When I 26, I was married to an ex who’d recently revealed he’d always thought I would “come around” to having children. It had been a conversation for a few days, maybe a week, and I was feeling enormous pressure and anger and guilt and fear (that he would leave, though, frankly, we weren’t all that right for each other). I had a mental evacuation at one point and said, as he sat at his desk grading papers, “You want a kid? Let’s do it right now. Now or never. This is it.” I tilted my head toward the bedroom. He just sat there looking at me. “What,” he said, “right now? Today?” I said yes. He said he didn’t know if he was ready RIGHT NOW, and at that moment, a flood of WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING was followed by OH THANK GOD HE SAID NO. Never offered it again, and when he talked about kids a few months later, all it took to turn the conversation was asking him if he wanted them bad enough to buy the clothes, take them to doctors’ appointments, change the diapers, etc. (He was traditional, so of course he wanted nothing to do with any of that.)

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Author, THE AGE OF THE CHILD & others. Former adjunct prof & journo. Co-host, ChildfreeGirls series: youtube.com/c/childfreegirls. https://kristenjtsetsi.com

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