I've never made a secret of the fact that I don't want children of my own. However, it's apparently something that I still need to discuss with people because, although we're in the 21st Century, as a woman in her late-20's I am still regularly asked a. When are you getting married? and b. Do you want children?
The first question is still the more frequently asked as I have been in the same (stable?) relationship for over six years --longer than a lot of marriages some may argue-- and a lot of my friends are engaged, in the middle of planning a wedding or just married. It's the done thing right? Don't get me wrong I love going to weddings and celebrating people's relationships and happiness. It's a beautiful thing to be invited to share and witness. However, personally I am genuinely not that fussed right now about having a ring on my finger, my focus is very much buying a roof to keep over my head. Property over a party is my motto for life.
However, the second question is something that jars a little more. It should be noted here that as far as I know my (male) partner has never been asked if and when he's having children but I have been asked a lot. My response is the same no, I don't want children, and no neither does my boyfriend. We had this conversation very early on when we were dating because it's a serious deal-breaker and equally if one of us either changed our minds, which it might because never say never, we would have to have another serious and perhaps difficult conversation. We're extremely content with our decision, it's other people that seem to have issue. The first hurdle was my parents as I didn't want to upset them unduly but they understood and were okay with our decision --this was helped by the fact that my elder sister wants/wanted a whole football team so they're happiness at being Granny and Grandpa was not taken away from them.
What I wasn't prepared for was the slight judgement of not so much friends but friends of friends and casual acquaintances. A bit like when I told my mum I didn't like coffee or olives when I was in my teens and she responded with 'You'll come to it', is how every conversation I have had goes. And to be blunt, DON'T BLOODY PATRONISE ME. I don't question your decision to have children so please offer me the same respect. And whilst we're on the subject DON'T ASK THE QUESTION IN THE FIRST PLACE. You have no idea whether I am infertile, had countless miscarriages and/or abortions or had a child adopted. It's a personal question and it's not your place to ask. The same goes for the marriage query as well.
And so we move on. My sister has just given birth to her first daughter and the other day I met her and pronounced her perfect --that's because she is, especially when wearing a onesie that makes her look like a teddybear. Truly she's a stunner and so peaceful (for now). I shared the news with my friends and I am happy to yell it from the rooftops. MY NEICE IS THE BEST. And what happened when I told them (in spite of all the previous conversations we have had in the past)? ARE YOU FEELING MATERNAL? Why, because holding a baby is going to squeeze my ovaries and kick-start the bell tolling on my biological clock? Well sorry everyone, no. My sister has had a baby, she is my niece, I love her wholeheartedly, I will read to her whenever the occasion arises, I will be there for her for the rest of her life --and when she's old enough I will teach her the joys of gin and classical music. But can everyone please finally just deal with the fact that some women, like myself, simply don't want children of our own.