Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"It's not that I didn't want children....."

Rebecca Gilman's play THE CROWD YOU'RE IN WITH has got people talking! Theater is dialogue and we hope that this is a safe place to share thoughts, opinions and feelings. Of course we all will not agree with each other. But we treasure the voices of ALL in our community. Hope you enjoy this below from Rosie Newton. After seeing the play last weekend and telling me about her own choices, I asked Rosie to write her thoughts down for our blog. We would love to hear from you too. Please email me yours at info@16thstreettheater.org

"It's not that I didn't want children. It's that I never had the urge to have them. It just wasn't there. I never thought about it. When I was in my 20's and friends were starting to get married and then to have babies, I was always a little surprised--"Really? You're having a baby?!"--I had a hard time picturing my high-school pals as parents--probably because I couldn't picture myself as a parent. I still felt like such a kid.

When I got to my early thirties, most of my friends were married and starting families. I was less surprised at each new toddler that showed up at barbecues and pool parties, but I still didn't think about my so-called biological clock. Children simply were not on my radar. Once, when a single woman I knew confided that she couldn't believe she was still unmarried and childless, I was struck at how sure she was that she would have been a wife and mother by now. I mentioned the conversation to another friend, and related my astonishment at how let-down this woman had felt--parenthood had seemed, to her, a natural course of events, and somehow it hadn't happened. My friend let me know that most people felt that way. Most people grew up wanting to get married and have a family. I was stunned.

I took up the conversation with other friends, and yes, it seemed that nearly everyone I knew had always known that they would have children--even when they were children themselves. As a child, I always saw myself as alone in adulthood--of course, I always saw myself saving a busload of orphans from plunging over a cliff, or curing cancer, or opening a speech with, "I'd like to thank the Academy...", but I never had a motherhood fantasy. My Walter Mitty daydreams didn't include a vision of myself as a mother.

Looking back--I'm glad I didn't have kids. As a young adult, I had my own issues to work out, and taking on a helpless, dependent child would quite simply have been a disaster. I am sure of that. My brothers and sisters gave me a dozen nieces and nephews, each of whom I adore and absolutely cherish. Having them in my life has been an absolute joy, and I wonder sometimes what my life would have been like with kids at the center of it, but other than that curiosity, I don't feel a void in my life. Being a mom wasn't for me, and I knew that. It was a certainty that I've held all my life, and I don't regret it. I rarely tell people, though--it makes most folks uncomfortable."
Rosie Newton is an actress and writer. You may have seen her in Teatro Vista's OUR LADY OF THE UNDERPASS at 16th Street. Interestingly enough, she played the woman who was heartbroken over the fact that she was childless.

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