In September, I spent a glorious, sleep-deprived week visiting my sister and her newborn twins. Helping her with those precious angels made my ovaries twitch a bit, but I'm sure it was due to having only one REM cycle every 20 hours, the Big Little Lies marathon and the sheer amount of garbage we managed to eat in the 1.2 seconds between feedings. No sleep, Reese Witherspoon and grocery store bakery brownie cookie will make you have an out of body experience. My sister is Wonder Woman. Hands down and take it to the bank.
Well, when I returned home, I spent the following day curled in a ball on the couch, my phone on airplane mode and daring anyone to speak to me unless offering food or drink. She won’t get to do that for at least 18 years.
In the months after I was married and even more so now that the twins are in the picture, the question of whether I'd be filling my womb has been asked more than ever. While it's fine for my friends and family to continually barrage me with questions (Yes, Mom...I'm talking about you), it's the general public who irritates me the most. It’s like a 40-something-year-old woman who doesn’t have children is a rare breed of human which must be studied, examined and interrogated.
“WHY? Why don’t you want to have any children?” It is the question always asked by a stranger I just met on the plane, in a restaurant or even on a park bench ( true story was that it happened last week in under 2 minutes of conversation)
“Gee Whiz, Felicity….I don’t know. I’m just into having dogs instead”. (this usually enrages the Mom squad instantly because they feel you are comparing their children to your dogs. They don’t show it, but I feel it.)
I always feel like I need to explain why I’ve chosen not to breed. Yes, even to random strangers who accost me on the sidewalk (another true story happened one month ago on Main Street while I was babysitting my niece). But sincerely speaking, those who have bared offspring look at me with disdain and even pity when I tell them it's not in my plans. Like its a sorority I must join or be forever banished as one of the "uncool" kids. How dare I not procreate? What is wrong with me?
“You’re going to be sorry later. It’s the most wonderful thing you can do”
Look Linda, I won’t be sorry. How do I know this? Because I am so ridiculously happy right now. My life, although I have little problems like everyone else, is so amazingly awesome. I don’t feel like anything is missing. On Sunday mornings, when I am slowing sipping my coffee while perusing cooking magazines as my dogs snuggle with me on the couch and I’m pondering what I’m going to do for the rest of the day, do I ever stop and wonder where a kid might fit in? Honestly, it truly doesn’t enter my mind.
I’ve gotten so tired of the attacks on my unused uterus, that I worked tirelessly on a way to put one over on the nosy Moms who effortlessly shamed my childless state. In the last few months, I have come up with an answer so clever, so ingenious that it begs to be shared with the world. An answer so ambiguous and beguiling it can sway even the most inquisitive soccer mom:
"Having kids was never an option for me"
Clever, right? No one knows what to do with that statement. It could mean so many things. In my experience, it mostly makes people uncomfortable which immediately invites a subject change. I'm technically not lying. Having kids WAS never an option for me. In the great multiple-choice fertility test, I checked the box that said, "No kids".
Now, I will warn you. This statement won’t stop everyone. We all can identify those people who have no boundaries when it comes to personal information gathering. These creatures wander the earth, disguised as overly sympathetic people willing to ask the follow up question:
“Awwww, how long did you guys try for? Did you do in vitro?”
“No, Rebecca. No trying. No in vitro. I’m a self-centered twat who wants my Sunday mornings without a side of Legos. By the way, your kid is peeing behind the bush next to that shop.”
Let’s get one thing straight. I love kids. My nieces and nephew pull my heartstrings and the smell of a nuzzling baby's head is sweet perfume. But, I want the children in my life to be like my library books: with a “return by date”. I want to spoil them, love them, fill them with sugar and drop them back off at their home.
So, if anyone needs me, I’ll be lying on my couch with a glass of wine until I feel the need to get up. And when I do, there won’t be a Lego on the floor for me to step on.