I'm 59, the eldest of four siblings, but have no partner and no children. A sense of inadequacy grows: what can I leave my nephews and nieces, and their children? I don't mean memories; I mean, what that is tangible and lasting, that I can equitably share among them? It's like feeling a phantom limb, a shadowy disconnect with future generations that I so ache to put right.
Pregnancy is supposed to be the most wonderful time of a woman's life. I, however, liken the condition to that of being invaded by a parasite. Reading that sentence back to myself makes me feel like a terrible person. And very worried that there is something wrong with me. This is me sharing my dirty secret via my laptop: I don't ever want to be a mother.
Statistics show us that more and more women are choosing not to have children, for reasons that are as varied as the seasons. With that, one would hope the negative attitude towards those who opt out of parenthood, the idea that they are unnatural and selfish, will dissipate. Not wanting kids doesn't make you any less of a woman or a bad person. Talking about not wanting kids doesn't make you offensive, just honest. Not wanting kids doesn't automatically mean you dislike them. Having kids reluctantly, as a kind of 'just in case' policy is probably not the best idea.
Many of us are so busy with work commitments and after-work activities Monday-to-Friday that we can't wait for the peace and quiet of the weekend in order to recover. And then, when we wake up on Saturday morning to an empty bed, an empty house and an empty weekend, it doesn't feel relaxing, it feels hideously oppressive.
Abortions among women in their 40s have risen by a third in the last decade. Although there are various causes for this rise, a proportion of them are...