This is more what it looks like to others than how I feel myself. I never much wanted children, though I also always thought that I might, eventually, change my mind. The grad school boyfriend (see #3) wanted children, and so I thought I could see my way to it, someday, eventually, if everything worked out. But I didn’t really think through, then, what would be necessary in terms of time, arrangements, type of job, location and cost of living, all of that—especially energy and time.

After we broke up, I realized that I really did not want to have children, for many reasons. This became a problem with most potential partners until I met Sir John. He was flexible on the issue, which meant he could accept my wishes. Later, when I felt more flexible, he had decided he was happy as we were, and in turn I accepted that, quite easily, really. Now that it’s too late (well, probably, and yes, there’s adoption), I find babies and small children look much more attractive to me than they used to. And yet I don’t really like being around them for very long, and I don’t know where we would put a child—not in terms of physical space, but in the shape of our lives. It’s not as if we have swathes of time we don’t know what to do with. We both work a lot, we both have fairly substantial commutes, we’re used to routines that would have to change a lot to accommodate a small person. And having been the child of older parents, I think there’s a lot to be said for not having parents more than 40 years older than their kids. In some ways, I wish we’d had a kid years ago, but looking back, I can’t see when would have been a good time any more than I can see how a child would fit into our lives now.

Bottom line: I know I would not be a particularly good parent, though I sometimes feel I should have had a child. I’m a thinker, not a feeler, so what I know wins out. However, I recognize that some people see me as having sacrificed motherhood to career, and I am aware of possible alternate lives in which this would have come out differently.

I do like being old enough that no one asks any more when I’m going to have a baby.