Recently I wrote about the fact I don’t want children. It was such an emotional piece to write but I felt it was an important thing to do. My work warned me to prepare for hate mail, so I was nervous. I hardly slept the night before it was published. I awoke to three comments – one negative. This faceless man said I proved that I was selfish because I’d used the word “I” 57 times in my piece. Ridiculous. How could I possibly write a piece about my choice not to have children without using the word “I”? But it prepared me – I had my thickest skin ready.
Then something amazing happened. Of the 180 comments I had about my story his was the only negative comment. I got support from all angles: mothers, single gals who want kids, married women who also don’t want kids even men all saying it was my decision and that’s okay. It was overwhelming. At first it felt really uncomfortable – like being hugged by someone you don’t know. But after a couple of days I relished it. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have to hold myself up. To tell myself I was okay. I felt acknowledged and something I hadn’t felt in a long time I felt “normal”.
I guess I was lulled into a false sense of security. I felt bold about my choices and happy and calm. So what happened to me the other night was kind of like a kick in the teeth.
It was at a pub after Melbourne Cup – granted the nation was drunk and so was I. But I met a man. (Cue angels singing – guys hardly ever approach me) Anyway this very handsome bloke sidled up to me, he was a pilot and seemed almost too good to be true. We laughed and chatted for more than an hour. My friends gave me “the look” then made their excuses and left so I was alone with him. I was giddy with excitement.
Everything was going so well. We discussed our love of travel; how we both love our jobs. I was already marking our first meeting report card with an “exceeds expectations.”
After a couple of hours we’d arranged to go on a proper date later that week. Buoyed by my recent article I gently raised the Voldermort topic – the topic that shall not raise its name – I said to him, “Before we go any further I need to be honest with you – I don’t want to have children and if you do I guess we should talk about it.”
At first he laughed it off saying we’d gone too deep too quickly. Agreed but I’m 38 and I’m not here for a haircut, all right?
What happened next rocked me to my core. He leant over and kissed me then pulled away and said “You should never tell a guy that when you first met him. I’m 41 and I don’t think I want kids but I don’t want to be forced into a decision. So you should lie until you hook the guy, then when he’s fallen in love with you, you can talk him out of having kids.”