If you want to build a ship,
don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the wood and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn
for the vast and endless sea.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I'm a 49 year old childless woman. I might have been fertile at one time but I am not anymore. I look at people with children and think they must have a lot of guts, to have babies in a world like ours. And then there's the chaos of childrearing, the diapers left by the side of the road, the screaming brats in the grocery store, the traffic jams taking each child to their designated lessons and teams and events. There haven't been a lot of experiences that have made me regret not having children. A few moments of lingering and merging, but not enough to carry it through.
Even childless I want to give something to new generations, because it seems so sad to send young people out into the world without direction or inspiration. Where parents fail, family or community sometimes steps in. I see the baseball teams training in the park and the kids there are learning something useful. Coordination. Teamwork. I see a strong young woman on the tennis court who is obviously an ace, but who is toying with her two competitors, and idly watching me who is watching her. Will she have children? Perhaps not. Today I heard the daughter of a coworker say that she won't have children. Why not? Will she regret not having children? What will be her creative work in this world, if not baby making?
In many cultures a woman is of little or no use if she does not serve to birth and raise a brood of offspring for a man. Put the food on the table. Clean. What is a woman if she does none of this?
*new tag: legacy