Now, listen—if you put a baby in front of me, rest assured: that baby is gonna get cuddled, spoiled and adored. But even as I’m loving on that beautiful infant, I know in my heart: This is not my destiny. It never was
I’m 35. I’ve been hearing about having children for 20 years and I’m sure I’ll be hearing about it for at least another ten years. I love being an aunt and a godmother because I can give them back. Oh, and I don’t do diapers. I really like that this short anthology was given context by not only the women’s own stories of their lives but also chapter introductions that set the historical context for the year(s) in which the women were writing.
Born in 1979 I have no context of a life without the birth control pill and my entire life, let alone my reproductive years, is in the post Roe vs. Wade era. While the free love of the 60s wasn’t my life, nor was the AIDS crisis of the early 1980s. It’s almost as if the not quite Gen X, not quite Millennials live in an era of safe sex which, in the context of this book, made the question of whether to have children a different one. It’s a choice (mostly), not a social issue or political statement or fear of a communicable disease.
God forbid, I should grow up to be an old maid. Yet as an adult, my experiences as aunt to my brother’s three children, a junior high teacher, and a witness to the dubious behavior of most of my friends’ children, made me grateful for my freedom. I found little appealing in the prospect of making an 18-year commitment, as they had, to a life I regarded as tumultuous.
It’s not that my life is tumultuous, but this is what hits closest to my personal decision as to why I don’t want or have children. I can’t make a long term commitment to a relationship, a city or an apartment, I can’t imagine 18 years to another human being. Plenty of woman eager to be a mother? Me? I’ll take being an aunt.
And Kathleen who closed the book? Yeah, she’s me to a tee.
Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway