never married, over forty, a little bitter

piece by piece

Packing up has been making me feel as if my lifestyle isn’t much different than it was at 22, and I’ve been reflecting again on whether I’m really a “grown-up.” Then I stumbled on this:

Awhile ago, I met the write Molly Peacock and began, by chance, to talk to her about a piece I was trying to work out about being childless and how hard it was to a) reconcile that fact, in a world where motherhood is revered, and b) how silent the process is because there’s so little written on it, and it’s rarely discussed. What I didn’t know was that she had written an entire book on her choice to be child-free and how it had defined her life.

I devoured Paradise Piece by Piece and, though my childlessness has happened more from circumstance than choice – it would never be my choice – I still related to a great deal of what she wrote. That’s because to be a “non-mom” is still fairly undefined and misunderstood.

I guess that one will be another book I’ll have to get around to reading once I’m settled:

How do you grow up if you don’t have children? How do you remake the original love—mother love—into a mature love? Becoming a parent provokes this conversion, but the transformation into adulthood without the bearing of children means metamorphosis. The change is not instant and permanent like parenthood. It is a surfacing into adulthood and a diving down into childhood, and a poking into sharp air again, then a plunge into watery warmth, gradually converting your gills to lungs. After a time, you breathe in air exclusively, just as all adults do.”

Also worth watching (from the blog above):

the universal

Yet even if the setting can feel very particular, the essential issues Carrie faces as a single woman are universal. There are the married people who try to justify their now regretted life choices by making her feel bad about hers; the friends who are happier when she is single like them, as opposed to in a relationship; and of course, the eternal inner debate about whether she wants to give up her single independence (read: loneliness) for married security (read: boredom). None of these, unfortunately, are exclusive to 1990s Manhattan.