Looking back, there was a time I planned to have children – when I was young and more readily accepted what I was supposed to do versus what I wanted do to. I would get married, live in a certain type of house, and life would play out in a certain type of way. So when I told some colleagues that I have never wanted children, it wasn’t entirely the truth, depending on how closely you equate “wanted” with “planned:” Somewhere along the way I disentangled myself from assumptions. Not entirely, of course, but as much as a nice Southern girl with the help of California could manage. I remember my first time seeing a modern dance troupe in San Francisco some of the audience were dressed in jeans – my sensibility was rattled
My shifting views on motherhood were not as overt. At some point I just began telling people that I did not want to have children.
Sometimes people were shocked. I find cab drivers, who are forever asking me if I have children, are the most surprised. Sometimes people tell me I will change my mind. Other times they say they wish they had known there was a choice; that they could have chosen to do things differently. They never say they regret having children, but just that they wish they had known there were other options, which is what the colleagues said to whom I recently told, “I don’t want to have children.”
“The way I was raised that’s just what you did,” they both agreed.
“Me too,”I said. “But I just knew I never wanted children. I want other things; I want a certain type of career, but I don’t want children.”
I just had to get away from what was familiar before I could say it.