I forgot To Have Kids

When people ask me why I didn’t have kids, I give them the closest answer to the truth I can find: ‘I forgot.’  

When I was in my early twenties, I was sure I’d be a big success as a singer, have lots of money and a own a sprawling estate on the sea. My future seemed limitless, and having ‘all the time in the world’ was not just an expression, it really felt that way. I imagined my perfect mate: he was just under six feet tall, had dark, wavy hair, olive skin and a great sense of humour. We were going to have two kids, a boy and a girl, and I’d teach them to row a boat and play the piano. I was carefree while I thought about all the fun we’d have.  

By thirty, I’d lived through two tumultuous relationships, and two subsequently dramatic breakups. Both men I’d lived with had wanted kids, but I simply couldn’t imagine having children with them. For that, and my own yearning to explore the world, my career, and myself, I fled. My sprawling estate on the sea was just a photo I’d cut out and saved from a magazine, pinned up on the bare white wall of my rented basement apartment. I was broke and alone, but full of ambition.  

By forty, I’d traveled the world while performing my music. As I gained ground in my career, I lost track of time. The years went by without notice as I was constantly distracted by the demands of the music business, my immersion in the creative process, and the gleeful exploration of all the new countries I had the chance to sing in. During my travels I found it amusing how well-meaning folks from different cultures reacted to my childless status:  

An Israeli friend told me, ‘a woman never feels like a woman until she has a child.’  

A French friend told me, ‘you’ll never really experience love until you have a child.’  

A Spanish friend told me, ‘there’s nothing greater than family. My kids are my world.’  

A Singaporean friend told me, ‘one must work for their children. If you have no kids, you have nothing to work for.’  

A Tahitian friend told me, ‘when a woman has a child, that is enough for her, she is complete.’  

A Filipino friend said, ‘I’ll pray for you.’  

Curiously, I wasn’t disheartened by all the concern. Although many people looked at me with compassion for what they perceived as this tragic story of the childless woman, I started to relax about the whole thing. I would check in with myself from time to time, asking, am I missing having kids today? Am I ready to have kids today? Would my life be better today if I had kids? The answer would always be, I don’t know, maybe, maybe not. My feeling of neutrality was a comfort.  

By my late forties, it kicked in, that yes, I’d forgotten to have kids. My life had taken me on on other adventures.  

One day as I was strolling on the poolside deck of a cruise ship I was performing on, I struck up a conversation with a couple in their mid-sixties. They asked me if it was hard to be away from my husband and kids for so long, and I told them, ‘no husband, no kids.’ Much to my surprise, the woman smiled and clapped, exclaiming, ‘how wonderful! Isn’t it great, to not have kids? We didn’t have kids, and we’ve had a wonderful life… so much freedom, so much fun. Don’t let anyone pressure you into having a family.’ This was the first time someone hadn’t felt sorry for me, and it made me smile.  

Looking back, I think my big success has been to trust in, and continue to discover, my own path. Money comes and goes, and the sprawling estate on the sea is just down the street from where I live. I enjoy admiring it, but for now I’m enjoying the simple life in my cozy beach apartment here in Southern Spain. My perfect mate may still show up, but in the meantime I’m quite engaged and entertained by my life’s work as a musician. As for the the boy and the girl I always thought I would have, I now smile at that sweet memory, that vision of the girl I once was.  

-Originally published in the Huffington Post, April 22, 2016 

1 comment

  • Alan Walters
    Alan Walters South Wales
    A Very Poignant & Interesting topic indeed. How wonderful for you to look back with hindsight and identify different culture's opinions on the subject. You have achieved so much in your life & taken on projects with passion involving musicians of so many countries & cultures & brought your experiences to life through your music, videos, bogs & posts on social media. I look forward to every new item so very much. You take on projects most people would never conceive or consider. You are very much a pioneer & despite all the challenges complete & excel in each one. I can fully understand you forgetting to have kids! How would you find the time. When I was a teenager quite a few of my friends got married very young. I didn't know what I wanted to do but I wanted to be in a rock band. I slid into being an accountant even though my A levels were French, Spanish & Geography. Got married at 28 & had a son (My wife was not supposed to be able to have children so that was a bonus & I had a step-daughter. I ran a company & got obsessed with & really enjoyed. Wanted to teach guitar but that didn't happen till about 14ish years ago. As an old man, my brain still thinks I'm 20 so I still think I can do so much. I'm a dreamer not a schemer & Who knows. As you know your music is incredibly unique & special & I truly believe you have a Wonderful Future. Your workrate, & enthusiasm coupled with your incredible voice & musical ability & creativity puts you i a very special p[lace when you consider how you connect to people & they warm to you so much. As I have mentioned before You have no need to worry that you didn't have children , As the Song Goes 'We are the World, We are the Children' Thank you eternally for the Emotional connection you have made with the World! Respect, Gratitude &Eternal Thanks!

    A Very Poignant & Interesting topic indeed. How wonderful for you to look back with hindsight and identify different culture's opinions on the subject. You have achieved so much in your life & taken on projects with passion involving musicians of so many countries & cultures & brought your experiences to life through your music, videos, bogs & posts on social media. I look forward to every new item so very much. You take on projects most people would never conceive or consider. You are very much a pioneer & despite all the challenges complete & excel in each one. I can fully understand you forgetting to have kids! How would you find the time. When I was a teenager quite a few of my friends got married very young. I didn't know what I wanted to do but I wanted to be in a rock band. I slid into being an accountant even though my A levels were French, Spanish & Geography. Got married at 28 & had a son (My wife was not supposed to be able to have children so that was a bonus & I had a step-daughter. I ran a company & got obsessed with & really enjoyed. Wanted to teach guitar but that didn't happen till about 14ish years ago. As an old man, my brain still thinks I'm 20 so I still think I can do so much. I'm a dreamer not a schemer & Who knows. As you know your music is incredibly unique & special & I truly believe you have a Wonderful Future. Your workrate, & enthusiasm coupled with your incredible voice & musical ability & creativity puts you i a very special p[lace when you consider how you connect to people & they warm to you so much. As I have mentioned before You have no need to worry that you didn't have children , As the Song Goes 'We are the World, We are the Children' Thank you eternally for the Emotional connection you have made with the World! Respect, Gratitude &Eternal Thanks!

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