I am one of the 20%—one amongst the vast number of women who did not, perhaps could not, conceive. I remember, many years ago, my husband trying to figure out how to create a baby’s room in the teeny tiny hallway of our rent-stabilized apartment in the West Village. We joked about waiting to have kids until we struck it rich. We saw friends getting pregnant in their late 30’s and early 40’s. It looked like fun. We were in no rush. It’s been 10 years now since my uterus went poof. In ways that I look forward to articulating, over time, that particular ending was my real beginning. At this point—on the other side of what would have been the reproductive years— I am and will remain childless. Or, to reframe: childfree. (We briefly considered adoption. Then quickly realized it was an option for those far more courageous than we.) I’ve been taking notes…on everything…often on my experience of being without offspring in a breeding-obsessed, child-centric culture. I lost track long ago of how many times I’ve been asked why don’t you have children, which seems to always be posed with a parenthetical what’s wrong with you. The answer is Nothing. That’s the point. Nothing is wrong with me. Or at least not any more than what might be wrong with you. Don’t make the sad face. I’m not broken. I’m not empty. Not barren. On the contrary. I believe that childless/childfree women have a special and exalted role to play. I believe there’s nobility in not having children. I would like to ennoble others who, like me, will not have children, by choice or by chance. I’m an American Baroness. Are you?
What’s your pedigree? I’d love to hear from you (whether or not you’re one of the 20%). Reach me by email firstname.lastname@example.org