Words & More Words

This Romance Writer’s Life…

Monthly Blog: A Nod to Non-Moms

Mother's Day...not an easy day when you've lost yours.

Having lost my mom 17 years ago to breast cancer, of course I find myself thinking about her today. I think about her every day. Wondering what would she think of this or that. I hear her words come out of my mouth, my sister's mouth. I see her in little things we do, in the cardinals that visit my backyard, in the faces of my sister's kids.

This, however, is also a day of reflection for someone who almost was a mom.

Reflection because almost 20 years ago...the condom broke. And, no, I was NOT on the pill.

I was still living at home, with my overly controlling mother who could sniff out a lie or hidden diary so easily, the CIA would’ve been lucky to have her. She’d have found that little disk of contraception faster than you can say unwanted pregnancy.

So, no…I was NOT on the pill.

I hadn’t even spent the night at a boy’s house, because again, controlling mother. She’d have no daughter of hers rolling in after a night of debauchery, in the same clothes, doing the walk of shame up her driveway. No sir-ee. What would the neighbors think? We had been raised in catholic school and Mom had a reputation to uphold within the community (aka our block). So, there was a curfew and absolutely no overnights at a boy’s house.

But Mom, I could see myself telling her, you don’t have to spend the night at a boy’s house to have sex…

Frankly, you don’t even have to be at the boy’s house.

There could be a mid-afternoon romp at a pay-by-the-hour motel (been there), or copulating by the light of a car’s dashboard (done that), or you could be doing the classy thing and sneak into the restroom at the House of Blues for a quickie (not even joking), during a work function (yep, I was that girl). But, in this scenario, we were technically in his house. Oh, to be young, and in love, and somewhat bendy.

So it happened. The condom broke. I crossed my fingers that this little "oops" wouldn't turn into anything but a few weeks later, after multiple at-home pregnancy tests, it was confirmed.

Surprise! Instant family.

My boyfriend and I had already talked about our future. We knew from the get-go that WE were a thing - a FOREVER thing. Still, we had to ask ourselves, were we ready for this kind of lifestyle change so soon in our relationship?

One thing I knew for certain, my mom wasn't ready for this.

Mom had recently found out she had breast cancer. But again, her insistence to "give the appearance everything was wonderful" overruled her decision to tell anyone what she was going through. If she wasn’t going to share her cancer diagnosis with her closest friends, how the hell was she going to break the news that I’d conceived a baby out of wedlock with a boy I’d been seeing for only three months?

This error in latex had royally f***ed me.

I wasn't ready for any of it and I didn't want it. Honestly, the idea of children was never something I dreamed about as a little girl. I had never had that maternal instinct, never felt it was my social responsibility to populate the world.

I didn't want to make space in my life to take care of another human, I hadn't even had the opportunity to take care of myself yet (I was still living at home).

The young couple...

The young couple...

Plus, where does it say you have to follow some plan – get married, have kids, grow old and die?

Faced with a future we wanted to control, we made a decision as a couple.

“I love you. Maybe someday. Just not now. Definitely not now."

So, on August 31, 1997, I visited a Planned Parenthood facility, and almost 20 years later, I still stand behind my choice.

I did marry that boyfriend, because when you find someone who not only completes your sentences, but also, completes you…you make the right choice there too.

We did “that thing” with the dress and the vows, but the ceremony and reception was pretty non-traditional because that’s us—pretty non-traditional.

There’s a myth about people who never children, that you have endless freedom. Or that you never truly grown up. We giggle when we think what people say about it only being the two of us with our two dogs and a lot of space.

My hubby and I have a phase, “everyone thinks it’s all hookers and blow.”

If only that were true.

Still at it 20 years later...

Still at it 20 years later...

Truthfully, we have things that hinder us from going out to clubs, staying up all night and eating whatever we want: it's called a job, middle age, and acid reflux. We are, however, dedicated to our careers and spend our free time working on personal projects. We also care for our aging parents. We're in bed, asleep, by 10:30 most nights.

I applaud people like my sister, who has three boys ranging from a teen to two. Women who are out there working full-time, whether they are answering phones or running companies, they are all superheroes in my eyes. My heart breaks for the couples who desperately try, and genuinely want to start a family, but cannot.

I also salute the non-moms out there, who made a non-traditional decision, bucked the system, decided to choose to live the life they wanted to live without children.

Because back on that hot August day in 1997, I too chose life.

My life.

My two "babies"...Wilbur and Stella

My two "babies"...Wilbur and Stella

Kelly Duff1 Comment