It seems to me that if you are woman of a certain age, some questions are almost unavoidable. It amuses/frustrates/annoys me how even strangers are often of the belief that details of my person life should be available for their consumption. The usual question that I’ve been fielding for the last couple of years is the one regarding children and to a large extent I just want to respond in one of the following ways:
- Blinking my eyes really slowly multiple times
- Screaming “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS”
- Patting my belly fondly and saying “I do have a baby, a pizza baby”
I really don’t think that the occupancy status of my womb is anyone’s business apart from my own. I’m not sure if I’ve always thought that I would never have children but I do remember blind panic settling in in my late twenties. I guess I had always assumed that one day I would wake up with this unquestionable, ineluctable desire to bear a child. This is how my mother told me she felt, that one day the urge to have a child would be so strong that I would be consumed by it. So, I waited for that day. The constant questions after I got married, the random strangers talking about my biological clock as if it was information that was owed to them did not make the situation any easier and the thought that I should just “get it over and done with” terrified me beyond belief. You see, I had this stupid notion in my head. I had the notion that in order to have kids, you had to actually want them. You had to know that you wanted to bring a child into this world. That you weren’t doing it for your family or for the sake of the invisible expiry date on your womb. But according to most people, that’s me being a complete lunatic.
Now, I’m not writing this to lay criticism at the feet of those who have had babies because they felt pressure, biological or otherwise, I’m just saying that I do not want to live my life that way. Chalk it down to my daddy issues or problems with authority but I hate being told what to do. Yes, I know if every woman in the world decided not to bring a life into this world our species would not continue, but little old me making that decision hardly seems like an end of the world type catastrophe. The fact is, I have no desire to carry a child and should I one day want a family, then I know first hand that there are many orphaned and abandoned children who will need the home that I can provide. I’ve been told I am unnatural (and you can be sure I responded with bared teeth and a snarl), I’ve been told that my husband will leave me (thank goodness there are random strangers concerned about the state of my marriage) and I’ve been told that I will be prayed for. That last one is hysterical, I imagine impotent pleas to a higher power willing away the efficacy of my birth control pills. Please don’t pray for me, pray for the women who want children, who ache to be mothers and cannot. Pray for the children who have no one, pray that someone will fill the void in their lives.