Middle-Aged Woman Doesn’t Regret Not Having Children
And I’m a Mexican American who was raised Catholic and everything
People sometimes mention to me that they have children. I don’t respond and wait for them to get back to the topic of our Zoom. Sometimes, in person, a friend mentions that they have pictures of their kids in their Halloween costumes or on the vacation they just took. Maybe they reach for their phones and I say, “Oh, that’s okay.” Because they’re my friends they’re comfortable with my disinterest. They know Regina — in spite of being a pudgy, middle-aged, gray-haired, Mexican woman — just isn’t that into children.
But I used to be. I used to love children and babies and when I turned 30 I became fixated on how I hadn’t had any yet. I worried about finding a man and starting a family. This lasted until I took a job as a part-time nanny to a seven-week-old boy. I kept that job until he was 3 1/2 years old, caring for him three days a week, morning til night. It showed me just how much I really wanted a baby, which was: not that much.
After that, I wasn’t certain I wanted to be a mother. It still seemed like a good idea, but the nannying job seriously reduced the appeal. I remained undeclared for years, wondering about becoming a mother, but unable to commit to it. Finally in my late 30s, I realized motherhood didn’t feel like it was for me and I changed to dating only men who didn’t want kids. By age 39 I knew my decision was permanent, so I grilled the man who would become my husband, asking him repeatedly over months if he was sure he didn’t want kids.
Now I’m 55 and when I see families with young children or kids getting ready for college or women preparing for their daughter’s wedding I feel — indifference. As much as I used to enjoy children and babies, I’m grateful to not have any to worry about.
So what? Am I writing this to spread propaganda about how women should buck their “biological destiny?” No. The reason I’m writing on this subject is simply to give this message: I’m a middle-aged woman who’s glad she didn’t have kids. I’m happy not being a mother or grandmother.
It’s an important message because child-free-by-choice writing from us older women isn’t easy to find. An undeclared person can…