In my next life, if I'm not a beetle, I want to be someone who doesn't want children.
I've been imagining it.
Not that I didn't have children. That's a totally different imagining. I'm nearly 35 now. We started trying to have L when I was 29. In the parallel world in which we didn't conceive we've now had six years of trying. Six years of disappointment and doctors. Probably thousands of pounds of IVF and other treatments. Possibly now wondering when we get too old to adopt. Wondering when we give up.
I can imagine perhaps only a tiny bit of that life, only a minute part of that heartbreak; and I am so, so, endlessly grateful that that wasn't us.
So don't think about that. Think about a life in which I didn't, you didn't, want children.
Because that's what we mean, isn't it, when we have those guilty, secret thoughts? The ones we have at 8.34 on a Tuesday evening when we're trying to write a blog post and someone appears because there's a moth in her room. Or when she bites her sister. Or when a nappy leaks. Or when you have to turn down champagne, or a wedding, or the volume. The thoughts that say: "What if I hadn't had children?".
Imagine that life. Two incomes. No children and no regrets. Late nights. Classy (and not so classy) bars. Exotic holidays. New restaurant openings. Country pubs. Muddy walks with people who want to be there. Weekends spent in bed. Reading Sunday's paper on Sunday. The cinema. Dry-clean only clothes. High heels. Sheer tights. Filling other people's children full of sugar and then not having to clear up the mess. Pretending to be interested in stories about poo. New paintwork that stays new. A small car. Dangly earrings. Sleeping off a hangover. Finishing a cup of tea.
It's another life. And it's a life that, sometimes, I yearn for. But it was never a life I could have had.
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