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Dear table of moms at my favorite coffee house,

It was a lovely day. I needed to complete some work and I chose to sit outside. But after a very short while, I had to move inside.

You see, your conversation was breaking my heart.

I’m a childless women. It wasn’t something I necessarily chose for myself. Due to life’s timing and reproductive health issues, having children doesn’t seem like the best option for me.

But you didn’t take into consideration when your conversation was loud enough to hear on the patio.

You first complain about the childless women who make judgments on parenting. I’ll give you that one. We don’t have the right to be a Monday morning quarterback when it comes to your children, especially since we don’t know what challenges your children may have.

But then you started talking about the women who look at their pets like children among some other snide comments. While I’m not one, I know women who do consider their pets like children. There are a number of reasons women don’t have children- out of choice or out of circumstance. But just like you don’t want us to make fun of your parenting styles, we don’t want you to make fun of the way we live our lives. We don’t know what you go through; you don’t know what we go through either.

The condescending tone was too much for me. I haven’t quite transcended the way life has happened for me and attained peace with it.

And that’s when I moved inside.

I thought about chatting with you about your derogatory tone. Maybe I would start a conversation about how difficult it is to be unmarried without children or married with children or married without children and with two dogs.

But sometimes we don’t have the energy to educate you through our pain. So I moved inside on this beautiful day. It was my choice, but it was the healthiest choice for me.

So, if any of you happen to read this, just be sensitive to the women surrounding you. There may still be a piece of us who are envious of your life, of your privilege to connect with mommy groups, of being able to attain the family structure you dreamed of when you were a child. You don’t know what the roads we’ve been on and the dreams dropped along the way. You may not have a cycle or biology that has reminded you on a monthly basis that bearing children would be an uphill battle.

Women of family structure privilege: complain about us or make fun of us if you must make yourselves feel better this way, but just do so in private spaces. Know that there are people surrounding you that are trying to heal and your voice is reopening wounds.