Those of you who have read some of my other posts know that I am not a mother. I am a proud aunty to 12 however have no kids of my own. For me, not having children has been rather trying at times. Being in a long-term relationship, I find myself constantly asked when my partner and I will be starting a family – as if two people are somehow an incomplete family. Families come in all shapes and sizes and I think that we as society really must stop imposing our labels and definitions onto everyone else.
Whenever a baby is brought around the office (having worked in a number of offices, this happens quite regularly), I tend to make myself scarce to avoid all of the “mummy talk” and then, when the proud mum does come back into the work place I have always found myself segregated and thrown into the group of “oh, she isn’t having kids… Oh, didn’t you hear – they aren’t trying for a family or don’t want kids.” It’s a good thing that most of my friends over the years have been male – an easy group to hide amongst to escape baby talk.
This constant judgement doesn’t just happen in the workplace. My mother, chose the day that I was being kicked out of my house by my husband to offer me this little pearl of wisdom: now you can go get fu*#ed and make babies. Apart from my shock at the language used and that she was choosing that moment in my life to make another point about reproducing – I just couldn’t believe that her sole ambition for me was to make babies. It’s not like we have a shortage of kids in the family…even back then we were up to 3 kids and my younger siblings were at that stage, too young to be considering them.
I have accepted that in this regard, I am a huge disappointment to my mother. I think what bothers her most is that I have chosen not to have a life like hers. When I was younger, she liked drawing similarities between our relationships – well it is said that a girl will marry a man like her father… no wonder I got divorced.
Why is it that I should be made to feel that I am somehow less that a woman because I do not have kids? Many people don’t have kids. Some can’t, some choose not to or are waiting for the right person to come along who they actually want to start a family with. Some are trying to get financials in order or are busy travelling and seeing the world. Why do we have to work to everyone else’s clocks?
As far as my biological clock – I broke that sucker years ago. I am 30 now and although I am surrounded by some really cute kids, I don’t find myself going all gooey and getting clucky.
There was a time when I was absolutely desperate to have a kid. In my mind, a son, who would have loved me unconditionally and who I could have protected and brought up to always know that he was loved and cared for. I clung to the dream of this little boy for a long time, had a name picked out and knew that he would love throwing a baseball around yet also enjoy reading a book. My life was all mapped out ahead of me until the dream shattered and I was left with the realisation that my husband (at the time) would use any child we had as a pawn against me and then to find out that I was unlikely to be able to have a baby in the first place. My body had failed me and if I had pushed ahead and somehow had a baby, I would have been failing that little being.
I don’t think that the world has really changed too much for the worst compared to when I was a child. Yes, so much is prohibitively expensive these days – geez just a state school will set you back a pretty penny. And the world powers will always be playing out conflicts like kindergarteners fighting over the same toy. I just couldn’t bring a child into this world. Not when there are already so many that are desperate for love and protection.
We should look after the kids that are already around before making more and leaving those that need us to go hungry or unloved. Even if we aren’t adopting or fostering, most of us have plenty of kids within our own circles that can do with a safe haven at times and parents that could do with a bit of support.