Single & Childless Women Are Tired of Justifying Their Existence
We have enough problems without having to constantly explain ourselves
“You should be a mother,” my six-year-old niece Keira said to me during a summer visit.
I assumed she meant that she found me maternal. As someone who is childless-by-circumstance, I am hesitant to attach virtue to motherhood; nevertheless, I smiled and said, “Thank you,” in a tone that made the statement sound like a question.
“No, not thank you,” she said, immediately, scolding me. “I didn’t mean it like that. I’m telling you to fix it. It’s not normal that you don’t have children.”
My heart sank. I have had countless conversations like this with Keira and her eight-year-old sister, Brynn.
Brynn has whispered to me several times over the years in a hushed, sorrowful tone, that I must be so sad that I don’t have a husband or babies like her mother (my sister) does. “You must be so lonely,” she’s said.
They’ve asked me over and over when I’m finally going to get married or “be like other women and have babies.” And yes, they’ve said before that I need to “fix” myself and my life because the way I live isn’t normal.
I wish I could say this is the only commentary I get on my so-called abnormal lifestyle, but sadly, I’m quite used to it. I’ve been asked by cousins, friends, and even strangers on the internet when I’m going to “get my act together,” “contribute to society,” or “pursue a happier, more selfless life.”
It’s such an odd — and cruel, frankly — phenomenon to find one’s life open to public scrutiny by people who assume they know me well enough to determine that I made all these choices on purpose.
If I had had my way, I would have gotten married and had babies. I hate to say that, because honestly, how unoriginal. But it’s the truth. I would have loved to have had a husband and two or three kids, a dog, and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. What can I say? I know how to follow orders.
But, despite people insisting that you can have whatever you want if you just put your mind to it, life does not always go the way you planned. I put in a damn good fight, yet I did…