When I was 7, a photograph of me holding someone’s baby told the story perfectly. Arm’s-length child being looked at with zero interest or empathy. Never liked children from that day to this.
At 25 I married an Army officer, who luckily was as disinterested as I was. We were sitting at dinner in the mess one evening and the woman next to me (what happened to proper “placement”?) said “do you have children?”. No. “When do you think you will have them”? Never. This is the clincher….. “Shame on you!”
I WISH I had had the presence of mind to tell her that, unfortunately, I couldn’t due to some dreadful disease, but I’d probably had too much to drink by then and failed to stand up for myself properly. What a bloody cheek!
I’ve recently married again – the first one lasted all of 5 years – and at 70 and 71 respectively, we took the momentous decision not to reproduce.
He has 2 adult and 3 grandchildren, who we rarely see and when there is an occasion, I am usually at a meeting or similar. The thing which he and others who’ve had children don’t understand is that, however you might want to please the parents, we childless don’t always know how to relate to them. I can’t play; I don’t know what to say, but sadly the little blighters are drawn to me like moths to a flame. What am I doing wrong?
At 21, I volunteered at Great Ormond Street. Odd, but it was something to do round the corner from my flat. I did the job perfectly well on the renal ward and was brilliant with the parents. Once again, the children loved me. Funnily, I’ve just donated a kidney to a stranger; bet it’s gone to a child…