I am a 42-year-old mother of three girls.
My sister, three years younger than me, is ‘childless’ (what an awful word that it …).
If you knew us as children, this situation would not surprise you. I always wanted to have kids. For my sister that was never an aspiration.
There is no common story among women without children.
Some have grown up ambivalent about the idea of motherhood and then hurriedly tried to get pregnant as their fertility has declined only to miss out.
Other women have never found the right person to raise a family with and have shied away from the idea of being a single parent.
Other women have been lucky to find a partner but been unlucky in the baby making process.
Then there are the women, like my sister, who have never wanted to have kids at all. Every childless 40-year-old woman has a story to tell.
There can be a lazy assumption made that women, like my sister, don’t like kids and aren’t capable of caring for them. They are deliberately barren, selfish career women who turn their noses up at the messy chaos of children, sneer at them in cafes and so on.
I guess some of those women exist but I’ve never met any of them. My experience of the many, many women without kids is that they will meet their friends with kids in parks, cuddle babies while mums drink their lattes, host nieces and nephews for lolly-filled sleep overs and bake elaborate cupcakes for birthday parties.
Whether we are the ones to give birth or not, so many women care for kids in ways that are unacknowledged and unapplauded.
Let me tell you about my ‘childless’ sister.