you shut the door, drove me to the all-night shop. I was three weeks late. the air was damp and hot. our pale reflections on the back windscreen, the local radio DJ playing Dancing Queen and the checkout girl in the superstore who didn’t look at me, just what I bought. you pointed out each lit window in town. Take notes, you said, one day you will write this down.
it’s true. most days, I plunder what I see, play deaf unless a poem answers me. when I nod absently at what you’ve said, I’m thinking of that night instead— me in the bathroom, long before time, already squinting for the telltale line.
… 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.