Although she now would dedicate herself to a child, Paola tells us of her choice of non-motherhood, opting for other things: travels, discovery, freedom and her devotion to stray animals, something she developed since her childhood within her family of origin which she remembers with deep emotion.
PAOLA: «Hi, I’m Paola, I’m 53 years old… I have chosen not to have children.
Mine was really a choice; maybe I didn’t think at first that it would’ve been an absolute choice, but each and every time, whenever I had the opportunity, such as a partner, a suitable situation…you know, work, things… I always felt I preferred something else: travelling, discovering new things, and I thought that maybe a child could preclude me from doing all these things, which, to me, were not more important, but at that moment they excited me the most.
So, right or wrong, that was my thought process.
I saw the people around me getting married and starting families, anyway.
I realised that I was slightly different from the others, but… I mean, I couldn’t only do things just to “fit in”.
What I felt was deeply rooted, I had to respect it.
I didn’t regret it.
I never regret it.
Now I am alone, I don’t have a partner.
I’m not saying it’s a replacement, but I have animals… dogs, cats.
I’ve always had them. I’d like to point this out.
My father was a hunter, so I grew up around dogs.
We took them in when we found them in the streets.
I often had to put them back as we couldn’t keep them all.
But I don’t know if this passion of mine somehow replaced something else, but I’ve always had it.
Then, I started to have boyfriends, but I kept picking up cats and dogs off the street.
And now, I don’t know why, but when I come home and see a bunch of little wagging tails, the house seems full of energy, with them I don’t feel lonely, nor do I feel the need to have a partner or children to make up for this loneliness.
I don’t know if it makes sense.
Someone, in the past, has tried to change my mind.
Whether a partner back then, who felt that everything was ready for a kid… but something inside me told me “no, times aren’t ready”.
Or I don’t know… relatives, friends.
But what does it mean to change your mind?
It’s something you have to feel, unfortunately. You can’t just say: “I’ll have a child, so someone will look after me when you are older.”
It doesn’t look like love for a child.
It’s rather a selfish act, or something you do just to protect yourself.
As for me, I didn’t have a real desire to have a child.
I would play with other people’s children for ten minutes or so… And I consider parents to be heroes, your life changes drastically with a child, you don’t live anymore.
But clearly, it has its… I mean, its advantages.
The love, obviously, the interaction you have with your child…
No, I’ve never been judged negatively, that is because my motivations are so heart-felt…
I mean, things must come from the heart, but someone could accuse me of loving animals more than children, but it’s not true, it’s different.
If I find a little boy living on the streets… Sorry if I go off-topic, but in Sardinia, we have many stray dogs… it’s unacceptable… People ask me if I’m like that with people.
Well, I don’t find people on the street, if I did, I would call 999.
Surely, some people disapproved of my actions, I don’t doubt that they judged me, I’ve been considered… I don’t know, outside the box.
But I can’t do what others want because then other people… it’s not their life, it’s mine.
I don’t regret anything because I’ve got to travel, I’ve done many things… Maybe now that I’m fifty-three I would consider dedicating myself to a child.
But I can’t… I’d be a grandmother now.
But that’s OK.
Animal reproducing… I have to go off-topic again here, as in Sardinia there are so many stray animals, it’s unbearable.
I currently have six dogs and six cats and they are all neutered. Why?
Because I can’t afford to have them reproduce in a region where you find litters at every corner I won’t tell you how they end up.
I’m not against abortion either, especially in this instance, with so many stray animals.
I’m not against physical abortion either.
If you don’t want a child, maybe it was a mistake, maybe you should have taken more precautions, but it didn’t… Which of these two choices you consider more appropriate?
To terminate a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy forward, and give birth to a baby you don’t want?
I don’t know.
I’m sorry, I feel very emotional now because I remember my family, five children, we were seven with our parents.
It was certainly very hard, for my parents, I can imagine, but I’ve always seen them happy… They allowed us to study (I didn’t by choice), and to educate ourselves, they sent us to school to give us a better life.
I didn’t see them exhausted, they just did it.
So I have a good example to follow.
I have probably missed something but anyway… I see parents nowadays, I see that having a child, even just one child, is exhausting.
I can see that, I don’t know if it’s because… now kids do sports and activities.
Parents rush around… I want to conclude by saying that I believe parents are heroes.»