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Monday, July 31, 2017

I Thought By Now People Would Stop Judging Me For Not Having Children

"You need to give him children. What are you scared of? Responsibility?" 

These are actual words said to me yesterday. By a total stranger. In the park.

It's amazing to me that people still feel entitled to lecture women about something as personal as procreation. I am 47 years old. It is 2017. Are you freakin' kidding me?

I did not set out for a walk today expecting yet another battle in the whole "Virgin/Mother/Whore" war. It was a nice day. People were out and about, walking dogs and strollers, riding bikes and generally participating in the pastimes that make up a sunny Sunday in the city. I took a walk with my sketchbook. I got a kale smoothie and stopped on a park bench.

Before long, a man sat nearby. He told me he was from Morocco, he'd just moved to the neighborhood. We made the usual kind of chit chat, until the subject of kids came up somehow. No, I answered. No, my husband and I don't have children. That's when the interrogation kicked into high gear.

Why not? CAN you have them? Well then why don't you have children? What about your husband? You need to give him children! What are you scared of? Responsibility? 

Why not? Because I don't want children.

CAN I have them? I don't know. There was never any medical reason to find out.

Why don't I have them? It's not the life for me. I'm not cut out for it.

What about your husband? He does not want children either.

You need to give him children! There is no such rule. We don't want children.

What are you scared of?  I'm not scared of anything.

Responsibility? Okay, that's just about enough. Actually it was enough five minutes ago. People think it's okay to just outright demand personal information such as "Can you have children?" That's amazing. And the social contract still allows the thing where women get instantly judged as failures unless they've become mothers? That's all I'm here to do, "give" a man children? Still? Yes, sir, sure, why not. I'm a failure. My womb remains barren, my life therefore meaningless.

Come to find out that he has three children by two different ex-wives. They live in New York and West Virginia. He never sees them. He isn't in their lives at all. Please, by all means, tell me more about responsibility.

It's amazing to me that people still feel entitled to lecture women about something as personal as procreation. I am 47 years old. It is 2017.⧫

The Mommy Problem ("I Hate Jake's Turn")