People frequently ask me why I don't have children. It's because I'm smart. It's because I'm observant. It's because I noticed from a young age that motherhood changes women, and not for the better! I have always known that motherhood is not for me. I didn't even play with baby dolls as a child - only fashion dolls. It is a way of life that has never interested me in the slightest.
I remember having a tantrum with my mum when she insisted on dragging me to the GP for a Rubella injection when I was 11. I knew then that it wasn't needed - I was never having babies. She didn't believe me and gave me the standard grown up answer of "You'll change your mind when you get older". I'm now 43 - and I still haven't changed my mind, nor do I have any regrets or worries that I might have made the wrong decision and left it too late. I have made the right choice for me - babies are just not my thing.
I have noticed over the years that something happens to women when they have a baby. The first pregnancy is filled with excitement and joyfulness - they can't wait! Subsequent pregnancies are much more subdued and quiet. There is little fanfare in the announcement and the joyfulness isn't apparent - because they know what they are in for! The blessing of ignorance has been stripped from them and replaced with experience of the birthing chamber and the day to day toils of childcare.
I have watched motherhood turn bright, ambitious women into snazzy, resentful individuals, envious of anyone with an ounce of success or freedom. I have seen kind, compassionate women become engulfed in entitlement, expecting the world to bend over backwards for them just because they have a few kids in tow! As if!
Motherhood diminishes women and dulls their sparkle. They lose their glitter. Motherhood can derail a promising career; or render it completely out of the question, particularly if education has been forsaken in favour of getting pregnant as young as possible. When motherhood is viewed as a career choice, as it is by lots of teenage girls; or a get out of life free card when women reach a certain age and realise that they have done nothing with their life so far except drift, resentment is the result; resentment that they are shackled to the home and a school run; resentment towards their man who gets to enjoy a career and the success that goes with it; resentment of women who don't have children and who live a life of more freedom.
It seems to me that the only person a woman can really trap with the 'accidental' pregnancy plan, is herself. But she knows that an empty nest just isn't enough to keep a man coming home every night to a wife he never wanted, or has tired of. And if she can't have more children herself, she'll use the grandchildren to fill the void.
Men will take any and every opportunity to leave the house that has become a creche, whenever they can. They take on jobs that mean they work away a lot; they stay late at work for meetings; they have to play golf with the boss at weekends; they work overtime to gain promotions. And ultimately, a man is always free to walk away from the relationship and start again with someone new, possibly even having more children and a whole new family. Men are never really trapped by parenthood in the way that women are, for it is always the women who are left holding the babies.
Call me crazy, but I am not prepared to take such a high risk gamble with my life and the freedom that is so important to me. I want to be as free as any man, and the only way I can achieve that is to remain blissfully child-free. I certainly don't feel as if I am missing out on anything. My nurturing side is given over to animals and my counselling work, and my ambition has never been derailed. I generally achieve my goals, because I can commit to them fully; I am not distracted by childcare duties.
So I am content with my choice to remain child-free. What does irritate me though is the resentment I get from women with children, because I have more free time and disposable income than they might have. I can spend my money on what I want. If I want a new Chanel perfume I can buy one, with my own money, not a husbands - I don't have to wonder if the kids need new shoes first. If I want to go away alone on a nice holiday, I can do so - I don't need to organise childcare first and then worry all week! I am free to do as I please. Spending my life hiding behind a pram has never been my aspiration, but for some women, giving birth is the best way for them to avoid life, tucked far away from the working world and the responsibilities that go with it.
This doesn't go down well with some mums who seem to think that their life choice is more valid and important than mine. It isn't. The fact that they work to provide for their kids isn't more valid that the fact that I write to provide for myself. But I often get comments like "Mmm, it must be nice" Yes, it is.
I make no apologies for my life. I chose not to get married or have children because I knew it would make me feel trapped and I need to feel free. I had the sense to think ahead - I took a good long look at motherhood and I didn't like the end the result I saw, so I didn't go down that path. Which means that I don't wake up in my mid-forties wondering where my life has gone and why I haven't done anything with it! I wake up knowing that I have achieved most of my goals and I am still setting new ones that I will achieve in the future. I'm just not interested in being beamed up by the mothership.
My journey is one of freedom and fancy, of glitter and glamour. My path is artistic and creative. I have the freedom to follow my heart wherever it leads and to chase after my wildest dreams...to go where the whim takes me, because freedom is my bliss.