I finished the latest paperback by Adele Parks this week. Called ‘Men I’ve Loved Before’, it is the story of a happily married couple who don’t want kids and are living in perfect harmony, slightly smug when they compare their state of equilibrium to their friends – womanizing Karl with his desperate bridezilla wannabee girlfriend Jen and hen-pecked Tim and his wife Ali, whose one focus in life is getting pregnant.
It all changes when he (Neil) changes his mind and decides he wants kids but she (Nat) hasn’t changed her mind and isn’t going to.
I picked this book up because
a) I’ve enjoyed Adele Parks’ previous novels
b) Any book about a girl who doesn’t want kids is alright by me. Nat is finally a positive role model for the woman (like me) who doesn’t feel the need to reproduce.
It’s a nice change to read a book that isn’t about a couple where
a) she wants kids, he doesn’t
b) they both want kids, but can’t have them
c) she has kids from a previous relationship and needs a man to accept a ready-made family
… you know the usual sort of chick lit fodder.
As somebody who absolutely doesn’t want – and never has wanted – kids, I could really empathise with Nat. Except by about page 150, I knew that by the end of the story, Nat would be happily displaying a baby bump and knitting booties. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Oh, except I was. MASSIVELY disappointed. Of COURSE no normal, healthy woman could possibly not want babies. And of COURSE there is a reason Nat has been reluctant. But it’s all OK in the end as she realises that being a Mum fulfils you and actually of course it’s all she’s ever wanted.
Pass. The. Bucket. And no, I don’t think I’m suffering from morning sickness.
What about those of us who don’t have deep, psychological reasons for not wanting babies? Those of us who don’t have vain and selfish reasons for not wanting babies? Those of us who simply DON’T WANT BABIES. Why not represent our choices and accept that not everybody’s happy ever after involves a stinking, screaming brat.
Looks like I might have to write that one.