Haha it's been an interesting several weeks at my new job...
I told you how I moved to a remote, small town and everyone here seems to have a lot of kids but that I met a co-worker who is also new to town and also does not have kids. Well, I had another interesting conversation with another new co-worker this week, and this time it was her asking me THAT question. It did not go as I would've predicted... In a good way. :)
Last Wednesday I went to meet a teacher in her classroom to help her figure out some paperwork stuff for her teaching license. I had recently gone through the process myself and, knowing how much new information she had on her plate as a fellow new employee to the district, I wanted to help relieve any stress I could. So, we were going through what she needed, making lists, and just casually visiting.
Another teacher stopped by her classroom before leaving for the day. He looked extremely young. After he left, I jokingly said, "How old is he?? 12?" She laughed, said he was 24, and asked me how old I was. (It's even harder to tell ages when people are wearing masks.) I told her I was 40 and she said, "Oh good, I was afraid I was going to be the only person around my age but it turns out there's a lot of us. I'm 44."
Then she immediately asked me, "Do you have kids?"
And of course I said no.
But it was what she said next that surprised me.
She said, "Me neither," and then she went on to share more. "For a long time I didn't meet anyone I wanted to have kids with. I never married. And then I was diagnosed with MS so I decided not to have kids. I wanted them, but I don't have them."
What. The. Hell.
Where were all these women during all of the years where I was severely depressed and constantly asked if I had kids and when I said no the conversation. Just. Ended. ???
Do I put out a different energy now? I'm sure getting older is one big contributor to the shift. Whatever it all is, I gladly welcome this change. I will never forget the trip I took to Las Vegas (of all places!) where it felt like every store I went into the person working there would ask me if I had kids and it would stab me in the heart.
And now I've got women spontaneously sharing with me that they don't have kids even though they wanted them. Here and here. It's just incredible. And it's one more thing I don't take for granted.