WASHINGTON – I’m so glad I didn’t have children.
Every Mother’s Day affirms it.
I’ve never understood the desperate fertility treatment dance so many women go through in order to have children that they can’t conceive naturally. It’s a miracle it’s an option, but the torture of it all. But when I found out my niece and her husband finally conceived we cracked a bottle of Tequila and did shots in their honor.
Some girls want a different life.
When I grew up it was an expectation you would get married and have children. It’s what women did. I refused, wearing the childree stigma from those days as a badge of independent bravery. Because when the modern age of feminism blasted off Phyllis Schlafly’s harping was a loud noise in our ear.
Thankfully, it’s not so anymore.
As a kid, the doll I loved was Barbie. She was independent, had lots of clothes and cool car and dream house, though I wasn’t interested at all in Ken. What did Barbie need him for anyway? Her perfect body didn’t faze me. All I saw was her freedom. She wasn’t one of those loathsome dolls that I was expected to pretend feed, pantomime diaper changing and roll around in a fake stroller, which was obviously meant to prepare me for something I always knew I didn’t want.
When I got a Thumbelina for Christmas one year, she came in a pretty basket all cuddled up. My interest lasted about a second.
I love being around little people. Their reaction to me is entertaining, because I don’t treat them like children. The encounters are inevitably magical for me, but it’s a vacation zone not a landing strip.
What’s your life all about without children? Everything you can think of to do and then more. It’s about discovering or creating something else you’re passionate about that teaches you, inspires you and expands you. It’s a never ending cavalcade of experiences. As a thinker, artist and writer it’s been about making an impact in my little corner of the world.
Contrary to the stereotypical propaganda, not having children can also keep you young. You are the kid in your life, just with heaping responsibilities and the rewards that come with adulthood.
I can’t imagine my life any other way and wouldn’t have it any other way either. It’s been a madcap, non-stop whirl of amazing miracles and evolutionary thrills.
That was before I met Mark and got married, when it was thought a feminist was more likely to be hit by a terrorist than get married in her 40s. What has made it so strong and exhilarating is we’re on this journey together. I’ve married the strongest feminist I know who stands beside me in all I do, as we create our life lived in a perpetual roller coaster of events. He’s a great dad, but that’s his life to manage, not mine in which to interfere. I can hardly wait ’til his kids come visit us in Virginia. What fun that will be!
Every day begins when I ask myself what will I explore or discover today? Then off I go.
I’m grateful I had the guts to say no to kids when I was very young and hold on to that vision all of my life.
When I read about more and more women today putting off motherhood or choosing to forego it entirely, I send them a secret blessing for what is possible in front of them if they choose to stay childfree. A big, messy board of bright colors and life free of being tethered to shepherding anyone’s journey but your own. Loads of hours and days and weeks and months where you have nothing to think about but your own adventure.
If you get really lucky, you’ll find someone who wants to come along and has great ideas of trouble to get into and together you’ll have a madcap blast.
For all you mothers out there, happy Mother’s Day. I hope you’re as blissfully happy with children as I am childfree.
Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.
graphic via 7DeadlySinners