Karen Foster
Author & Speaker

     I am at a party talking to a very nice woman I've just been introduced to when suddenly she asks me the fatal question, “Do you have any children?”  I ponder my options.  I can answer with a plain and simple “No”, or go with the other reply, “No, I chose not to have children”.  I know from experience that both options have their own risks and predictable results.  How shall I proceed?
     I decide to go with the simple “No” and it brings the conversation to a screeching halt.  I can see it in her eyes, she is plagued with concern and indecision about where to go next.  She is asking herself what this could mean, “Has she just not had them yet?  Looks like she may be getting too old.  Is she one of those anti-kid people?  Don’t want to go there.  Is she infertile?  Maybe it’s a touchy subject.  Better abort (pun intended)!”  Next will come an awkward pause followed by an abrupt subject change.  “Oh………so what type of work do you do?” or  “Where are you from?”  I know what to expect, I’ve been here before.
     I want to relieve the strain, so as I watch her puzzling through the options, I interject with the second response, just under the buzzer.  “No, I chose not to have kids.”  At this point my fellow party go-er raises her eyebrows as if I’ve just admitted to being a space alien.  Sounding surprised she says, “really?” immediately followed by an endless sermon about how great her kids are and how she couldn’t imagine her life without them, how she loves being a mom and all the drawn out reason’s why.  Who’s she trying to convince?...

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