“Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.” (Elizabeth Gilbert, from Eat Pray Love.)

In Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) realizes that she does not want to have children, and this is part of what leads to her divorce. Today, more and more women are having children later, or deciding they don’t want to have children at all. But it still seems the first question asked of married couples once they’ve said their vows is, “When are you going to have a baby?” This can lead women (and their partners) who are either delaying having children, or opting out of childrearing altogether, to suffer feelings of defensiveness and inadequacy. And the other side of the story is that parents (like me: I’m a relatively young mother of two and the fact that I’m raising toddlers is more often than not greeted with surprise by the people who meet me) are often asked incredulously how much of their lives and themselves they’ve had to give up to raise children, and whether it’s worth it. (It is! But it is also all-consuming.)

Do you have children? Do you sometimes feel exhausted, and like taking a soul-exploring trip a la Gilbert is a dream you wish you’d realized before you had your babies? How do you deal with these feelings? And if you don’t have children, and don’t plan to, why or why not have you made this decision? Do you see someone like Gilbert as an inspiration?

Marissa Stapley is a freelance writer, editor, and author who lives in Toronto. Her first novel, Saving the World (in Sensible Shoes) will be released by Key Porter Books in Spring 2011.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Eat Pray Love Eat Pray Love on facebook