This is a photo of me in the 80s. I was still married then and, at this point, we'd been told there wasn't a lot of chance of me conceiving. No real reason was given. You always remain hopeful, however. Our animals meant the world to us, as is the case today.
Here I am with dear Boots, one of our cats, and the most glorious, handsome, charismatic springer spaniel of ours called Ben.
I would say we were all very happy in those days.
You find ways, don't you?
I said I wouldn't but I am - going to tell you...
The following is a selection of some of the things that were said to us, as a young, married couple without children.
To me (supposedly out of earshot but deliberately not): 'She doesn't want to spoil her figure'. (I worked out and kept fit, so was in pretty good shape, in those years. Silly me…)
To us: 'Didn't you ever want kids, then?'
To us: 'Why haven't you got kids?'
To him: 'You should let me have a go. Ha, ha…'. (Yes that was said…)
To me: 'I bet your mother's disappointed she's got no grandkids?'
To me, glaring at me: 'Your mother is really upset she's got no grandchildren'.
I don't think there was one person (apart from my ex hubbie's wonderful sisters) who offered support and sympathy. Embarrassment ensued.
One final insult came recently from a certain well known institution. All I'm going to say is it was insidiously implied there might be a problem around the 'kiddie' subject? The word wasn't used but whispering had been bandied. When I said we didn't have children because we couldn't, there was a relieved intake of breath. 'Aah - you couldn't have children'. What were they implying? We didn't have kids because one or both of us were in the local paedo gang? Local authorities had taken them away? Forcibly aborted them? Castrated us?
I will categorically state that neither of us or anyone we knew/know were/are in a local paedo gang. Honestly…what has happened to society?
Anyway, that happened, covertly but overtly if you understand, so difficult to take any action. I had to ignore it and pretend it didn't happen.
You see, I had become a non-human. I didn’t count. I don't have a family.
If you're not careful, what happens is this - you begin to join in with the general consensus - you don’t count. You start to believe it yourself. You don't count…
If you don't have a family or children you run the risk of being considered odd. I don't believe society has become more accepting of this. Society has isolated us more, in my opinion.
This is why I want to get out there and start to feedback the various reactions from others, be it customer service, or general public. As we go about our daily lives, once more.
Being childless does not make anyone a non human or a lesser being. Far from it.
Neither are we selfish because we have no family.
Not having children can make people more altruistic sometimes. Their focus is not solely on child.
This is simply my opinion. It may not be yours so do tell...
When the feedback is good, we need to discuss because it could hold significance as to what you did, or the other person (s) did to make it a good incident. Let's hope we have more of them….