One word: Feminism
The term protrudes like a homunculus from the misshapen head of maladaptive modern sensibilities. A tumor on a tumor of western civilization. I was reflecting on this malicious movement while reading the lament of an English woman who foolishly succumbed to a strain of it in her youth.
So why, 20 years later, do I find myself single, childless and tormented by the fact that I have thrown away the only true chance of happiness I ever had?
Eight years after that wonderful engagement party in 1989, I walked away from dear, devoted, loyal Matthew, convinced that somewhere out there, a better, more exciting, more fulfilling life awaited me. Only there wasn’t.
Now I am 42 and have all the trappings of success – a high-flying career, financial security and a home in the heart of London’s trendy Notting Hill. But I don’t have the one thing I crave more than anything: a loving husband and family.
‘My father warned me not to throw this love away. But I was sure I’d find Mr Perfect around the corner’
You see, I never did find another man who offered everything Matthew did, who understood me and loved me like he did. Someone who was my best friend as well as my lover. Today, seeing friends with their children around them tortures me, as I know I am unlikely ever to have a family of my own. I think about the times Matthew and I talked about having children, even discussing the names we would choose. I cannot believe I turned my back on so much happiness.
Instead, here I am back on the singles market, looking for the very thing I discarded with barely a backward glance all those years ago. I know I can’t have Matthew back, and it hurts when I hear snippets of information about his life and how content he is. Fifteen years after I ended our relationship, he is happily married.
Many will mistake contentment for boredom, forgetting to cherish the good things they have. I would urge those who are considering walking away from such riches to think again.
If only I’d stayed with Matthew, we’d almost certainly be married with children.
Or, maybe Matthew wasn’t the right man. I will never know the answer, but my decision to leave him has definitely cost me the chance of ever becoming a mother. Now I can only look back and admonish my selfish, younger self.
To any silly sanctimonious young liberal women reading here, heed the advice above from your forlorn older self. You can not have it all. Life mandates priorities. Make yours meaningful. How many women I have met spending the fleeting bloom of their prime investing both passion and youth in marketing plans or corporate initiatives. What breathtaking folly. For the meager reward of “a career” they toil in sterile cube farms throughout their brief season of fertility. Shareholders grow wealthy as they grow barren. The exchange is contemptible.
One of the best exemplars of the childless career girl spinster is actress Ashley Judd. A woman of lush beauty in youth, her features now succumbing to the acid of time. The doughy nondescript creature that remains being left with little but pompous pieties as companions into late middle-age. Cats await her dotage. And who had time for children when there were such film classics awaiting a svelte figure? Classics such as…hell, I’m sure she was outstanding in something.
And as for her own family, here was Ms. Judd’s position on that topic: it’s unconscionable to breed with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.” Understand? If Judd had children, they might eat food needed by the 8th child of a 29 year-old Congolese woman. So Ashley had no offspring and consumes for herself only the discarded run-off from animal processing plants. But then, I’m being a bit facetious. Ms. Judd and her now ex-husband did have a family–and all apparently ate food that could have gone to starving children in impoverished countries.
One would think that a lucrative career, fashionable advocacies, conspicuous feminism, and prim childlessness would result in a life of happiness–or at the least one absent madness and desolation. Keep thinking that. (Judd) spent 47 days at a treatment center in 2006 to manage issues including isolation and depression. Of course, countless mothers get depressed as well. Each path offers its own challenge. Though it is pitiful naïveté that leads young women to surmise that a childless career will offer some inoculation against sorrow and boredom. Feelings only exacerbated by the indifference of an empty house.
So when you girls are contemplating the hellish prospect of filthy diapers, swollen bodies, and a houseful of laughing grandchildren in your old-age, be sure to consider the alternative. And prioritize wisely.