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Saturday, March 19, 2011

"You have children, don't you?"

"No. I do not," I reply. And then "the look." Those of you who have gotten the look know exactly what I'm talking about... kinda like someone spoke to you in a foreign language. As if to say "uh, what? you're a woman in her 40's and you don't... have... children?!?!? I... uh... I've never conceived of such a thing!"

I hate that look. I hate the question more. I mean, seriously, where do people get off projecting their disdain and disappointment in my inability or failure to procreate! It never fails to be a swift kick in the gut that brings tears to my eyes and leaves a knot in my chest. What's worse is it always stays with me for days.

How I wish that I could just brush it off and not think about it any more. But it's hard not being part of the club- not having anything to contribute to the conversation. I have no children whose school work and ball games and ballet recitals to discuss. I'm not a home-room mom, or a soccer mom, or a pre-K contact/coordinator... or whatever the hell they're called! I have no one applying to colleges, getting ready for prom, or bringing home a questionable boyfriend. I've got nothing to say.

It's hard being childless in such a child-focused society... really, really hard.

2 comments:

  1. Even worse than "the look" for me, is the "Oh, but you can still have kids," when we haven't discussed whether I can have them or want them. There is pity in that statement and the implied assumption that if you don't have them, you cannot be happy. It leaves me with a really icky feeling that is so hard to shake, especially when I try so hard to be focused on the things that I do have and the positive things that I can strive for and achieve. I was talking to a much younger male friend last night (my husband's 24 year old grad student), and I was telling him that I'm 42, but really wish I could go back some years. He looked at me innocently and said, "Why? You can do whatever you would have done then now." I wanted to tell him that there is one thing that is much more difficult now, but his statement was so refreshing... no thought about kids, or missing out on anything. It was really sweet!!

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  2. I am 42, and also don't have kids. The most interesting thing its that I work with parents and little children. The parents always ask me: do you have kids? and when I say "no", there comes the look.... I always say "no yet" because I can adopt in the future, don't know yet, but the only thing I know that after 15 years of marriage and without any children, I feel that I am of value, my childless situation doesn't make me no less woman, no less potentially a mother.. i have learned that even the look is hurtful I know who I am, I have struggled enough and even though sometimes I know I will cry, it s only to release my emotions, and take a breath and just look the horizon again, and keep going....

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