Last (wo)man standing
March 16, 2010 9:01 PM Subscribe
I'm 34, female, and I don't expect to have children. How do I cope with being in the minority?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (57 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Most of life I've leaned towards not having kids, this was fine and unperturbing until recently when I attended a party at which most of the women present were expectant or trying, or already a mother. Then my best friend announced she was pregnant. I knew it was on the cards but it was still a bit of a shock, and despite making all the right noises (I am genuinely thrilled for her) I had to take myself away later for a bit of a cry and some serious soul-searching.
I'm shocked at how much I'm suddenly questioning myself, despite having engineered my life and relationships around the decision not to have children (my SO doesn't want them either). Best friend has been ambivalent on the kids issue for the twenty years we've known one-another, but her long-term partner always wanted them and she was now in a place career-wise where she felt she could have a baby without feeling like she was losing out. I'm shocked by how jealous I am that she has this option. That she has had a challenging career and then gets to embark on a whole other challenge too (with near-universal approval). I feel terrible about that jealousy.
I'm also aware that this probably has to do with just plain feeling left out. I know I'm moving into the minority and its pretty cold out here. I do feel a bit betrayed that she chose motherhood - and that makes me feel like a hateful, bitter person. I want to celebrate her choice and be a cool Aunt, I do want to be supportive, but I also want to feel that my choices are just as valid. All I've seen so far is people paying lip service to those who are childless-by-choice whilst projecting the belief that you're immature and half-formed if you have chosen not to have kids. I'm worried that my friends who are becoming parents will soon start to feel this way about me, and that scares me.
Can anyone lend perspective? Are there any child-free mefites who've seen friends through child-bearing years and remained close or should I start preparing for the shunning now? Any advice welcome!