Many moons ago (okay like 5 1/2 years), I realised for a fact that it is OKAY not to want children. I realised that I am not broken, or defective, or deficient. No matter how many people look at me and say, “how are children a CHOICE? You HAVE to procreate, it is your duty as a healthy person with decent genes!”…it’s my choice. And it is so freeing. And it is so lonely.
At 25, most of my long-time friends have children. Having children doesn’t mean that I can’t be friends with them, but it means that our lives are significantly different. In the last few years I have gone to visit friends, offered to pay for babysitters and our night out, and have been told “no”. They “need to be with the baby”. “It’s too much, too soon”. They get home from work at 1700 and go to bed at 1900; I take their car and go find somewhere to do something besides sit alone and watch television while on vacation.
This isn’t just two or three friends who I am talking about, this is almost all of my old friends with kids. It’s not their fault. Their kids come first, and I understand that fully and completely. What I don’t get is not having even a couple hours for me.
Last Thanksgiving I was supposed to go to Germany to visit a very, very good friend of mine. Her husband no longer thinks I am a good influence for her, since I let my Child Free ways be known. He told her to tell me not to come, even though that is the closest I had been to seeing her in over a year. Even though I had other places to stay and people to see. He told her to tell me that she couldn’t spare two hours to catch up during a four day weekend.
I met this girl in Korea. Catie. We were great friends for the five months we overlapped, but she’s gone now. Catie is also Child Free, and related to me in a way that so many of my friends don’t. When children aren’t your future, you are different than the people around you. You stress about different things, need different things, treasure different ideals. Catie moved to Europe a couple weeks ago, and hopefully I’ll see her next year…but now I struggle for friendship.
Moms have Moms. Who do I have? The people I grew up with, sure. So many of them are Moms now. I was speaking to one who I’ve known for 13 years (at least) and she was saying how all of her friends only see her as “the Mom”. She is one of the few Mom friends who I have who cares about me still instead of just my ovaries and lack of wanting to use them. She gets wanting a life outside of children.
I need friends in my vicinity who are like her. Even if they have kids, they see ME. They value me.
It is hard to find those friends.