It seems odd in 2018 to think back about how radical it was for women, in particular, not to want to have children when we were growing up. I knew from the age of 10 that I wasn’t interested in motherhood. Dolls did nothing for me. As soon as I turned 16 and could get another type of job, I stopped babysitting. I happily delayed marriage until my mid-30s without a thought of baby timing.
I kept listening for the tick of the biological clock, but it never ticked.
Then the pro-natalist society struck back, and hard. The Jewish community: “you need to have children to increase our numbers.” Parents: “you mean we won’t be grandparents?” Folks in general: “who will take care of you in your old age?” (As if there are guarantees that kids would be there for you.) “have you seen a therapist to figure out what’s wrong with you?” Eventually I did see a therapist, who seemed very disappointed when she couldn’t find anything “wrong.” I wasn’t an ogre or a witch, and I didn’t hate kids. I kept listening for the tick of the biological clock, but it never ticked. Apparently I just wasn’t interested in having children of my own.
There were many coping strategies I used to deflect nosy questions. I tried saying I had problems with my health, but that invited intrusive follow-up questions. I tried humor: “Gee, I was in the bathroom when the mommy genes were given out.” That worked better.
Finally, in my mid-40s, the questions diminished. In response to the comment, “I’m sure you’ve regretted not having kids,” I’ve consistently answered “nope.” Research bears out my feelings; women who didn’t have children by choice (not for lack of opportunity) very rarely regret the choice. It’s gratifying that both men and women have more choices today and aren’t second guessed. Kudos to parents and non-parents alike!
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.