The (Bitter) Pill

Sometimes I wonder how the people who invented the pill imagined the future.

MastersofSex

The Master in Masters of Sex

Was there an upper class of childless retirees, sipping cocktails and smacking their still youthful lips together by the pool?

Were children brought up in laboratories and rented to the highest bidder, or grown off shore in new world economies?

Or maybe, instead of a lifetime of hedonism and debauchery, people volunteered their time and wealth to protecting panda bears?

It’s hard to know what they dreamed, but I doubt they expected to still be debating the pros and cons of paternity leave, much less reproductive rights.

It’s a peculiar little world we live in.

The other day an article was sent to my Inbox.

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 10.40.25 AM

It immediately had me contemplating a new form of glass ceiling I’ve encountered in my quest for jobs and houses.

Part-time work is hard to come by. You know immediately when you see the words “Suits mother returning to work” that you’re doomed.

Glass ceiling

Wannabe writers need not apply

A person who writes mediocre blogs in their spare time simply can’t compete with the Queen Bees of the labour force.

And yet, I ask you, who’s the safer bet?

The woman whose thankless progeny are determined to make her late to work two days out of three, or the one who’s just figured out that at her current rate of pay she’ll be working till 105 to save for her retirement?

It’s no more logical than the ads for three bedroom rentals. “Perfect family home. Close to schools and transport…”

Like the only people in need of public transport are those who procreate.

Like two childless women don’t need an extra room to house their nephews, nieces and hordes of child popping relatives.

And just before you say it. I’m not childless because I dislike the snotty nosed!

(Did you know this is an actual book?)

(Did you know this is an actual book?)

I love children. And that is why I’m childless. (I make a way better Aunt than I ever would a mum. Just ask Pepi.)

But I wonder why, fifty years on from the sexual revolution, this is still a choice we need to justify?

The whole topic makes me want to spontaneously break into a Lily Allen flash dance…

“It’s hard out here for a b****” 

(*childless wannabe writer)

Only I just got a call from an employer.

And they want to hire me. Me?!

And here’s the stunner:

My childless delusions of creative grandeur appear to have been deemed an asset!

Of course, if I tell you it’s in the entertainment industry, I know what you’ll be thinking.

And that may well have been my next port of call.

But this is legit. As of this week, I’ll be a ticketing officer (which is my fancy way of saying I’ll be working in a call centre).

Real money, for real work, with real people and stuff.

So now I’m swallowing my words. And busting out another kind of glass…

champagne

What did you think the pill would do for you?

Comments

  1. says

    I thought the pill would even the playing field, so women wouldn’t be forced to have children. I also thought it would mean that people would stop calling sexually active women names. And I thought the pill would mean that all children who were conceived would be wanted.

    Yes. I was that naïve.

    I also thought women would have pay equity by now.

    But then again, I thought we were going to have gay marriage by the late ’80s.

    I was that optimistic, too.

    Congratulations on the job! And on the childlessness. I think not having children is just as excellent a choice as having children. I never imagined we’d still be having conversations about that. Because, you know, optimist.

    • says

      “I thought the pill would mean that all children who were conceived would be wanted”. Indeed! That’s a worthy topic by itself!

      All these changes probably always start from an idealistic or optimistic viewpoint, and that’s a good thing, else we would never change. Nothing wrong with that. Someone told me once I was young and idealistic, and that was not meant as a compliment. But I hope to always be that way 🙂

  2. says

    Congratulations on the new job Alarna!
    One thing I can say is being married and not having children is perceived in a very strange way in our very modern society. Who you’d have thought… But, I can tell you from personal experience that I feel I need to justify myself why we don’t have children. Some people are just ignorant. They don’t understand that some people choose to not have children and others want to but can’t. Sometimes, I just can’t believe how many people there are who still believe that a marriage should be between a woman and a man and that if you are married then, it’s automatic that you should have children… I guess there always will be some ignorant people no matter the time we live in.

    • says

      Yes, I think you’re right Rita. The decision to have kids or not is a very personal and sometimes painful one. It would be nice to think that one day, as a society, those questions will have no more or less importance than what we choose to do for a living or where we choose to live or any other thing. Though, in reverse, I will say that when someone recently asked me if I will have kids, knowing the kind of relationship I am in, I was hugely complimented. Because it was a sign of acceptance, not judgment.

  3. says

    I envy the childless. I wouldn’t give up my kids now, because I love the little bloodsuckers, but if I were planning my life over again I’m not sure I would plan for children. There’s so much more freedom for a woman when she doesn’t have to give all her time and attention (and money, let’s face it) to caring for the kids. I would have spoiled my nieces and nephews silly!

    • says

      I can totally see the appeal of having a couple of cute little bloodsuckers around. Though I’ve never been conflicted about having my own, I’d happily adopt my nephews/niece if anyone would let me! So what am I saying? You’d think the choice would be more clear cut for people, wouldn’t you? But I guess they have more going for them than we like to believe 🙂

  4. says

    Congrats on the new job, love! We are a childless couple by choice and I’ve gotten used to the incessant questioning by others. Such a personal question that strangers love to ask me the moment I mention that I have a husband. Luckily, we never had parents who pressured us, so we have enjoyed the freedom of living our lives the way we want. We understand that having children is a lifelong commitment. Unfortunately, many do not get this in the world, have regrets, and their children suffer.

    • says

      Full respect to you and hubby for having that kind of foresight. They are a lifetime commitment – like pets, only a bazillion times more scary. When you put it like that, freedom sounds way better 🙂

  5. says

    Congratulations on your new job, Alarna! 🙂
    I have always felt that it would be easier to just be an aunt, who spoils her nieces and nephews silly, without having to worry about waking up in the middle of the night to change their nappies. 😉

  6. says

    Alarna I loved this post. I get tired of people putting us all in little slotted boxes. We are all unique. Congrats on your new job. We all need to put food on the table and we can still work on our dreams too. Where I live it is hard to find work because we are so far from town. By the time you drive in, its not worth the low wage. Country life is hard in that respect. Wages and choices are limited. I love your advice that just because you don’t have kids does not mean you don’t need room for all your extended family. Im off to check why your posts are not coming into my inbox….something going on when I don’t get my weekly hit of your great blog.

    • says

      That’s the catch 22 with living in the country isn’t it? I’d love to make that happen one day, but first I’ll need to be sure I can feed myself! Sorry you haven’t been getting my posts. I don’t know how that can be?? Have you tried going to the reader, blogs I follow, and editing it there? You should see an option to get posts instantly via email.

      • says

        I have so many blogs I follow the other week I sorted them out, I had you on weekly and had changed it to instantly and now I have not received any….must be a glitch? I will see what happens next week or when you post your next one? Otherwise Im not sure unless I unfollow and follow again? We will see. Happy wednesday.

      • says

        Not sure why but I did not get it. I checked my blogs and it was on daily, don’t know how, but I should have still got it. I have now put it on Instantly, so I hope I get something soon. Will look forward to reading it later in the day Alarna.

      • says

        Sorry for my belated reply. It’s terrible you are having such trouble – I really don’t know why. I am signed up to follow my own blog on multiple emails and they’ve been coming through, so hopefully the instant thing will fix it?? :/

  7. says

    Lovely post. It sure makes you wonder. They promote drugs like Viagra for men, but women on birth control must be promiscuous. It’s because Men make the rules, and they are trying hard not to let the rules change. What? Give women the freedom a Man has? Perish the thought!

    If not for my mom being Catholic and therefore not permitted to use birth control, I probably would never have been born. You see, I am number 6 of 8 children. I think if mom was allowed, she would have taken the pill after the first 5!

    But there you go; Men still trying to control women by controlling their reproductive rights and paying them less. And blaming Mothers for all the things their children may do. They never point the finger at Dad when Jr. ends up in jail. It’s always the Mother’s fault.

    Really interesting post. I will have to read more of your blog.

    • says

      Always the mother’s fault – I wonder who gets the credit for the good stuff? 🙂 I suppose men would say in their defence that getting the snip is slightly more traumatic than taking the pill, and I couldn’t fault them there! But one of 8 – wow. That is a big brood.

      Thanks so much for reading and your insightful comment! I’ll be over to visit your way soon 🙂

  8. says

    Congrats on the new job! Entertainment industry would have been . . . interesting. 😉

    Good question re: the pill and what we thought it would do. I guess give women a choice, and it sounds like you’re making one. That’s good! That’s the idea!

  9. says

    Congrats on the new job! Bizarrely enough, I once worked with the inventor of the Pill – he’s a retired gazillionaire now and writes plays for fun. Muggins here, fresh out of drama school and terrified of everyone and everything, got to be his script editor for a play that was going to Edinburgh. He was the biggest chauvinist I have ever encountered. Dismissed every note I gave him out of hand, told me I couldn’t possibly understand the play as I wasn’t married, talked over me during rehearsal… ooh it still makes my blood boil more than a decade later! Ironic, when you consider that if it wasn’t for him I probably would have been barefoot and pregnant rather than vainly trying to make his crap play make a blind bit of sense!

    • says

      That’s such a cool story! Somehow, not surprising that the inventor of the pill is a chauvinist…maybe he thought you should have been barefoot and pregnant. But you’re still in the biz, and doing very well despite him! Does he still write plays, I wonder, and does anyone see them?

      • says

        Indeed I bloody am! He does apparently – had a play on at the Kings Head this summer I believe – whether anyone saw/enjoyed it is another matter, but he produces them himself (i.e. puts up the money) so he’ll always get them onstage… grrr!!

  10. says

    Hi Alarna: So, so sorry we’ve been ghosts as of late. We’ve been locked away in our writing room, working on Book#2 of our P-7 series. But we’re almost done, which means we’ll be done with these crazy hours & back to our regular blogging. We’ve missed our blogging buds, like you so much!!! Now, onto your post (great one btw). I loved this. I mean really, really loved this!!! 😉 I was beginning to feel alien as of late and very isolated from the world. I know mom’s probably told you, I suffer from being an extreme introvert (as many writers do) but more than that, I can become reclusive & block the world out until mom makes me “detox” as she puts it, by pushing me back in. Well, in this isolated state it’s very hard for me to meet guys. Add that with the fact that I’m not sure whether I even want to have kids or better, (get married) and you have: 20 of my mom’s friends, 10 family members, 4 college girlfriends, 3- brother’s buddies & my minister in a pear tree ~ ~ ~ All them, with full-time jobs trying to get me hitched & knocked up before the big 30. lmao 😛 According to them, my biological clock is not only ringing that bitch is on snooze!! Don’t get me wrong, like you, I love children. And I spoil my nieces & nephews rotten. But for me, that’s enough; for now. So for me, Alarna, this post was a breath of fresh air & for the first time in my weird life, made me feel not so strange….alien….need I say, it almost made me feel normal? And the perfect pro’s as to why our argument makes sense! Sharing this now, you’re my idol!!! 😉 xoxo

    • says

      Aw, I’ve never been anyone’s idol before 😉 But seriously, there is nothing abnormal about not wanting to have kids or at least delaying the process. That’s what choices were meant to be about. So feel free to keep pressing snooze!

      Also, us introverts can sometimes work slower than other people. It’s like we get more confident and more able to deal with the world as we get older, not the other way around. I’ve been living under my little rock my whole life, but as I get older, I’m starting to feel okay about embracing the world. We’re all different. Don’t feel bad about going with your natural rhythm – it’ll all work out in the end 🙂

      (PS. No apologies necessary!! I’ve been equally absent, as I’ve been needing to get acquainted with my real life for a while. The ebb and flow is good. And if it means you’re being productive, even better!) xoxo

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