Book Review: Selfish, Shallow & Self Absorbed

Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids — edited by Meghan Daum

As Daum writes in the introduction, her “lack of desire to have children felt hardwired from birth, almost like sexual orientation or gender identity” and reading this rang my bell. From an early age I wasn’t interested in having children. Other girls would see babies and toddlers and dissolve into gushing and cooing; they’d rush in. I, on the other hand, would stand back, silent, bewilderingly unmoved and waiting for it to be over. The odd time—if I’m in the mood for trying to disguise my disinterest—I’ll try to engage with the baby or toddler by smiling or making funny faces or uttering unconvincing approximations of maternal glee, but most often I get the blank, cool-eyed response. You can’t fool the wee ones, they know an impostor when they see one.

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