When I was at primary school, I thought that one day marry and have a family. Then, as a teenager, I asked my mother if it was ok for me to not have children, and she said it was. Since then, I have known I don’t want them.
In my early thirties I had a boyfriend who professed to being desperate to marry me and that we must have children – even though I’d told him I didn’t want any. He said he wanted children so that he could have a mini version of me, which I found a bit creepy, and he would often bring the subject up when we were in a public place, such as a restaurant, pursuing it until I cried.
I escaped him when a friend asked me to travel the world with her. During this year I met my husband. He was based in Australia and I went back to the UK and we had a long-distance relationship for two years until I moved to be with him. On an early date he mentioned the fact that his mother had him at 20 and how lovely it had been to have such a young parent. I managed to be very vague about my attitude to children but then tried to expose him to all our friends with small children so that he could experience how much work they can be.
We had been living together for a year when residency rules changed which meant I had to return to the UK for 9 months to sort a new visa. Ironically despite being very careful with our contraception I got pregnant. Clearly, it was the wrong time to have a baby, but also for me it felt like having a parasite in my body and I couldn’t wait to get rid of it. I’ve never admitted that to anyone. My partner was relieved that I made this decision so quickly, as he certainly wasn’t ready to be a father. I had the procedure and then must have left the country very soon after as I immediately had to go to hospital in the UK for them to clear up the unfinished work. It wasn’t very nice but at no time have I ever felt as though I made a mistake.
I was initially very uncomfortable when my siblings had children, but ever since they became toddlers, I have adored them all and loved spending time with them. They are now all lovely adults.
I will be 60 this year. My husband and I have been together for 28 years and we don’t regret not having children (although he thought I’d change my mind at some point and says he would have been happy either way). I feel that my creativity has gone into my art, my sewing and my garden rather than into having children. And we have had some fabulous holidays!