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First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes . . . a jet-setting lifestyle, a novel and posh townhouse in London.
For Sonja Lewis, an expat in her 40s, there was never a carriage, stroller or burp cloth. Or childcare. Or school tuition. Instead, Sonja opted out of the idea that all women need children in order to be fulfilled and complete — and now wants to tell the tale.
In her new novel The Barreness, Lewis explores the fraught and emotional territory of going child-free. We called up this Georgia-born journalist and writer in her current home in London — where she happily lives with her husband—and asked her all the questions you’d be too polite to ask.
Why did you write this novel?
I guess you could say I got married late (about 37 or 38) and became obsessed with whether I would have children. And I eventually concluded that being a mother wasn’t the right thing for me.
The previous generation seemed to stereotype non-mothers as selfish, hardcore people, and I wanted to make it clear that women can be fulfilled without becoming mothers. Exploring the subject in the form of a novel gives me free range in how I approach it.
Why did you decide not to have children?
You have to consider the commitment; it’s a lifetime role. As much as I love children, when it really became a viable option for me, the financial commitment, the personal commitment, everything I had to take into consideration . . . It just didn’t make sense.