One morning on a train, a girl about five years old was sitting in front of me with her father. She peeked her face between the seats’ headrests, clearly wishing to interact with me as I was reading a book. She made some noise to make her presence known and cemented her face in the opening of the seats. Noticing in my periphery her assumption that all adults would oblige to her demands for attention, I kept my eyes on my book. She resigned and turned to her father, who had his eyes on his phone, oblivious of his daughter’s doings.
I know for some women, babies have already been in their life goal since their menarche. My sister was one. As long as I have known her, she’d become extremely fervent with infants of relatives and neighbors. She’d stare at them, hold them, smell them, croon them, and venerate their mothers. I had initially thought she was simply a social butterfly, such as she was, and my withdrawal was due to shyness rather than indifference. I believed motherhood was instead an inevitable path all women were destined to follow, regardless of their desire. Before I knew of sex, I believed a baby grows naturally in a woman’s stomach when the time comes, and by the time comes, one would happen to be married. Even after I learned about the wonder of biology, started menstruating, graduated university, got a job, relocated several times, lived with a partner, left the partner, and until I was in mid-thirties, the idea of motherhood remained alien to me.