No Kids, Just Cats: The Stigma of Being 30-Something & Childless

Posted On Friday, 30 January 2015
No Kids, Just Cats: The Stigma of Being 30-Something & Childless
I recently read a blog about how childless women – particularly married childless women in their 30s – often take a lot of shit for not having kids.

I was like, “Whoa... this woman has something to say.”

And, I was right.

I get it all the time. People will ask me, “Do you have kids?” This question typically follows my reveal that I live in L.A. most of the time and my husband lives in Minnesota. My answer is always, “No kids; just cats.”

That’s me, trying to put light on the conversation that undoubtedly will turn to sympathy. Or judgment. Or confusion. Or all three of the above.

Or any number of thoughts.

I recently had a women, no joke, say to me: “That makes me so sad. That you won’t ever have children.”

WTF? When did my uterus become an issue of your concern?

I like kids, generally. I LOVE my nephews and nieces, obviously. They bring me a joy that cannot be described in a succinct assessment. I recently had the joy of watching my great-niece and great-nephew open their Christmas presents from me and my husband. They were SO cute. We played a game of... wait, what was it? It was cute. And fun. But the fact that I don’t remember it tells you something about my proclivity to be a mom. I DO remember that I played a couple games of Connect 4 (which, I failed miserably at... that’s the wrong side of the brain for me).

Farther back than that, I fondly remember rocking nephew Colin in the glider rocking chair (who else can give me a high-five on those chairs?), shortly after being born. He was a SUPER-colicky baby, like cry-all-the-time baby; but somehow I was able to calm him. Those moments were some of the few that itched my uterus. Moments that made me think, “Maybe I COULD do this.” Since then, things have changed. I won’t say why or how... mostly because I don’t know the why or how behind it.

Which is one reason why I’m OK with not spawning offspring. People will come to not like you (my euphemism for “hate you”). For reasons you cannot interpret.

The other consideration is raising a child in the world we live in today. Like the movie title, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in which we exist. Kids doing drugs, having sex, getting bullied, being the bully... I don’t know what in the hell I would do if I found out (perhaps simultaneously) that my kid was sexually active, smoking pot and giving a beat-down to a classmate. That’s too much for me to comprehend, much less handle.

People will say, “Oh, she’s selfish for choosing not to have kids.”

Yup! I won’t deny it.

I love my life. I love the time that I have to myself to work on ME. I love being able to travel on a whim, hit the gym, spend time with HIM (my husband, not god).

I completely recognize that I am not fit to be a parent, and if that’s selfish, well then, sign me up for the Selfish Anonymous group.

I still feel the guilt, the stares, the judgment.

And then, there’s this, in the dark depths of me... I see all these instances of young folks dying from cancer. They were taken before their time. That would be horrible, wouldn’t it? Especially if you had kids. I sometimes think that I should be afflicted with cancer or die in a tragic automobile accident because I would be replacing the statistic of someone that had offspring. But why should I think that? Why is my life less valuable because I don’t have someone to pass my belongings off to?

I actually have a comedy routine in development about those stickers you see on people’s vehicles... “Baby on Board.” So, I should be extra careful driving around you because you (potentially) have offspring in your vehicle. Yes, kids are cool. Kids should be spared of horrible life events if at all possible. But is my life less valuable than theirs?

In my twisted mind, yes.

It’s OK. If I should die before I wake... well, at least I won’t be leaving a child behind.

Do I worry that there’s not going to be anyone to look after me once I’ve hit that age of dementia and adult diapers? A bit. But not enough to breed a “caretaker.”

I am who I am: a childless woman in her 30s, who knows in her heart of hearts that she’s not the right fit for motherhood.

There’s nothing wrong with THAT.

Sylvia Anderson

Originally from Minnesota, Sylvia moved to California for the sun, sand and warm temperatures. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English and Communications, both of which she has put to good use in her work with RadioMD as Senior Editor.

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