IHAVENOCHILDREN. Giulia – by Serena Castro Stera
I have no children.
And I would like not to suffer again and again that kind of almost imperceptible suspension while others figure it out, let’s say the time of half a breath, corresponding to a question mark.
She doesn’t have any children. By choice? Because of nature’s failure? Why?
I keep stumbling randomly into that question that has oppressed me since my first period made me physiologically able to procreate. Yes, because since then I have been someone with no children. It was kind of predestined for me. I have never identified myself as a procreator, I have never smiled tenderly in front of a friend’s little brother. My indifference to babies has always been very clear.
From the very beginning, I have always taken other paths and my realization as a human being has never taken motherhood into consideration. If anything, I considered it an hindrance, like falling into a series of constraining situations that would have robbed me of the independence and my clear thinking and would have limited me forever.
I have no cracks in this certainty but this doesn’t mean I am am a cold or emotionally unavailable woman. I have strong and deep feelings towards people. I love a man. I have loved others.
I love my mother and when she died I was torn by an almost animal pain. I love my father even if he is a helplessly uncompromising man, even more so with old age. A tough father, sometimes unfair, but present and with firm answers. I love my friends: not so many, but sincere and lasting friendships.
Despite not having children, I know far too deeply the meaning of the word LOVE.
It is not social respect that I am lacking: I am a scholar, people write about me in the newspapers and I write about others, and I am respected because of my intelligence. The sharpness of my observations is valued, which together with the typical female intuition guides certain judgments and the ability to recognize nuances. My male colleagues are happy to accept my success.
Furthermore, I am a beautiful, sociable and sunny woman, or so they say.
Yet, they look at me sideways, as when on a smooth and luminous complexion, a pimple suddenly appears and one is magnetically attracted to imperfection rather than to the surrounding pleasantness. They accept my status only on the assumption of medical or psychological problems.
If not by nature: not having children I have to be selfish by definition, I must hide some weirdness, some paranoia…
So, from the moment of the fateful discovery that gaze imperceptibly follows me around and I am placed in a category very close to the godless.
It remains a question, never an assertion, never.
Whether it is a matter of choice or misfortune, I represent somehow a sort of breakdown, an oversight of programming in the woman-archetype. Homosexual women enjoy a clearer definition, accepted as out of tune and not conforming. Their choice is entirely human, mine doesn’t seem so. Difficult to convince that it is a natural inclination.
This state of barely superficial distinction that no one seems to care about but that always raises the same question mark has become a burden over the years.
At first I took it with a certain dose of irony. I enjoyed watching people hide their curiosity, struggling not to ask why and to disguise the subtle disappointment that came so naturally.
How can you give up on talking about pregnancy, labor and delivery more or less long or wonderfully compelling? How can you possibly find a topic that creates the same degree of intimacy, triggering a relationship beyond the conventional? How can you give up dealing with our only undisputed source of power, the almighty power of creation?
At a certain age, women only talk about one form of love: the love for children. Either you’re in the game or you’re out.
The debate isn’t necessarily trivial, it’s also profound, with serious issues, philosophical implications and you can have your say.
But it’s theory.
From them, from the mothers, you will always be separated by the practice and you will have a completely marginal voice in the debate.
At first, I say, it was interesting, instructive in every way. Then I started getting bored. Is it possible, I wondered, that such intelligent, educated women, with a wealth of considerable knowledge, should take pleasure in that one only subject? Yes, of course, it is a theme that includes many sub-topics: medical, ethical, pedagogical… But the pivot around which everything revolves is one: the child.
And I have no children.
Serena Castro Stera