A letter from "Dr Handle"
(April 17, 2007)
ATTENTION ALL VIRULENT BREEDERS: I did not choose to
remain child free with the express intention of pissing you off, so get over
I have all the maternal instincts of a dragon lizard -
given a chance, they eat their young (hell, one of my pet ones eats her own
eggs). You have children. I am pleased for you. I
may think that they are tiresome, demanding, selfish, smelly, screaming,
expensive, ungrateful parasites, but that's not important. You love
them. They are the centre of your world, your entire reason for
existing. Good for you. I can just about cope with the fact that
every sentence you utter starts with the name of one of the blessed offspring,
or the phrase "my child" - after all, I can always stop listening if
I get sick of it. I can just about cope with your bewilderment at finding
out that the rest of the world does not regard your little darlings as the
centre of the universe (I'm just as bewildered as to why you'd think they'd be
the centre of anyone else's universe). But I am sick to death of and
WILL NOT TOLERATE WITH GOOD GRACE your vicious, virulent and venomous ranting
attacks on me for choosing not to have children of my own. What the hell
does it matter to you?
You have chosen to be a parent, and that's your business and
your life choice. I have chosen not to be a parent, and that's my
business and my life choice. Why the hell do so many of you feel the need
to attack me with such a malevolent torrent of abuse for this? You hiss
at me, through a face contorted by anger, that I am "not a real woman if
you don't want children", that I am "doomed to a life of
regretful yearning", and I will definitely become "a shriveled,
twisted and vicious old woman driven by resentment and bitterness."
(There is also usually mention of cats. Not sure where the cats
come into it - some sort of bizarre contraceptive process?) Er, excuse
me? "Resentment"? "Bitterness"? So, not
like what you, in your blissful maternity, are pouring over me?
What I said was, "I don't really like children and
don't want to have any of my own". What you seem to think I said
was, "I'm in favour of bashing them to death at birth, selling them
for medical experiments or organ harvesting, feeding them to carnivores at the
zoo or mincing them up to be sold as pet food." Can you either get
your hearing aid fixed, or try to get a bit of perspective here?
Could it be, could it possibly be, that sometimes, when
you've been awake for 48 hours with an unsettled baby, whilst your toddler
tantrums and screams until he pukes because he's not allowed to
continue drawing on the walls with your most expensive lipstick, and your hair
is full of cereal and your shirt has milk stains and you can't buy
that DVD or book or dress because the money went on more nappies and
the new booster seat, and you can't even leave the house without going through
a logistical exercise that makes the US deployment to Iraq look like a quick
trip to the park, could it be that a tiny, tiny treacherous little voice deep
inside your head mutters to you that your blissful maternity is not, in fact,
24-hours-a-day heavenly fulfillment?
If I am missing out on the joys of parenthood,
then whacko for you, you will enjoy a contentment that I will never
know. Could it be that you, in fact, are the one seething with
bitterness and resentment? Do you look at me - body, mind, career,
marriage and disposable income unravaged by the brutal realities of bearing
and raising children - and somehow feel that my contented child-freedom is
an insult to you? Do I remind you of what you've chosen to give up?
If you sometimes miss the freedoms that you had before you
became a parent, surely it's perfectly normal to have occasional thoughts like
that. I'll bet all parents have such thoughts from time to time (for
example, when the lipstick artistry explores new inspirations. And
I have friends who are parents and they acknowledge what they have
given up to become parents - they compare it to what they have gained, and
judge it to be worthwhile. They sometimes mention doubts during the most
difficult times; but invariably, they say they wouldn't change anything, and
they're very happy with their choice. They leave it at that.
So just be happy with your kids. Stop trying to
put me down in order to try to make yourself feel better about some of the more
difficult aspects of parenthood. Usually, I just let you virulent
breeders rant and vent at me - I suspect that I know what motivates your rage,
and I pity you. But you are numerous. I'm warning you lot, the next
one of you that starts to abuse me simply because I didn't breed, I will let
you have it with both barrels - I will rub your nose in it, and you will wish that
you'd just crossed your legs and claimed to have a headache.