A road less travelled

The old girl from Ongerup half-choked on a yabby at my confession. Wide eyed, jaw on the floor, she sat by the 40 gallon drum fire in outback Australia. Speechless. A silence so awkward that anyone would think I’d confessed to have been Charles Manson’s wing man. Her hubby shuffled up joyfully with a swag of marron we helped catch from his abundant dam and soon we were chowing down on those mud lovin’ dwellers with the enthusiasm of kids on a carousel. A feast before a festival where I was invited to be a guest chef.

This was not the first time I had encountered ‘that face’, however this was certainly the most blatant display of shock, awe, and dare I say a teaspoon of disgust. “What announcement could be so arresting that it can stop a grown woman mid chew?” I hear you ask.

From where I write today – poolside at a luxury spa hotel destination in Byron Bay, my hometown for the last nine years – there are more women in foal than not, or so it seemed at the continental breakfast buffet this morning. More humps than a Wednesday. The need to breed is as ripe as a late picked riesling. Just not for me. Never. Nope, never had the urge, the calling or the tick-tock of the body clock. It’s as simple as that. Across the planet, women without children attract a ‘tsk tsk’ from many a maternal observer.

“Careerists” they curse. “Selfish” they shriek. Yet deep down there’s often a collective cocktail of pity, envy and pride. I know this well, because everyone who asks me “do you have kids?’ reacts with one or a trifecta of all three. To be honest, it never really bothered me until Ongerup. I happily oohed and aahed at baby showers. I continue to corral kids I barely know into the kitchen, and hold those I love more tightly than a mischief of Collingwood supporters.

Kids are awesome – they understand the secret language of Nyanganyang – and any other ridiculous banter I’ll offer up. I watch with deep affection as devoted parents and besotted grandparents in my world raise their young. I love it, but it was never part of my plan, and I am grateful I politely declined invitations to parenthood.

My ‘children’ are the people I cook for, teach and instil the love, passion and the spiritual connection of good food. This is my calling. It always has been and I have known my soul purpose since the day I signed up for a life in hospitality, which in turn birthed the creation of my thriving wellness business.

Success is about vision and the application of a craft over decades. Motherhood is one of the most successful journeys a girl can bake. The decision not to bear my own biological fruit is a deeply personal one much like religion, and it is one that needs to be respected without judgement. Rest assured it is not a lonely road, it is a well beaten path of love, connection, freedom, independence and an alternate pursuit of happiness.

Yabby recipe



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