“Let me get that double D tag on your bra for you,” the woman sitting behind me in the auditorium said.
I was wearing a shirt that was cut deep in the back and the top of my bra strap was visible. She wedged her fingers under my strap and began fiddling with the tag.
“Double D?” I repeated the woman’s words. “They aren’t double D,” I said. I felt as if I had to defend myself, which made me feel uncomfortable and a little irritated. Why was I defending myself to a total stranger sitting behind me in a dark auditorium?
“They were when you were breast feeding,” she said.
Her words were needles pricking at my skin. This woman was making two assumptions and they were both, as my grandmother used to say, out of line.
I don’t have children. I have never had children. And, before you make one of the other assumptions that lots of people have made: I do like kids, we tried to have kids, it didn’t happen for us.
I got married at 40. My husband and I didn’t decide to have children until I was 42. After four miscarriages we stopped trying. We didn’t go the in vitro route. We chose to let it be. Chose to live our lives just me and him. Just the two of us. Was there sadness? Yes. Did we grieve? Yes. Do we regret our choice? No.
We are happy.
Just this morning as we were pulling out of the parking lot after a meandering walk though our Farmer’s market and I was feeling into my happy, the gratitude and the beauty of my life.
“I love our life,” I said to my husband Bill.
“Me too,” he said and we leaned into each other for a quick kiss.
And yet, an off handed comment by a total stranger can prod me enough to craft an article about how I wish people wouldn’t assume that every woman they meet has children. Maybe it’s because tomorrow’s Mother’s day. Or maybe becuase it’s not the first time someone has made an assumption about me and motherhood.
7 years ago my best friend from high school called me. Nancy (not her real name) and I hadn’t spoken since before I got married. She told me all about her life: her husband the doctor, her two children, her law practice. Then she asked…