Suzie: “I was hassled by a mother in a cake decorating class telling me I was going to die alone”

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I got my first couple of jobs out of university thanks to maternity leave here in Canada. Right out of school, I wanted to get my career in publishing going and I got some of my bigger breaks because women would go have children and never come back. Until this started to happen, I was quite neutral about having kids. I figured I probably would some day but was not fixated on it. Then women started disappearing. Not just from work but my life. If I didn't have children and was not planning on having them soon, you were out. The ones that returned were different. Remember after Madonna had her child? She was a completely different person. People freaked out. I freaked out.

The older I got the more I saw it happen around me. Women giving up on their dreams or changing. When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I was like, no, I do not want that to happen to me. My career was stolen from me because of illness but you can not take away who I am. I do not want to change. I like me. My body has enough to deal with. Later as a spouse of someone in the military, the pressure got even more intense and I was the weirdo wife. The older I got I was considered an aberration. 

As a food enthusiast I signed up for a cake decorating class only to be hassled by a mother who was taking the class with her daughter telling me I was going to die alone. I have been many controversial things in this little life I have lived on this planet. Nothing has been more alienating than my choice not to be a mother. Thankfully there are a lot of people out there who do not care but clearly they many who take my decision not to have kids to heart as a personal rejection. The worse part is when they say I have no family. Anyone who knows me knows how close I am with my family. You do not need to have children to have a family. At least I don't. 

You can hear more about the story of me and that cake decorating class. I was so publicly humiliated. I still wish to this day I had taken my cake and thrown it in her fucking face but at the time I did not want to attack her in front of her child. It still haunts me to this day what the girl must have thought of the woman who took that abuse from her mother in that stupid cake decorating class. I have tolerated no fools since and shut it down right away. I am done being polite. –Suzie

Do you have a story about navigating the choice not to have children? Share it here.

Betty: "We all know that the Mom does the drudgery. If I could have been a Dad I might reconsider."

I grew up in an Ohio town where the norm is to marry your high school boyfriend and have kids by the time you're old enough to drink. I no longer live there. I'm a Christian, and so many in the church perceived the "be fruitful and multiply" to be a generalized command, rather than an optional blessing.

I never wanted kids. I felt called to write, to work in music and nonprofit. I am introverted, with adult ADD. If I took on the assumed calling to be a Mom, it would certainly jeopardize my confirmed calling, which is to be a writer. Because quite frankly we all know that the Mom does the drudgery. If I could have been a dad I might reconsider.

There's a Bible passage where Jesus is teaching a crowd, and a woman in the back interrupts him saying "Blessed is your Mom!" Jesus replied, "even more blessed are those who hear God's word and do it." Being a Mom is not the most important job in the world. The most important job is the one you were created for and give yourself wholeheartedly to. Am I selfish? No. I lack peers, friends, the ability to have a lasting conversation with anyone my age (38) because we share little common ground. Not creating new people has left me with few people to talk to.

I made my choice to be sterilized so that I could stay up odd hours, dive in to a songwriting binge in hopes that maybe one day someone who I'll never meet hears the song, and it's raw honestly, and feels like they aren't alone. And that stranger who I nurture from afar will not take care of me when I become elderly. –Betty

Do you have a story about navigating the choice not to have children? Share it here.

Leah: "To my friends and family, I'm not nearly as accomplished as my cousins who are congratulated for doing the same thing dumb teenagers do by mistake."

I'm 30 and childfree. I served as a Naval Officer (including going to flight school to fly tactical jets) and now I'm a federal prosecutor in NYC, but to my friends and family, I'm not nearly as accomplished as my cousins who are congratulated for doing the same thing dumb teenagers do by mistake. 

When I married my ex-husband, I told him I didn't want kids. He also thought I'd change my mind. Getting a divorce was my way of freeing him from having to spend the rest of his life resenting me and freeing me from the risk of him swapping out my birth control for baby aspirin. 

I've always known I didn't want kids. A few weeks ago, my mother asked if I thought she was a good mother. I asked why she was asking, and she said it was because of my childfree status. I told her two things about why she is such an amazing mom: (1) it was thanks to her and her mother's generation that I get to CHOOSE whether or not I have kids rather than being forced into motherhood against my will, and (2) I'm happy with my life (thanks in large part to my upbringing) and I have no desire to change that. –Leah Gould

Do you have a story about navigating the choice not to have children? Share it here.