When I tell women that I don’t want to have children, the reactions I receive are varied. Some women are extremely supportive. Some look at me as though I am an alien creature with a third eyeball. Some express their sympathy as if I am somehow lost. Others express confusion, as though it is a choice they had no idea they could make. The truth is, early on, I didn’t know it was an option for me either.
I spent most of my early adult life living up to the expectations of others: family, friends and society in general. I came to a point, in my late twenties, that I thought I had it all. I had an education, a successful career, a husband and I owned a home and a shiny new car. I did everything I was “supposed” to do and the next logical step was to be a mom. But something in me held back.
|Lisette visiting Rio De Janeiro, Brazil|
My decision was a combination of many factors. As the child of a single mother I watched my mom struggle to the point of exhaustion and even illness. As the oldest child in my family I had a tremendous amount of responsibility early on in caring for my younger siblings. As a young wife, much of what I wanted for myself was put on hold. And so despite my skill in living up to the expectations of others, having a child was a step I just could not bring myself to take.
Do I have my doubts? Sure. At thirty six the finality of my decision wears down on me. My biological clock is ticking so loud it makes my head hurt. I wonder if I will ever truly realize my potential as a woman without giving birth to a child. I wonder if I will ever experience the pure, unconditional, joyous love that I see in the face of mothers when they look at their children.
Despite all of my doubts, I have above all made the commitment to be true to myself and live only according to my expectations. I no longer have a husband and I don’t own a home or a shiny new car. But I must say I’ve never been happier.