Someday You’ll Change Your Mind
Last weekend my pathetic, childless friend and I had a rare girls’ night out in New York City. At a terrible rooftop bar we began chatting with an individual who asked us if we had children. No. If we were planning to have children. No. Were our husbands okay with that? Yes.
Then, with equal measures of indecorum and sympathy for our wretched souls (to be clear, we don’t want to eat children, we just don’t want to birth them), and the presumption that he knew us better than we knew ourselves, he confidently declared, “Someday you’ll change your mind.”
This all seems very inappropriate to me, and yet it’s a conversation that appears to follow me around and pop up quite frequently, like in a casual midnight rooftop bar exchange with a stranger. It would be highly hypocritical of me to be easily offended, so I rarely ruminate on these types of encounters, but enough is enough.
I was born an old soul. I don’t know if that’s a weird thing to say about oneself, but it’s true. My first words came late, but when they did come they came clear as day in the form of the sentence, “DON’T TOUCH ME.” True story. Like if Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino was a baby girl, he would have been me. When I was nine years old I declared that I was never having children. For years I was told that someday I’d change my mind, but long-married and at the ripe age of thirty-two my biological clock is still quiet as a church mouse.
The reality is that I actually cannot fathom the desire to have children. I simply can’t. I certainly begrudge procreators nothing, but my life is full, and my heart is full, and I desire zero.
Aside from the fact that growing another human inside my body is fairly revolting to me, the main reason that I don’t desire children of my own is because I love my husband. Weird, right? I’m not a warm and fuzzy person (see above), but sometimes I look at my husband when he’s telling a story, or when he’s made a joke out of left field that after 12 years still gives me a twinge of surprise, and I think, “I love the way his brain works.”
(I already admitted that I’m not romantic, okay?)
The point is that I really, truly feel that I found my soul mate, if such a thing exists. Of course we go through the struggles that all married people encounter (bills, not enough time in the day, that one time he got really mad when I acidentally rammed my car into the pizza delivery boy, etc.), but we are as meant to be as Danny and Sandy. I think he’s the smartest, funniest, most ridiculous human I’ve ever met, and I love him for it. And I don’t want to share him. I already share him with his job. I share him with the gym, our friends, our family, Lily Aldridge’s Instagram account, the NFL, Ray Donovan, and the Internet.
Due to the demands of his job, my husband is home on weekends, and for about 4 waking hours 3–4 nights per week. That means from Monday to Friday I see him an absolute maximum of 16 hours. The rest of the time, I enjoy being alone — really, honestly enjoy it. Then, during those magical <16 hours we are able to do anything we desire. Some nights we meet at the gym. Some nights we drink wine on the porch and talk about our days. Some nights we cook dinner together, discuss current events, zone out in front of the TV, or read in bed. And it’s perfect. We aren’t missing anything in our lives. There’s no void. We don’t want it to change, and although I have about forty more reasons to abstain from having children*, this single one is enough.
More importantly, it doesn’t matter what you think. So don’t be that jerk. Mind your own business, and if a woman tells you she isn’t going to have kids, believe her. It’s a real thing. And when a woman tells me that she’s expecting, I won’t ask her why and if her husband is okay with it, and I’ll also try to refrain from telling her that someday she’ll change her mind.
*the 16-hour/week father, Donald, Hillary, terrorism, teenage suicide, online bullying, camera phones, baby yoga classes, social media, organic home-blended baby food, school shootings, pedophiles, peanut allergies, $5,000 birthday parties, global warming, my child would be a gigantic superior athlete and then I’d have to go to all his peewee/Friday night/Michigan/Patriot football games for the next 35 years…