OR: Sometimes life’s just like that.
Well, I’ll be damned. In a little over 2 months, together we have started to grow a small, but perfectly formed, worldwide PANKy community of almost 250 followers and over 3200 page views. Which quite honestly, has taken me a bit by surprise, firstly. And secondly, has made this
40 something 39 year old, single woman, with no kids very, very happy indeed.
After I saw the first article about PANKs, at the end of last year, and then read a glut of pieces which quickly followed connected to being a childless woman, I felt a strange sense of relief. Relief from what, I’m not exactly sure, I couldn’t say. Maybe the necessity to justify me as a person, justify my existence as a childless woman of a certain age, in conversations which were starting to become relentless. I think everyone elses clocks were ticking loudly on my behalf. I was becoming really defensive against the repetitive, ‘but whys?’ and the ‘never minds’ and the ‘there’s still times’.
Endlessly feeling like I had to explain away my situation, to those men and women who just cannot comprehend the idea of a woman who would choose to be childless, with ‘funny’ stories of countless f*ckwits and philanderers I’ve dated, and entertaining anecdotes of impetuous or drunken or reckless shenanigans that could never have happened if children were a factor in my life. I was tiring of the “and what about you? When you having kids? why don’t you want them?” interrogation, (pretty ridiculous fucking question to ask a forty two year old single woman to be honest). Imagine if I was desperate for children, there was not even a sniff of a baby-daddy on the horizon and my clock was clicking so loud, they could hear it in Australia. Insensitive and thoughtless. “Ooohh, strange you should ask, in about two hours actually“!!
Because, I’m sure all the mothers out there will back me up, that’s how it happens, right? I was beginning to be brutally honest and respond with “Because they’re heavy” and “I like to sleep“, two very valid reasons not to have kids as far as I’m concerned. These were met with pitying looks or incredulity.
Truth is, having children has never ‘seriously’ crossed my mind. There, I said it. And that’s OK. I had the conversation once with my ex, but I’m very relieved it never came to fruition.
I like kids and I love my friends’ kids with all my heart, but I never, really wanted my own too much. And maybe, as I said before, that simply boils down to the fact I never met anyone who provoked the feeling I would expect to have, if I were destined to have children. No-one who inspired my tubes to twitch into that kind of action. But honestly, I sincerely suspect not.
It just simply never happened and you know what? Sometimes, life’s like that.
And so, surprisingly, it feels like I finally belong somewhere, I finally found my niche. There’s a tiny corner of society tucked away where it’s OK to be me. And that tiny corner is finally recognising me and the countless other women like me. And we are growing in number. We will of course continue to be an anomaly, a social pariah, a weirdo, for some time to come I feel, but at least we are no longer called bloody SPINSTERS! It feels like we are slowly, but surely being allowed to come out of the closet. ‘A woman in her forties without children!!’ ‘I mean, what’s that about?’ A woman in her forties without children and not bereft or feeling incomplete. A woman in her forties with no children and no sense of desperation to have them in the next thirteen seconds after meeting a handsome man in a bar, before her tubes seize up. A woman who never really even considered children to be a part of her life plan. A woman, (in my case), who to be honest never ever, even had the ‘plan’. It feels as if owning a ‘social category’, relieves me of the need for an explanation, an excuse, an apology if you will, and I have felt embarrassed and apologetic on occasion. For possessing the gift of childbirth and not utilising it.
Yes, I’m designed to have children, I’m healthy and have the ability, but I am also lucky enough to possess the privilege of choice. And it is a privilege.
Funny thing is, I didn’t even realise that I was looking to belong. To anything or anyone. But when I read that first news article, I was inexplicably happy. Here I was, I was finally identified and recognised and connected to something. This person they were describing was me to a tee and I re-posted the article to my Facebook page and said, “This is ME!” hurrah! Finally. (And, how exciting, we’ve got our own ACRONYM). Praise be!
So, hello and thank you to everyone in every country who is reading The Secret Diary of Anne Pank for whatever reason, and whatever you get from it, you are welcome here any time. Mostly, you will find that it is irreverent drivel, my tongue is always firmly in my cheek, but it comes from a very real place.
Visit more, say hello, tell me your stories and let’s be happy and comfortable with who we are and the choices we’ve made.
Have a great Monday,
Annie P. xx