There are few topics as polarizing for those of us who don't have children as the topic of children. Let me shuffle back a few steps. After my first BFN and then my miscarriage, the topics of pregnancy and babies chafed. Justifiably so, I contend. Later, after a bit of time and some pretty darn good counseling, the topics don't bother me. Pregnant bellies and bumps and registrations for baby gifts don't bother me. Baby showers do bother me, but they always have, as have wedding showers. Thirty plus year old women are not meant to play pin the penis on the groom. I'm happy to talk about friends' and relatives' children, schools and such. I'll talk about nannies and preschool and the silly, funny child-like antics of child-people. I'll even endure insensitive fertility comments from those who should know better. But what really gets me are those folks who can't talk about anything other than their children. Those folks who aren't anything else.
I was at a work event the other day and spouses were invited. Several of my male colleagues brought their female spouses. I introduced myself to the wives and the discussion inevitably centered around children. Nannies, preschools, summer camps, teachers, funny child-like antics of child-people. And it never left. Not once. Any discussion of other interests quickly circled back to children and all topics causally related to children. I said my "nice to meet you's" and moved on. I wasn't uncomfortable or jealous, just bored. Certainly, an important part of friendships and social get togethers are finding common ground and interests, updating folks on your life...but at some point, hell, let's move on.
No doubt, having children changes your life, makes it different, fuller maybe, more complicated sure. I also know that serious life events, like children, deserve a fair amount of discussion. But I also know, with every thing that I am, that there's more to life than children. I say this as a person who wants a child and who will try again for a child, but who values even more than that who she is and how far she's come. And, for me, how astoundingly important it is to continue to have my own interests and pursuits. If anything, these many child centric discussions lately have made me thank my lucky stars for those women in my life who, lovely as their children may be, also like to dish a little dirt about their boss, share a perfect cabernet and hit a little white ball in a forward direction (god willing) on some well manicured grass. Not necessarily in that order.