by: Mary Vermillion
My younger sister must have been in junior high when she told me how many children she wanted. Six. And bless her heart, she continued to want six until she had four. Yes, ours is a Catholic family. But in Atlantic, Iowa, even the Protestants had lots of children. My best friend, a Lutheran, was the second-to-the-youngest of six. I was the oldest of four. How many kids did I want? Zero.
When I thoughtlessly shared this desire with my mother, she said the same thing she would say to me years later when I came out to her as a lesbian: Oh, you’ll change your mind.
But I knew I wouldn’t. I knew that I’d never want kids and that this made me odd-girl-out. Mostly, I savored the role of rebel outsider, but because I was raised Catholic, sometimes I also wondered if something was wrong with me. Yet I can’t blame all my angst on the Church. Science also had a hand. When I studied evolution, I realized that I lacked a basic biological impulse. If the rest of humanity were like me, we would soon be extinct!