When I Say I Do Not Want Children

There is a gulf between my head, heart, and body that it is not possible to close

Stephanie Eisler Vance
Human Parts


Image by author

This piece was first performed on September 16, 2021 at Parkside Lounge in New York City.

It is dedicated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, five members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the 87th Legislature of the state of Texas.

My body wants to bear children.

My body wants to bear children so badly, it will latch onto the tiniest seed of possibility, and it will grow a garden of it. I know this because it has tried. The body wants what it wants, and the body does not lie.

It is not a lie, though, to say I do not want children. Though I have imagined holding a tiny human to my chest, gentle sway and low hum. What a hummingbird heartbeat that I made, beating out of time and against my skin, would feel like.

I have imagined this, I have imagined all manner of things, and it is not a lie to say I do not want children.

When I say I do not want children, I mean there is not a man alive I would trust to be my baby daddy. Which you could call a “me” problem, but “me” “us” “him” “them” what exactly is the difference?