I chatted recently with a woman I only know remotely, but will be working with in coming weeks. A mutual friend recently had a baby, which invariably turned the conversation towards children. New Friend asked if I have children [no], and so I reciprocated the inquiry.
She indicated yes, with a laugh, noting her child was 3 years old, but that she missed her prior life.
I suddenly felt our motherly company with whom we were sitting grow tense. New Friend went on to explain that her husband didn’t want children and that after nine years of marriage, they grew bored with one another…and eventually produced a baby. She also explained they had a previously very active social life, and the child [gender of which was never mentioned] somewhat changed that. [Understandably so.]
Being that I was the only childless one in the room, I continued the conversation. I understand and appreciate from where she is coming. I have, on occasion, mentioned that I am a bit selfish and, at this point in my life, cannot yet fathom changing my go-anywhere/do-anything lifestyle for something (or someone?) else. I laughed with New Friend and we instantly bonded [while the other women quietly sat, bemused looks bordering on shock (or was it disdain?) painted their faces].
And although the desire to start a family has grown in recent months, the heart of this really comes down to New Friend’s frankness. I appreciated, not necessarily the particular substance of her discussion, but her willingness to be bluntly honest about her marriage (the boredom) and the impact her child has on her lifestyle. She did offer a sense of care and love for her child in talking about it, but certainly did not color the scenario misleadingly rosy.
So I wonder why more people are not so frank with general conversation topics? Having neither been married nor with child, I cannot speak directly, but from what I understand, all that New Friend said is spot on. So why are people reluctant to call a spade a spade? Do we try too hard to maintain our picture-perfect facade in the face of reality, when the truth is shared by far more people?
Perhaps the bemused looks from the other mothers were faces of awe and jealousy for the refreshing honesty and frankness with which we were entertained.
Retro re-post of the day: The Lesser of Two Evils.