WE ARE CHILDFREE

No doubts, with journalist Sarah Chebaro

People wonder what childfree women do with our free time. For this journalist, a better question would be, “what doesn’t she do?”

Episode 8

Sarah Chebaro has already done a lot with her life! An avid traveller, Sarah was born in Kuwait, and has lived in England, Spain and the Netherlands. Having trained as an architect, Sarah’s now switched careers to journalism, driven by a desire to tackle sensitive subjects and speak the truth. Sarah attributes her energy to her ADHD diagnosis, and she’s aware that she couldn’t have done half the things she has, if she’d had children to look after. We get into different cultures’ expectations for women, accepting that you’ll never fit in, and what it’s like to have a super-supportive mother who tells you things like, “If you have any doubts, that’s really a ‘no’.”

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Transcript

Sarah: Yeah, my mom is amazing with that. And that’s why she always – she even told me and my sister when we were younger, “Look, if you really have the power and the will to sacrifice a lot in your life, sure, have them, be my guest, enjoy them. But if you think you can’t, and if any doubts – if you have any doubts, that’s really a no. Doubt is a big no”. You can tell with a lot of people, if you ask them, like some people who don’t have kids, the girls, they go, “Hey, do you want children?” And you can see their face, like straight away, and they go, “I don’t know, maybe? I guess, I guess so, yeah”. And the minute they start with the “I don’t know”, and then “maybe” and then “I guess, yes”, that’s really like a sign where, “Are you sure you really them? Do you want to make that choice right now?” Yeah, doubt is the one thing – for me, if I doubt something, it’s always a no, I always know that. It’s a no, it’s never a yes.

Zoë: Welcome to We are Childfree, a podcast that celebrates childfree lives. I’m your host, Zoë, and each episode I’ll speak with another incredible guest about their decision not to have children, and what it’s meant for their life. People wonder what childfree women do with our spare time. For journalist Sarah Chebaro, a better question would be, “what doesn’t she do?”! Sarah loves to travel and has lived in a bunch of different places. Born in Kuwait to a Romanian mum and Lebanese dad, she has since made her home in England, Spain, and now the Netherlands. Her father put little Sarah in the gym at age 9, and she’s kept active doing rugby, martial arts, weightlifting and CrossFit. Having trained as an architect, Sarah’s now switched careers to journalism, driven by a desire to tackle sensitive subjects and speak the truth. So we had a lot to talk about! Sarah attributes her energy to her ADHD diagnosis, and she’s aware that she couldn’t have done half the things she has if she had a child to look after. We get into different cultures’ expectations for women, accepting that you’ll never fit in, and what it’s like to have a super-supportive mother who tells you things like, “If you have any doubts, that’s really a ‘no’.” This was such a fun chat! Enjoy my conversation with Sarah Chebaro, who starts by telling me just how young she was when she knew that she didn’t want children…

Sarah: At the age of 12.

Zoë: Okay, so it was that early?

Sarah: Yes. Yeah.

Zoë: So can you, can you remember the moment?

Sarah: Oh, I can actually remember. It was really funny, actually. I believe it was an English class or, I don’t know, math class, one of those two. And a couple of my friends, girls, were talking about how they can’t wait to have babies and be pregnant. So I was standing there staring at them going, “What is going on?” You know, I don’t even think about that in any way or form. And I realised since then, I don’t really want that at all. I just can’t picture myself. They all have maternal instincts, and at such a young age, obviously hitting puberty. And in the Middle East – that’s where I was brought up – the ladies, girls, basically start puberty between ages nine and 12.

Zoë: Oh, wow.

Sarah: Yeah. Very early. It’s because of the atmosphere. It’s a really hot country, it’s a desert. So you know, like the hormones actually start up early. And I was a late bloomer, pretty much. I was always late with everything. Yeah, I was just like, age 13, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, finally, puberty”. And yeah, everything has been late for me, anyway.

Zoë: So when you kind of made that realisation, then, did you tell people?

Sarah: Oh, yeah. Yeah. And they just, I was just an obnoxious teenager who didn’t know what she was talking about. Pretty much.

Zoë: Oh, okay. I mean, yeah, I guess because people don’t think that maybe kids can have such a will, make such a strong decision. But, you know, the more women I talk to, there’s actually a huge amount of women who know from an early age, and I think I kind of always felt similar to you. Like, I never ever thought about wanting kids or could see them in my life ever. Whereas you kind of know when other people are talking about their dream life, you know, with five kids and all of that.

Sarah: Yeah.

Zoë: So did you then tell it to your family as well? How did they kind of take this news?

Sarah: Yeah, I told them, and they said, “Oh, you’re gonna grow up and you’re gonna think differently”. But then around the age of 18-19, my mom kind of looked at me and said, “Yeah, you’re not changing your mind, are you?” I’m like, “No, it’s not happening”. And yeah, since then, she goes, “You know what, well do whatever makes you happy”. Pretty much. So yeah. I’m 35. So she’s like, “Still?” I’m like, “Yeah, still” – she just likes to joke about it.

Zoë: “Still thinking the same way, yeah”.

Sarah: I’m also quite stubborn as well. And I don’t, I don’t like putting other people’s ideas into my head. So I can ponder about it, I can think about it. And I’ve had moments where I thought I wanted it, but it wasn’t me who was wanting it. It was the people around me wanting it so they started almost placing their dreams and their like visions into my brain. And that’s when I was freaking out. I’m like, “Yeah, this is not right. It doesn’t feel right”.

Zoë: Yes. So who were those people then?

Sarah: Past relationships.

Zoë: So then, this is, I guess, something that every person kind of decides – do they tell the person that they’re dating immediately? Or, you know, do you kind of wait and see how it develops? But were you? Were you kind of not so, like, telling that person immediately, “I definitely don’t want kids” or was it something that changed over time?

Sarah: Oh, it’s something I say straight away from the first time I meet them, actually.

Zoë: Okay.

Sarah: Yeah, I don’t want to waste my time or waste their time.

Zoë: But did they still try and make you change?

Sarah: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Zoë: Okay.

Sarah: They tried, and it never worked. And yeah, I guess the only time when I had a moment where I’m like, “I really want this, blah, blah, blah. I’ll do it for you”. And that’s when I realised, “Yeah, I just said, ‘I’ll do it for you’ and not thinking about, do I really want this myself?”

Zoë: Right. And so are you in a relationship, now?

Sarah: I am actually

Zoë: Okay. And this person also doesn’t want children or?

Sarah: It’s more like, well, not that he doesn’t want it or anything. It’s more about the fact that as long as he’s happy, and I’m happy, and he doesn’t want to impose anything, like, on the idea or anything, so he was like, “Yeah, we’ll see what happens”, kind of thing. I’m like, “Yeah, well, you know, what happens is it’s not gonna happen”. He’s okay with it. He’s fine with it.

Zoë: Well, that’s cool. That’s great. Yeah, I think because that’s the thing, like when a relationship has like one person who wants that one person who doesn’t I just don’t know whether, can they really be happy? You know, when you have a kid when one of you doesn’t want it? I just don’t think that is possible. Right?

Sarah: Yeah. I don’t believe it can happen to be fairly honest. I mean, you can’t change someone’s mind sometimes. And even if you have it, I don’t think the person is going to be super happy with their decision. Because deep in their heart, they really don’t want it.

Zoë: No, and especially the woman who doesn’t want it, I mean

Sarah: That’s the worst.

Zoë: Yeah, because, ultimately, we’re the ones who would be doing most of the childcare. And, you know, it kind of falls on the woman to look after the child. So really, if you’re not 100% in it, then I don’t see how that person would ever be happy with that, you know, yeah. But yeah, I think a lot of couples, they face that kind of struggle, like, I know a few friends who, maybe one of the partners wasn’t so into it, but yeah, kind of try and persuade themselves that they’ll be okay with it. And, yeah, obviously, no person would admit that they regretted that decision, maybe. But yeah, it would be interesting if they were really honest with themselves, and do they change their mind? Can you change your mind? I’m not sure.

Sarah: Um, I know, someone who actually says, If I ever had to do this again, I won’t. And she has two kids.

Zoë: Okay. Yeah. Well, I think, like, it should be completely fine, to be honest. Right?

Sarah: Yeah.

Zoë: Because, you know, if we are secretive, about the reality of having kids, then it just means that more women go into it, and maybe regret that decision. So I really, I’m really happy that there are women out there who can be honest. And you know, and help other women make that decision for themselves.

Sarah: Yeah.

Zoë: So do you know how she faced any backlash with being that open, or is she only telling you as a close friend?

Sarah: I think she only tells me as a close friend. She’s actually my yoga teacher when I did yoga, and I had a really good connection with her at the moment. I don’t do yoga anymore, but when I do bump into her, we talk and everything. So it’s really nice. But yeah, she doesn’t tell anyone else. I think she lives in a society where I guess saying that is not the nicest thing to do. You know, but she loves her kids. She adores her kids. But she says like, “Yeah, I just wanted to travel more with my life. I think I had kids too young. And it’s so much responsibility that I don’t know if I really wanted from the start”.

Zoë: And I mean, that’s the thing with you and your life without kids. I mean, you can – you love traveling, and you have traveled the world pretty much. This is like one of those amazing, you know, positives of not having kids – you don’t have that responsibility. So, obviously, that has impacted your life greatly, right?

Sarah: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Zoë: And I mean, living in all of these different places, have you noticed how different countries treat women who don’t want kids?

Sarah: Um, it’s pretty much the same, to be fairly honest. I mean, you get those people who judge you straight away, at least in the Middle East, they judge you a lot. Over there, having a family, being a woman and having kids, is super important as part of the culture. And at the moment in Romania, it’s also quite similar but the women don’t want kids anymore and the government is actually giving them extra money to pop out children because the population is decreasing, and my generation doesn’t really want it, or the younger generation as well. So it’s a bit of a problem right there at the moment.

Zoë: I mean, that’s the thing. The birth rate is decreasing everywhere, it seems. And, I mean, you can’t really blame women because I think, looking at the way the world is right now, you know, with the environment, finding work, and then you see that women have to juggle so much as well, when they do have kids that they still don’t have a quality in their jobs and careers. And so it kind of, yeah, it doesn’t surprise me that the birth rate is falling.

Sarah: Yeah.

Zoë: But it’s interesting that governments are kind of being forced to give money over to women – I’d be interested to know, you know, is that really helping people kind of go like, “Okay, give me the money, I’m gonna pop the kids out”?

Sarah: I don’t think so. I mean, I haven’t heard anything, I haven’t read into it lately. So I’m not sure how that’s going. But by the looks of it, I don’t really think it’s working, to be honest. And I think it’s more the fact that a lot of women – this is how I look at it – a lot of women who don’t want kids, they have a lot of other visions in their life and goals that they want to accomplish. And they realise that having a child is going to require even extra work on top of that. So they would think, “Well, do I want to sacrifice that? Do I want to work harder? Or can I just put the effort that I can into doing one thing, rather than doing too many things?” We multitask for sure. But having a kid is a whole new different level of it, I think.

Zoë: Oh, yes. I mean, I don’t know if you have friends who have kids. When I look at how hard it is, sometimes I feel for them, because I want my friends to be able to do the things that they want to do and do in their jobs and travel and all of this. And then you know, they have kids, and yeah, they love their children, but you see really how hard it is. What about you, do what have friends –

Sarah: mostly all of them, actually, but I don’t really talk to them that much. My best friend is in the States, and she has a kid, I think it’s almost two years old now. And she’s happy. She always wanted children. But really I don’t know if he’s the kind of person that’s going to really talk about deep in her heart that if she’s happy, I’m sure she is. And that kid is adorable. But I don’t know, deep in her heart, what she’s really feeling to be honest – I don’t think she’s even gonna talk about it ever. She comes from a background where her parents are super-religious, Muslim, as well. So it’s like, I don’t know if she’s that kind of type that will talk about it.

Zoë: Yeah, there’s so much pressure on young women who are in these countries or, you know, being part of religions where they have to have kids and love it. And if they said anything negative about it, obviously, there would be a huge backlash. I mean, coming from the Middle East, do you know of women who are so open? Like, I would have imagined you are a rarity to be so open in a country like that about not wanting kids? Or do you think your generation is being just more honest about it?

Sarah: I think my generation is being more honest about it –

Zoë: Right,

Sarah: – in my opinion. And it’s also because I come from two different cultural backgrounds. And my parents actually also allowed me to really explore what I want in life and what I want to do. So I’m super grateful that they gave me the opportunity to do that. So I think it’s also, I could afford my own personality without having anyone have any impact on me to change or to be different. No, so I’m very different everywhere I go, to be perfectly honest. It’s not only the Middle East, I really find. I can’t say I have a home, in essence, because to me everywhere I go turns into a home in a way. But I don’t really always fit in completely. And I’m never going to fit in and I’ve kind of accepted that. I always have my moments and I have a complete identity crisis of who I am and what I want and everything.

Zoë: Don’t we all?

Sarah: Yeah, same, but I’ve accepted that and I kind of look at it as part of who I am. And it makes me who I am.

Zoë: Absolutely. I mean, and you’re doing so much as well. So you’re changing your career. And you know, you’re living in so many different places. I mean, to me, that sounds like a much more interesting way of living than being, you know, kind of trapped in one place, one home, one job. I saw the positives of not having kids in that you can explore who you are, what you want to do, and you’re living that life.

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah.

Zoë: So why journalism then? Why were you wanting to go into this kind of world?

Sarah: Um, basically, I’m tired of lies, to be honest. And I don’t want to be that journalist that goes after the money all the time. I want to be the journalist that speaks the truth. So I really want to do investigative journalism, and eventually I want to have my own little editorial that tackles topics that people are super-scared to talk about openly. So for example, even having children, not having children, or rape or war, or things that people have experienced, but they feel judged to talk about. So I want to actually dive into those subjects and a lot of them are super difficult. But I’m willing to take the plunge, to be honest.

Zoë: That sounds amazing. Yeah, I mean, that sounds incredible. Like the way the media is run at the minute, it’s hard to know what, who you believe. And we kind of get like a really sanitized version as well, we don’t get the facts a lot of the time. It feels like having more articles or more sites out there that you can really delve deeper into subjects would be awesome.

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah.

Zoë: So then you have your family has been really supportive, which is great. Do you have any siblings? Or is it just you?

Sarah: I do have a younger sister actually, she’s 31 years old. And she lives in Texas, in Houston. And she’s married. But she doesn’t want kids either.

Zoë: It’s always interesting, isn’t it? So does she give the reason about why she doesn’t want them?

Sarah: Yeah, she’s a super logical, scientific person. So to her it’s about overpopulation and the future of the child. And she doesn’t really want all the responsibility with it as well. I mean, she’s good with kids, and she doesn’t hate them or anything, but she just feels like, it’s not really the time and the generation to have it. And she doesn’t think it ever will be.

Zoë: Yeah, it’s interesting. My sister, she has a kid and she always wanted them. And I met another woman a couple of weeks ago, who her and her sister don’t want kids as well. And it’s interesting to me, whether it’s like, your upbringing that makes you think like this, whether it’s your genes or whatever. But I think what I am realizing, and when I’m talking to so many different women, there is no one rule for women. There are so many different ways we are brought up, and so many different backgrounds. And you know, when people talk about childfree women, it’s like they just put us into one box, right? It’s like, we all hate kids, or we all just love our jobs. And it’s so different to that, we are so varied. So it’s, yeah, it’s also been interesting to me the reasons why women decide not to have kids. So your mom is, she doesn’t kind of pressure you about the grandkids, or is she finally kind of accepting?

Sarah: She always jokes around, “If you girls ever decide to have kids, don’t expect me to take care of them!”

Zoë: But that’s how you want it. You might change your mind if she’s like, “I’ll do all of the looking after”.

Sarah: Yeah, she doesn’t want that. Technically, my mom never wanted kids either. But she had reasons for having them. And it makes kind of sense to me. But she actually didn’t like kids, and she had to work with them. She’s a dentist. And when she was doing her university, she said that she avoided any class that had to do with

Zoë: Wow, so yeah, I mean, how was she as a mom then?

Sarah: She’s amazing.

Zoë: That’s awesome.

Sarah: She still is amazing. Yeah, she’s fantastic. And she still works with kids because she’s actually a dentist for children. So she has to deal with him every day. And she’s like, “I still hate them”.

Zoë: Oh, I don’t blame her. I think that would be a tough job, definitely.

Sarah: It is. Yeah, it is.

Zoë: But I mean, incredible that she deals with them. And I mean, that’s the thing. It’s like, just because we don’t want kids doesn’t mean we can’t interact with children or we can’t, you know, love children. Or it’s like, we don’t all just hate kids.

Sarah: Yeah, I get anxious around them to be fairly honest. I get super anxious because I don’t know how to deal with them. And they love me. They absolutely adore me and I’m like, “What’s wrong with you?” Like how I look at them funny and I start communicating as if I’m having issues, so I’m like, why do you still run to me and hold my hand and hug me as just awkwardly sit there and I look at them.

Zoë: Are they like cats where cats will go to the person who’s most scared of them?

Sarah: Yeah, yeah.

Zoë: I think it kind of makes sense to me. It’s like, there’s obviously an honesty to children that they just don’t know any different. There’s no social cues for them. They’re just totally being who they are in that moment. So they’re not even sensing that you might be like freaked out or anxious about them.

Sarah: Yeah, they have no idea. They have no perception.

Zoë: You’re just like sweating profusely. Why do you think that is? Is it just because they are quite loud and quite demanding?

Sarah: Even when they’re quiet, I still get anxious. I just remember one incident when it was funny and sweet. At the same time I was waiting for my then partner to finish with some hairdressing cuts or something – we were at the hairdressers for him. And this child came up to me and started giving me like ripped-off flowers, like petals. And I just, I just kind of looked at her and I’m like, “What does she want?” and I just put my hand out, and she gave me these flowers. And my partner back then he was looking at me smiling, laughing. He’s like, “Communicate”. I’m like, “What will I say?”

Zoë: “I don’t know how to deal with this, it’s very random”

Sarah: Pretty much. It happens all the time. So I tend to avoid them. Now, if they’re in a friendly place or around me, I’m gonna be like “Okay, I’m gonna deal with this, because I have no choice”. But if I have a choice, I will be like, “No, this is not happening right now. I’m not dealing with this – goodbye”.

Zoë: Yeah, you just have to kind of, we’ve got a dog and kids are always kind of running up to the dog. And they’re like, “Can I stroke the dog?” And so I feel like I’m very good at handling kids when it comes to my dog and how to make them interact. But yeah, when it’s a random kind of thing like that, I wouldn’t have a clue either. So then, do you have any thoughts about why there is a stigma attached to women who don’t have children? Or don’t want children?

Sarah: Yeah, I believe it’s, I guess, kind of this vision that everyone has about women and children, They believe that, well, you’re here on Earth, to have kids, you have the biological system for it. So basically, you have to do this. So the minute that they go against that is the minute that it’s unnatural. “How can you be built with a system in you to pop out a child, but you don’t want to? What is wrong with you?” You know, like, they automatically label it as something’s wrong or you’re broken, in that sense? That’s how I see it.

Zoë: Yeah, I mean, do you think it’s changing? Or do you think it’s getting better? This kind of stigma around women who don’t have kids, or not?

Sarah: Um, mmm, it’s a 50/50, to be honest. I think it depends where you go, who you talk to, and the environment around the women in that particular area?

Zoë: And so what about the Netherlands? How are they? You know, because they’re quite, it’s all about equality, and, you know, quote pro-feminist And so yeah, it feels like it’s easier to be a childfree women there, perhaps.

Sarah: Yeah, it is and it isn’t. It’s, like I said, a 50/50. Even here, because the women do kind of search for the man and have a kid and have the house. And it’s like a very normal thing there to have this kind of process, you know, marriage, kids, university, whatever. And then there are the other women who actually are completely the opposite, kind of like me where I want the career. And I want to like enjoy my life. And there’s also over here is a huge thing where they have a partner, but it’s called “living together apart”. So they’re together, but they both have different houses, so they visit each other. Yeah, it’s something that’s in the Netherlands, and I believe in England, and I think it’s also in Canada. I’m not sure, in the States as well. So it’s interesting that there’s two different extremes of people over here.

Zoë: Yeah, I mean, I’m trying to imagine that. I don’t know if I lived in another house to my partner. So if I had the kid, would I be, I’d have the child in my home, and then my partner would be popping over?

Sarah: I guess it’s like, “Hey, let’s go for your house this week. And we can have a good time”. I guess it’s a change of environment, when you go to never get bored.

Zoë: I guess you’ve got to have good salaries there to buy two houses or have two houses. So

Sarah: Yeah, yeah, some of them do. Some of them are super lucky. I mean, I have my own place as well. And I go there, and I stay with my partner at the same time. So, you know, it’s for me, it’s more about I need a plan B. Always have a plan B!

Zoë: Yeah. Well, that’s not a bad idea at all, I think. So then, because of obviously, you know, corona – traveling has really been put to a halt. I mean, have you got plans for next year for more travels, if you’re able to?

Sarah: Yes, I do. Actually, I told myself, I want to take three months away and go to some islands. Something I’ve learned something about myself during the corona times is I’m a huge hermit. For a person who’s studying journalism and who’s a designer, I’m a hermit, I love being alone. I love doing things alone. And I realised this more and more these days, I’m quite content. But what’s happening at the moment, I think, I look at it a different way – more in the sense of time to like, save some money or not spend the money that I don’t have, time to look after myself, find out more about who. I mean, I would have never thought I would be great at journalism if I didn’t leave home the whole time. You know, kind of stuck, like okay, what am I going to do now with my time? I’m going to write – why not?

Zoë: That’s amazing. I think we have to try and find the positive in this surreal moment in time, right? And be able to focus, on your career or changing things up, I mean that’s another positive. I do feel bad for people who have kids and who are shut in their homes, and maybe they’re trying to do their job and look after children as well. I can’t even imagine how difficult that is. And yeah, so not having that, it’s an amazing positive that you’re able to explore, where you want to go in life. Which is god, yeah, the best thing ever. So yeah, do you have any ideas where you go for the three months?

Sarah: Yeah, South America somewhere?

Zoë: Nice. Yes, that would be amazing. Good weather, good food.

Sarah: Exactly.

Zoë: Oh, we’ve got to keep everything crossed that we can actually get out of the country and travel more. That would be amazing.

Sarah: Yeah.

Zoë: So then tell me – I mean, you’ve kind of told me about the travel stuff, which is an awesome positive. Is that any other positive to not having children in your life?

Sarah: Yeah, I guess I can think more about myself – a little bit selfish in a way. But I learn more about myself, if I’m not thinking about others. And this, I look at it as a positive, because you grow. And I feel like if I was to have a kid, everything will be about them. And I won’t be able to find out more about who I am without a child. It’s always going to be about the child. And I believe that it can be healthy and unhealthy at the same time.

Zoë: Absolutely. Yes.

Sarah: So that’s also a second reason why I am happy without them. Because I can think about who I am what I want, I wouldn’t have been able to think, oh, maybe journalism is my path if I had a kid, because I’d have to think about the kid the whole time.

Zoë: Totally. Yeah. I mean, there’s not much else – there’s not much time to do anything else when you have a child. Yeah, you can see that with friends. And you know, it’s a juggling act for sure.

Sarah: It really is. I wouldn’t be able to handle it to be fairly honest.

Zoë: Yeah, no, it must be a stressful time for sure. Is there anything else, that you wanted to talk about? That we haven’t covered?

Sarah: Yeah. I think the fact that some women don’t have that maternal instinct is also a huge factor that plays –

Zoë: Yes.

Sarah: – within the whole choosing. I believe that some women really don’t have that, that feeling, that wanting, that need, to have a child. And I think a lot of people don’t understand that, in my opinion, when you tell them I don’t have the need. I don’t have that, that ticking clock that everyone talks about. I never had it and I don’t think I’m ever gonna have it.

Zoë: Yeah, I had a friend who was asking me about this project. And she was saying, so you know, “Why don’t you want children?”, and it basically came down to “I just never, ever had the desire to want kids in my life”. And I could tell she was looking at me, like an alien. Like, I think she wanted me to give us some really, you know, big reason – I don’t know, you know, climate change, or overpopulation, or whatever. But I think it was so much more confusing, the fact that I just had no desire at all to have children in my life. Which is, I don’t really get it. I mean, it’s like, well some women really have that desire. So it makes sense to me, some women don’t have that desire – we’re not all the same. You know, we all have completely different DNA. So it makes sense to me that there’s a whole spectrum. And obviously, we’ve just had so many women have had kids, because that is what they’re told their role in this world is right? But we don’t know how many of the women who’ve had kids genuinely, genuinely wanted them, or didn’t want them. Because the pressure on women in the past has been so great to have kids.

Sarah: Yeah.

Zoë: Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. I feel like we’re in such a privileged space right now. Like we can decide whether we actually do want this in our life. And I mean, like your mum, if she could maybe go back again, like if she could have, maybe she wouldn’t have. And my mum is the same. She told me, you know, she loves me and my sister, but you know, if she could do it again, she’s not sure – because it was so much hard work. And I totally appreciate that level of honesty, you know? But yeah, like thinking about all the women who’ve just been pushed into this. And I mean, it’s amazing, that like your mom and mine, they were great. Like they are great mums as well. And it’s like, just because they didn’t want it, they kind of had to push their needs and wants away to look after their children, which is like the biggest sacrifice ever.

Sarah: Yeah, it really is.

Zoë: I just like to think, “What could they have done with their lives differently if they didn’t have that responsibility of having kids?” Did your mum work as well?

Sarah: Oh, yeah, she worked. She worked. And she raised us. She was working in the morning, as a dentist, so she would wake up at six in the morning and go – she worked at schools. So over there, the system in the Middle East was, every school, like the government school, had a dentist that looks after all the kids’ teeth within the school. So every year she would change from school to school to look after the teeth of the kids. So she was there from six in the morning until I believe one in the afternoon. So she was there working hard.

Zoë: Yeah. I mean, that’s it like women who have kids, they are juggling masters, right? I mean, having to do their jobs and look after kids. It’s mind-blowing.

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. My mom is amazing with that. And that’s why she always – she even told me and my sister when we were younger, “Look, if you really have the power and the will to sacrifice a lot in your life, sure, have them, be my guest, enjoy them. But if you think you can’t, and if any doubt if you have any doubts, that’s really a no. Doubt is a big no”.

Zoë: Absolutely. Yeah, no one who ever has the doubt in their head should do it, I don’t think. It’s too big a risk, right? Because then you might feel regret for the decision. And a child might be brought into the world who feels that, you know, who sees that? And that’s horrible.

Sarah: Yeah. And you can tell with a lot of people if you ask them, like some people who don’t have kids, the girls that go, “Hey, do you want children?” And you can see their face, like straight away, and they go, “I don’t know, maybe? I guess, I guess so, yeah”. And the minute they start with the “I don’t know”, and then “maybe” and then “I guess, yes”, that’s really like a sign where, “Are you sure you really want to make that choice right now?” Like, it just yeah, doubt is the one thing for me – if I doubt something, it’s always a no, I always know that. It’s a no, it’s never a yes.

Zoë: Absolutely. I’m the same. Absolutely. And I have, you know, a couple of friends who are – I mean, I’m like 38 now, so I have friends who are in my age range. And they are, they’re kind of realising that if they’re going to have kids, they need to do it now. And a few of them are on the fence. They don’t know whether they actually want it, but they’re so worried that they will regret not doing it. And in my head, I would be like, “No, you don’t do this”. Because if you’re not sure you want to have this in your life, I just don’t know where they’re going to fully, fully be loving every second of it. Right?

Sarah: Yeah.

Zoë: But I can’t say anything. I mean, you know, ultimately, I would want to say, “Don’t do it”. But I get why people do it. Because the fear of regret is big. And people think, you know, they’ll get to later on in their life and have this big regret. Whereas I think I know if I had them, I think I’d have an even bigger regret.

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah, same. Exactly the same. I also believe in adoption. So if I ever wake up one day, and I go, “I want a child”, I’ll just adopt.

Zoë: Yes. Yeah, totally. Yes, exactly.

Sarah: So it’s like, “What’s wrong with adoption?” Oh, I’m sorry. It’s not your skin and bones and blood. Well, that sucks. But it’s love and I think at the end if you really want something and you want a kid, loving it, whether it’s yours or not, is what really matters then.

Zoë: For sure. Yeah but it’s it’s this thing, isn’t it? People kind of, they need like a little version of themselves. Which I never I never understood that either. And I guess some people they really just have that drive to, I don’t know, leave behind something that’s them. And I never ever cared about anything like that. What about you?

Sarah: I would be scared if there’s another version of myself! I don’t think I can handle –

Zoë: A mini-little Sarah running around.

Sarah: Oh, no. I can barely handle myself. And if there’s a mini-me running around, it’s like, I don’t know, just chaos.

Zoë: Oh, yeah. Better to not do it then. Thank you so much, Sarah, for this amazing chat.

Sarah: You’re welcome. It’s been amazing. Thank you so much for your time, as well.

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