I have never wanted kids.
I don’t know why.
I do know that, for as long as I can remember, I have just known that I didn’t want children.
I’ve never been unclear about this fact, despite the fact that everyone insists that ‘I will change my mind’ (no I won’t, and I haven’t, and it’s not going to).
It’s not that I don’t love kids. I do. As a general rule, I’m pretty good with kids, and I certainly love them. I cannot ever understand the love parents have for their children, and I would never presume that I could understand that kind of love, but I do know this: Unless you’re a teacher, you don’t understand the love teachers – good teachers – have for their kids.
There is a reason so many teachers have laid down their lives, particularly in America, for their students.
It isn’t duty – it’s love.
Below: When you have staff and students who do things to remind you that you matter, it is the most amazing feeling.
It’s never been about that. I just don’t want children – it’s really that simple.
I don’t want to get up early, or have to factor kids into holidays, or raise children or anything.
And I know a bunch of you are probably thinking that’s horrible, and many of you are thinking it’s selfish, but it’s not.
It’s a life I don’t want. I know this. I know that, while I could be a good mum, I’d be unhappy.
And I can guarantee you, kids know when you don’t love them (they also know when you have a favourite. I assure you, you’re not as sneaky as you think you are), so having children would be selfish. I’d be bringing someone into this world knowing I might not ever be able to give myself 100% to the child, no matter how much I might want to.
On top of that, I’m sick, and I don’t appear to be particularly fertile. My ovaries are almost non-existant, endometriosis has meant that my body has suffered two surgeries alone from cysts, among a few other, slightly more personal, fertility reasons. I’m also chronically ill, which means I can’t get better – ever – but I suffer from other problems. Like, for example, I currently have a broken spine from a fall. I don’t have full mobility, and in the hopes I can walk properly again, I work with a physio and rehab specialist three times a week.
Obviously, that’s a bit of an extreme, but it is also an important part of my life: Due to my lack of immune system and not-always-functioning organs, I am more susceptible to the bizarre. A cold is more like the flu; the flu can last for months.
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How you look after a Taylor Swift concert when you've been sitting on your fractured spine longer than you really ought to be. A huge thanks to @thegabbabrisbane for allowing me to bring in special back pillows to help reduce the impact on my spine and my doctor for prescribing me extra meds for the night. But I think the biggest shoutout might need to go out to @laura.june.makeup because most of my make up lasted INCREDIBLY well … as you can see from my hair it was very hot and sweaty!!!! @taylorswift
I can’t remember when I first brought up children with Scott – at least, not really. I imagine it would’ve been a superficial conversation, or a brush away statement, to gauge a reaction before bringing up something more serious. I certainly know it was at least a conversation before we even had sex.
I know that I wouldn’t have waited any longer than three months to mention that I didn’t think I’d want kids.
Scott was always agreeable. He always felt the same way; he didn’t want kids. He told me that it had always seemed like something he felt was expected of him, but not something he actually wanted. He talked frequently of the pressure his parents had been placing on him for years, buying him and his sister baby clothes – despite the fact he was single.
However, knowing that the beginning stages of a relationship are different, and being aware that some people really do change their mind, I made sure I reminded him, making it clear that if he wanted children, I was not the person for him. It wasn’t that I disbelieved him, but there’s a difference between being pissed at his parents for buying baby clothes and earnestly knowing you never want children.
By the one year mark, when we were discussing our future, I brought up the subject again. I said that if he wanted kids, he shouldn’t move in or marry me.
He repeatedly insisted that he didn’t want kids.
After he proposed, I made it clear again; and before the wedding and after, and so on. Whenever his parents would make cringe-worthy statements about when I was going to have children, I’d double-check with him to make sure his parents did know how I felt (and that having children probably wasn’t something I could possibly do).
He assured me, repeatedly, that he had.
I want to make this very clear, I absolutely believe him. I know that my last two posts have been about my husband’s betrayals, but I have heard him say it to his parents more than once. I’ve heard Scott’s sister say something to his parents, and I know my parents, despite their own disappointment, had frequently mentioned that a) it was irrelevant, because having children was our choice and b) that no, I didn’t want children, and neither did Scott, and that was perfectly okay.
I don’t know what his parents thought.
I don’t know if they assumed that they could convince me to have children.
I don’t know if they, like so many others, assumed I would have children, no matter what I said or did.
I knew it was going to become a sticking point, but I didn’t know how it would emerge, or what form it’d take.
Until one day his mother’s messages ran cold, or didn’t come at all.
Until one day his parents went from sending me Haigh’s chocolate randomly, for no reason other than just because, because that’s what they did (Haigh’s is also my favourite) to cheer me up, to sending me post notes on my birthday.
Below: A post from earlier days, when it was expected that I’d have children and be a good wife.
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Gifts from my lovely in-laws Kevin and Libby! I am so lucky to have such an amazing second family. #christianlacroix #christianlacroixpapier #ellery #loccitane #kinder #chocolate #jaiuneidee #cecinestpasuncahier #french #paris #ivegotanidea #thisisnotanotebook @scottbouckley
Yes, post-it notes.
Please don’t get me wrong – it’s not about the money. It’s about the thought, and when someone sends you post-it notes without a card for your birthday, the message is incredibly hard to miss. While I’d noticed that they’d been changing their behaviour, and it wasn’t the first time they’d made comments about money that somehow always looped around to “when I was having children” by chance, tbey were also now sending me a very clear, specific message: My value was tied to my uterus. If my uterus wasn’t functioning the way they wanted, I was worthless. (Again, these aren’t my assumptions. My husband’s parents have been extremely vocal to a large amount of people, including some of my husband’s friends as well as my family. I’m not kidding. They told my parents they were disowning Scott and removing him from their will while he was married to me. It came up in conversation because my parents assumed there was no way they would tell them something like that if Scott didn’t know. Scott didn’t know. This is just one example.)
Though, they would later inform me (via Scott) that they hadn’t actually sent me post-it notes for my birthday.
They were far more thoughtful than that: They hadn’t sent me anything.
I remember pleading with Scott to contact his parents more, because I had this feeling – one I couldn’t explain – that I’d get the blame if he didn’t.
Scott told me that it was the residual aftermath of my PTSD from what happened in Emerald, and I wanted it to be true. I wanted to believe that after learning the betrayals I’d suffered over and over and over again, I was feeling insecure, and nothing more.
Except, it wasn’t.
The less Scott phoned, the more insistent they became. The more insistent they became, the less Scott phoned.
The more Scott tried to explain our situation, and my deteriorating health, the more they kept asking him if I was controlling him.
The more they asked if I was controlling him, the less Scott wanted to confide.
I’m sure you can see the same, self-replicating cycle I can.
Their passive-aggressive behaviour became increasingly more aggressive. Christmas was fast approaching, and Scott had recently transitioned jobs. He didn’t have an awful lot of leave, and the year before, while he’d ‘had’ Christmas off, he’d spent it all working. He didn’t want to go to Adelaide for Christmas.
He was tired.
He wanted to rest.
He hadn’t been happy with his parents for a while, and while I wasn’t entirely sure what the go was (he’d just say he was ‘unhappy’), he was hesitant about going. I was smart enough, from all the obvious comments they’d made, and all the passive-aggressive comments I was expected to ignore, that the reason Scott didn’t want to discuss it was because he knew, as I did, that what was coming was inevitable.
I knew from his parents’ responses, the way they were speaking to me (if at all), the way they spoke about me, and from the sudden icy shift in their behaviour, that things were deeply wrong.
In the hopes that a Christmas with his family would repair whatever harm they had obviously believed I inflicted on them, I insisted to Scott that we go.
I told him I couldn’t take another bunch of people in his life telling me I was the problem when all I’d ever done was take blow after blow – often administered by our friends – to cover for him. I begged him – the last thing I needed was his parents to start blaming me, too.
I knew it was a fruitless endeavour. His mum had removed me from social media (to be fair, she’d also removed her own son, she was that angry), and only spoke to me unless absolutely necessary. His dad had been far more aggressive, and far more clear, with his feelings.
For example, when I managed to read fifty books last year (a challenge that had been proposed to me more times than I can count), I sent a message out to a few people, his parents included, who had, more than once, asked how many books I could read in a year.
His dad replied, ‘That’s nice, but Scott works fifty hours a week.’
While the message felt like a slap in the face, especially because his parents would regularly ask how many books I read in a year, Scott took a great deal of offence to it. (I would later learn that his parents were far more assertive of their feelings about me to everyone, including Scott and my parents, bar me. I suspected that they were unhappy and maybe even disliked me, but I wasn’t going to make it a mountain out of a molehill. However, had I been more privy to other information, I might have reacted far more like Scott.) He called his dad, upset, wanting to know what the hell was up.
His dad decided the best course of action was to gaslight me and the situation. I won’t lie – Scott’s dad’s harsh and unnecessary comment hurt me – but the person it affected the most was Scott. By this point, he felt like I wasn’t being respected by his parents, and that neither was he.
In an attempt to make me the problem, Scott’s dad told Scott that ‘He meant the message as a joke. He didn’t realise my depression was so bad I couldn’t take a joke’.
He tried to gaslight the situation by a) assuming I was suffering from a depressive episode and that had to be why anyone was upset because in no way did that seem rude as fuck otherwise and b) by insisting that something that was definitely not a joke was a joke and I was hysterical and irrational for not getting it.
I would like to remind ya’ll at this point that I hadn’t expressed my feelings at all, and I made it very clear to Scott that if he had a problem with it I didn’t want to be in any way involved because I wasn’t going to try and blow Scott’s family up because they were dicks to me, so these were all Scott’s feelings.
Scott was telling his parents how their actions were making him feel.
But they didn’t want to hear it.
They only wanted to hear how Scott wasn’t to blame.
By the time Christmas had come and past (which is and of itself a story), Scott was talking about regularly cutting off contact with his parents. He felt that their treatment of me, and their refusal to listen to what he, as a grown adult, wanted, had gone on long enough.
He was tired of trying to explain how he felt, how they were making him feel, and how they weren’t listening.
I don’t know exactly what happened next, but I do know that his parents made another comment to him about me. It was something to do with money, insinuating that I was using Scott for money or something similar, and something to do with babies (I’m sure you can see the pattern). Scott then told me he wanted to send his parents an email, explaining how he felt, and that he no longer really felt happy or comfortable visiting Adelaide, a feeling he’d resonated since the very first moment we met.
It seems odd, in a way, considering he was planning a life with another woman around that same time, but I remember one of our very first conversations being about how he was finally happy in Emerald as he’d felt displaced ever since first leaving. He also talked about how everything seemed to stay the same, as if nothing really evolved within his friendship group, but he’d return as a different person, not quite being able to fit in. (Obviously, this is a metaphor – plenty of people are no longer in the original group, many are married, having children, etc, but his point was that they weren’t different – he was, and that made him feel out of place.)
Knowing all of this information, knowing that he’d started to detest returning to Adelaide more and more and part of the reason why we’d go was because I enjoyed it, knowing that he felt frustrated with his friends and family for not accepting his political beliefs and assuming I’d told him what to think, as if no one that him capable of having a brain, I supported his decision.
I offered to help him write the email if he wanted (as someone who’s been on the receiving end of Scott’s miscommunications, I wanted to help – I desperately didn’t want the situation to escalate because someone misspoke).
He didn’t want my help, which is more than fair, and the email he sent resulted in an ultimatum: His parents called him, in a rage, demanding that he divorce me or that they’d disown him.
So what happened next?
Well, I guess you’ll have to keep reading if you want to find out.