Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Wot, no kids?
Nobody ever asks me why I don't have children, nobody ever gives any hint that it was an odd decision, but nonetheless I always feel slightly unusual, a bit of a maverick, a bit of a rebel.
I suppose it doesn't help that there are two schools close to our home, and twice a day dozens of children pour in and out of their parents' cars, the parents obviously doting on their little offspring and watching them protectively.
It also doesn't help that any woman who gets pregnant is promptly congratulated by all and sundry, everyone admires the gradually swelling belly, and when the baby finally appears, yet more congratulations are offered.
Unfortunately all the fervent enthusiasm and showers of baby-gifts, however natural they may seem, inevitably give the message that having a baby is much more impressive than not having one.
I can justify my child-free decision by pointing out how much extra cash I've had and how much that's improved my quality of life, but somehow that just makes me sound a little selfish and smug, as if other people's sacrifices for the sake of their children are worthless.
In fact being "selfish", not replenishing the human race but thinking only of our own pleasure, is what childless couples are often accused of. If I suggest that maybe the anticipated joy and reward of having children is itself a somewhat "selfish" desire, the reaction will be frosty to say the least.
I've never felt that I've missed out by not having the patter of tiny feet around the place. But it still seems a bit like the exception that proves the rule.