She did not let up, literally nagging me until I said it was really none of her business and that I could not have children. She added: “You could adopt”. All I did was walk away from her and her haircut. I did not want to see her again, nor could I handle hearing another word out of her mouth. After, my student commended me on how pleasantly I behaved and how well I handled the “situation”. The fact is, it was not the first time or the last that someone “shamed” me for not having or wanting children. The mentioned story took place in my mid to late ’30s however it has taken place in many forms over the years. Now, in my 50’s, people often ask if I have children. When I say no, there is often a look of sadness or pity. Sometimes I am asked “How many children do you have?” or “How old are your children?” This can be an awkward exchange between people who are having small talk while getting to know each other. 28
Asking someone without children “Why?” is not a great idea. When people ask me why I did not have children, unless I know them very well and consider them a friend, I will often make something up or say whatever comes to mind at the time which may not even be the reason. The question can leave someone feeling vulnerable and at times uncomfortable. Do not do it. I am not writing this because I am hurting over not having children. It is a fact, I never wanted children, nor am I a fan of babies. I have always related to youth and young adults better. Getting to know my nieces and nephews is wonderful at any age, but I feel I have more to offer as an Aunty when they are older. I often tell my clients the world has enough people to go goo goo for babies. I will be there when they are children or young adults. When they need someone to talk to or for a shoulder to cry on that is not the parent’s but trustworthy I will be happy to be there. Not everyone who roams alone 29
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