you start to feel better, and you realise that you’ve missed working on your passion. You can’t wait to get back to it. You remember why you started it, and you remember why it’s so damn important. That’s where I’m at right now.

Getting back into my passion and purpose. Because it’s important. Because my message needs to get out there into the world. And it because it makes me feel valuable.

Isn’t that what we all want?

When the Choice to be Childless isn’t a Choice

Huh?

Bear with me a minute while I explain, although I’m sure there’s quite a few of you that got what I meant instantly.

The choices we make aren’t always clear cut. Sometimes we choose the lesser of two evils. Which is usually how I feel when I go to vote in our national elections. You see, I don’t like politicians as a rule and when I have to choose who I’m going to vote for, I tend to go for the party that I feel is going to cause the least damage to my country and my lifestyle.

And sometimes, deciding not to have children is not the ideal choice for a woman, but it is the… Click To Tweet. There are women who suffer from mental illness, for example, and although they are physically able to have children, the strain on their mental health would be too much. Not to mention the risk of passing that condition on to her children and having them suffer the way she has. See what I mean? It’s technically a choice, but I bet it doesn’t feel like a choice to that woman. It feels like the only decision she could make.

Then there’s the woman who meets her partner later in life. Yes, we’ve all seen the celebrities who have their first child at age 50. Yeah. Good for them. But those of us that live in the real world may not want to burden teenagers with elderly parents. They may be starting to see the beginnings of all those aches and pains that come with getting older and they may not feel physically able to cope with bringing up a child. Again. A choice, but not really.

And how about the adoption route? (Don’t you just hate it when people say, “Why don’t you adopt?). Well… let’s see. In my country at least, there’s several different, and stressful, hoops you have to jump through. Your whole lives are examined, and stupid things you did when you were 17 years old and drunk may disqualify you. Assuming you can find a child to adopt in the first place. Trust me, there just isn’t that many children up for adoption nowadays. What about adopting from overseas? Yup. Good idea. I’ll get on to that, just as soon as I can scrape up enough money for that to be an option. Again. A choice. But not really.

It’s not black and white, folks. It’s just not. Nothing that is as emotionally charged as having, or not having, children is black and white. Click To Tweet There are usually several degrees of greyness and what is right for one woman in a certain situation is not right for the next. Isn’t it time we showed some compassion for those that don’t feel they have a choice?

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