… the overwhelming majority disliked [“childless” and “childfree”], with one being seen as stigmatising and the other gleeful and nasty in its implication that parents somehow need “liberating”.
… that’s one reason why – when absolutely necessarily – “doesn’t have children” is the kindest, most neutral descriptor we can hope for. Though we can also hope to be moving away from one’s parenting status needing to be defined at all, especially for women, who still face this question far more frequently than men. Language matters, and as ever it often says more about us and our assumptions than we realise.
There was the story of a central California widow who had fought to have her recently dead husband exhumed, pleading her case that before he had died he had swallowed her diamond ring in some sort of spite and that she wanted this jewel returned. But in the end she confessed that she had not slept for many many weeks and that she had been spending her nights lying on his grave, trying to speak to him, and that all she really wanted was just to be able to see his face one more time.
You don’t know my name. This is the past. And us is just a butterfly effect that didn’t happen. We are apart and at peace, just as before your eyes met mine, before our hands brushed and our words hushed. Before our secrets born into judging eyes. This is before everything.
And I am telling you this so you will search for me no more.
When I look into your eyes, I realise I came from a long journey across time, before yours nor mine. I knew this from recurring dreams. They’re so vivid that when I wake up, my arms my feet my body’s broken, sore and tired. These dreams are more than just a realm in my subconscious, they’re real.
In my dreams, I have your eyes, your smile, and everything’s new under the sun. In my dreams I am lost looking for something, anything feels like a mother. In my dreams, I too am abandoned, unwanted. In my dreams, I am you.