Yesterday was Halloween and we had three sets of trick-or-treaters come to our house. The first guy lucked out. He arrived with his witchy-dressed mother, tiny plastic pumpkin-shaped bucket in tow, and he caught us off guard. He could see me right through the front window. Ben answered the door, knowing full well we have no trick-or-treat friendly foods in the house. Awkward conversation ensued, I scrambled around the house and the only thing I could find that could pass as a Halloween treat was an intact 250g block of Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana dark chocolate that I had planned to make a chocolate brownie with, so I handed him that with a nod and a “sorry, we’re a shit flat” to his mother. She looked at me with disdain. After that I closed the curtains and took refuge upstairs. The last two sets of ghouls walked away empty-handed. Whether they toilet papered my front gate or not I did not know as I was stranded on the landing in the dark. It was my own fault – I should’ve thought ahead, living in a somewhat upper-middle-class, family-friendly area where children are bound to have adopted this American tradition, and having a boyfriend with a son in the trick-or-treating age bracket.
So how is this all relevant?
Sitting there, hiding from a bunch of tweens covered in facepaint and alone with my thoughts, a question popped into my mind: “Am I anti-children?”
Surely not. When I was 14, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be a young, cool mom. There was no choice. I needed to get a job, get married and decorate my house and have 2 little rug-rats (one named “Boston” (LOL!)) of my own, and I needed to have it all by the time I was 25. That way, I would be a young mom, I would be a cool mom. But hey, I was 14 for fucks sake, I didn’t know anything. I finished high school and I went to University and I got my first serious, serious boyfriend and we broke up and then suddenly I was that magical age of 25 and suddenly that cool mom goal wasn’t really a goal anymore. I was young and I had plenty of time! Kids – yes, but not now! No way! I held that stance for a little while but as time has progressed, for one reason or another, I have become increasingly ambivalent about doing it at all and I have noticed that this does not seem to sit well with some.
It’s funny. I am now at an age where it is incredibly common for people to have children. I mean, my own bloody boyfriend has a child! It is ‘NORMAL’ to have children – maybe even two – by now, and if you aren’t doing it or at least thinking about it and you are a woman in a hetero relationship, something is bloody wrong with you because a ‘certain clock is ticking’. But here I am, sitting in my flat, not bathing Oliver, not reading to Oliver, eating leftover pizza for dinner, loving babies but only when I can hand them back after 15 minutes, diligently taking the pill and cringing at the thought of giving birth, recoiling every time I see another of my peers announce their pregnancies on Facebook, hiding from children on Halloween.
And still people are always telling me that I will love my own child when I have it. When. As if it is just a matter of time, not choice. As if it is inevitable that I will reproduce. As if it is my purpose, my duty. As if it is wrong to consider not. “You’ll come around” they say, as if it is as simple as that, like becoming accustomed to the taste of coffee. And yeah, maybe I will. Maybe I’ll get knocked up and I’ll have a mini me and I will love it. But maybe I won’t, and you know what? Maybe I’ll love that too.