Is it really any of our business?
I used to say, “I’m never having kids” when people asked. Did I mean it? I think so. I certainly knew when I wasn’t ready for kids. So what changed? Was it the sound of a ticking clock? Was it the oozy feeling I got when I looked at my two-year-old niece smearing food on her mum’s top? I don’t know.
All I know is suddenly I wanted out of the “I’m never having kids club” and into the “parenthood club”, with a few caveats of course (we all start off like that, don’t we?). I was determined not to completely lose who I was. I was determined to continue working as hard as I could, to not get distracted by ovulation calculators, but create a child romantically.
Anyone who has tried for a child for more than six months knows that none of this is possible. All of a sudden you’re not in either club, but in some agonising halfway land, where you’re obsessing about where you want to be, and resenting where you are. It’s not pleasant.
But my and my husband’s “make the most of it” attitude of going out and enjoying ourselves while we remained untethered to another human being certainly helped soften the blow. What didn’t was the general public’s assumption that they could ask me when we were going to start a family.
Eventually I got pregnant – but even then I found myself indignant when those out of the know asked if I was planning on having children. What business was it of theirs? What’s with the assumption that I want kids in the first place?
For some reason, the fact that I was married and over the age 30 meant that people felt they were entitled to ask me not if I was going to reproduce, but when! I feel complaining about that after I have children sounds somewhat hypocritical, but the fact that I have chosen to have a child doesn’t make it any less rude to make assumptions (now it’s ‘when are you having another’) about my life choices. Zooey Deschanel was recently quoted saying that asking about a women’s child-free status doesn’t become more acceptable if the woman wants kids – I couldn’t agree more!