One night in college, I was with a group of girls I had gotten to know fairly well. We were tispy, sitting in a ritualistic-like circle, talking plans for next semester, travel destinations, where we’d like to end up come graduation, and then, I overheard someone say “marry.” Then I heard “babies.” Immediately, I felt myself sinking further back into the couch hoping like hell I’d temporarily become one of the cushions so I wouldn’t have to be a part of one of the many conversation topics that always manage to ostracize me from the group. I sipped my beer and picked the nail polish off my fingertips.
“Sam, what about you?” one of them asked, suddenly. “You’re so quiet.”
“Well, truth is, I don’t ever want to be married. Or have a baby,” I said without hesitation. “It’s never been in me to want to have that kind of life. I could never be someone’s wife, or a mother.”
I was the only one of about nine girls who had a different response. They just stared at me, some of them sounded just like my mother replying with cliché excuses on how I could change my mind one day. Some of them didn’t say anything at all, looking away from me as if I had just revealed some outrageous fetish, and only two were genuinely cool with my answer.
It was one of the many times I had felt inferiority among a group, but somehow, this time seemed different. I remained silent as they carried on the conversation about their future weddings and offspring: name choice (“I’d name one ‘bleh’ and the other one ‘blah’), how many kids, preference over boys than girls (“because boys are so much easier!”) what color dress they want their bridesmaids to wear, how many bridesmaids they wanted, how they would do their hair/makeup. I was buzzed by the time the conversation finally switched over to something else. What I wanted to say was that their minds could easily change as well as mine, but I didn’t have enough liquid courage in the moment.
Another situation happened to me recently while a friend of mine and I went out shopping. We were strolling around the store, cherry pickin’ through clearance items, trying to kill time. Then on our way to check out, we walked past the aisles of baby clothes and I swear, I’ve never seen anyone get so excited over baby clothes until that day.
“Ugh! I would totally put my baby in this outfit. Do you see this? How cute is this shit?! Do you see this? Look how fucking cute this is! Ugh, I love it! Ugh, I can’t wait to be a mom! I’m going to be a fucking wonderful mother! I can’t get over how cute this is!”
I stood there with my arms folded, tapping my foot anxiously, nodding my head so much that I could’ve passed for a life sized bobble head on a cheery receptionist’s desk, and forced a smile as she proceeded to go through half the rack and examine every outfit while babbling about her plans for motherhood, shaking fabrics in my face as I became covered in glitter and sequins from the more flamboyant outfits.
“What? You don’t think this is adorable?” she pried, tucking the top of a striped one piece outfit under her chin so that I could get the full view. I did think it was cute, I had told her four times I thought it was cute, but I assume it was my classic resting bitch that gave away the fact that I was not as ecstatic as she was.
By the time we got to my car, I was so irritated with her that I faked a stomachache, dropped her off and went home to be alone with my thoughts.
The marriage and kids conversation has always been an awkward one for me. I’ve only had a few dudes give me shit for my decision to remain childless. It’s a topic that always seems to pop up when I’m with women. I have been unfortunate enough to be caught in the middle of this conversation too many times to count. I don’t know how other gals feel about this, but it always discussed in a way as if the two are as important as eating, breathing, and shitting.
Newsflash: Women are not born to be mothers. Women are not born to be someone’s wife. And it is not fair to shame or criticize any woman who chooses not to be a wife, mother, or both.
I have never been able to envision my ideal wedding. As far as having children, I cannot even begin fathom the mental and physical preparation it takes to become a mother. It’s not that I’m not motherly. I am motherly. I have watched over my siblings since I was 9 and have basically been a third parent ever since. When I was 4, I used to pretend to breastfeed my baby dolls, which I observed from my own mother breastfeeding my brother. Every so often, there are kids I come in contact with that are sweeter than ever, and I can feel my cold heart ache. I don’t hate kids, but I can barely get my own shit together. There is no way I will ever download issues I haven’t quite resolved yet onto a miniature version of me, like how my parents did.
My mom is a peach, I love her to death, but I grind my teeth whenever she says things like, “have kids and then you’ll see what I mean,” or “all women find men who are good with children attractive — it’s in our nature” or her favorite, “you’ll change your mind one day.”
All of these no doubt may turn out to be true. Who knows, I could very well change my mind one day. I might want to have a baby with someone who sets a different kind fire in my loins one day, or tie the knot with someone who I can happily imagine spoon feeding applesauce to. People do change, people do meet people they want to procreate or grow old with, and that’s fine. But people also do get married and/or become parents because they think it’s cute and end up being completely unprepared to handle it. More and more divorces are happening every day; it’s actually a miracle if couples can stick it out anymore. I am certain there are women out there who chose to have children and maybe regret their decision.
I’m not trying to slam anyone who wants marriage or children. People should do what is best for them and follow their hearts. But don’t make someone feel inferior because they live their life differently, or have a different set of values. Life is more about raising a family. Times have changed and the old school mentality fires need to be extinguished.
So, I have a wedding to go to on Saturday. I’m bound to be caught up in this conversation once again. Not that I am going to justify every post I make, but this upcoming extravaganza is what got the ball rollin’ for me. I won’t know anybody, except for my gentleman friend who I have been seeing for seven months now and a few of his pals. Should be fun, hopefully there is an open bar and no pressure on me to dance…that’s a whole other story I’ll have to post about one of these days.