Guest Post By Bonnie Stein
I just read Nicole Ciomek’s interview on TheNotMom.com, and it’s so interesting for me to compare a NotMom at 33 years old (Nicole, who wanted to have children) with a NotMom (me) at 59 years old who never wanted to have children.
I was Nicole’s Racewalking Coach in Atlanta, and met her when she was ten years old. She was a great little athlete and went on to compete in the
National Junior Olympics for racewalking when she was 12. At 14, she was part of the National Youth Racewalk summer camp in Maine, where I was one of the assistant coaches. I eventually moved from Atlanta back to Florida, yet went back to Atlanta for Nicole’s high school graduation when she was 18.
It’s so different for me to visualize Nicole as a 33 year old woman now, married to someone that I’ve never met, living on the other side of the U.S., and all grown up with some pretty serious health challenges that she has overcome. When I found out about her cancer, I sent her an email saying that there are some benefits (I think there are many benefits) to being child-free, yet, it’s difficult to portray that vision to someone who feels overwhelmed and saddened about her condition at the time.
At seven years old, I was quite sure that I never wanted children. When other little girls were playing with baby dolls, I had my dolls on my bed “in school.” They all sat propped up with a “Little Golden Book” in each of their laps. Even Barbie had a book. Stuffed animals, too. My “teacher” instinct took the place of any mother instinct that a little girl might have had. It’s not that I didn’t like children because all of my jobs from pre-teen years through college and beyond, involved children. It’s that I didn’t want to live with them once “school” hours were over.