Thursday, May 10, 2007

No regrets?

In today's Guardian, Sarah Chruchwell - a senior lecturer of something or other at the University of somewhere - has a rant against a report that came out last week suggesting that graduate women are leaving it longer to have children and, as a result, some 60% may eventually end up childless.

I was going to fisk Ms Chruchwell's article, but reading it once was tedious enough and I just can't be bothered. It's full of the usual "I'm not selfish, I'm doing it for the good of womankind" garbage. Yeah, right - that and the fact that the senior lecturer salary ain't bad, you get long holidays and you get invited to write stupid articles for a stupid newspaper.

Ms Churchwell tells us in as forthright way as possible that she "doesn't rue a damn thing" about being childless. Well, hooray for you, girlfriend. And how the fuck do you know that you never will? I don't know for sure how old Ms Churchwell is, but as the report was about graduate women born in 1970 and Ms Churchwell insists she is one of those, I guess that makes her a tad under 40. Come back in 40 years time and tell us you don't rue a damn thing, lady - then I might believe you. Otherwise just shut up.

It's a bit of a giveaway that all the other articles I've read about this same report tend to feature women who are around the 40ish mark - all saying how they regret nothing. I suspect it's kind of hard to find some lonely old spinster who did the same thing 40 years earlier to come to the Guardian and say "I'm glad I never had kids" - 1) because lonely old spinsters don't often read the Guardian, 2) because most of them aren't glad they never had kids and 3) because those that didn't have kids and are glad about it don't have anyone to tell them that there's a debate going on about it.

My bet is that, if she remains childless as the report suggests some 2/3 of her peers will, then she'll be ruing it greatly. They nearly always do and those that say they don't are nearly always fibbing.

Regrets are something which all of us - as we go through our lives - do our best to avoid having. We avoid them, because we can not turn the clock back and change anything - so we make the best of what we've got and the decisions we've made and put a brave face on it. We're all usually too busy to have regrets.

But when you get old and your days are spent sitting alone with nothing but your thoughts - unable to see the telly properly, unable to hear the radio clearly ; just empty silence - then those regrets come back to haunt you.

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