…Recently in the gynecology waiting room, I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t pregnant or accompanied by children. When one new mom was called in, her husband took over care of their baby. Oh, how tenderly he touched that soft skin, how gently he lifted his daughter out of her carrier and cradled her in his arm. Why did I not marry a man like that, I thought. A few minutes later, I was in the examining room answering questions: How many children? None. How many pregnancies? None. Post-menopausal? Yes.
This is the final paragraph of a section of my Childless by Marriage book that I read at an open mic last night. The audience was so silent I thought I had bombed, but afterward, many people came up to tell me how moved they were by what I had written. Most of them were men. In fact, one began by asking, “Are you all right?” My words had been so emotional he thought I must be in terrible pain. I assured him I was fine. The men, all about the right age to be my husband if I weren’t already married to Fred, said they admired me for saying such private things out loud, that they didn’t realize how a woman might feel about not having children, and that most people are afraid to talk about the subject with their childless friends and relatives.
It was encouraging and enlightening. I have always thought my main audience was women. But perhaps men will read more to find out what we haven’t told them.