Woman in her 30s cries describing finally wanting kids after swearing off marriage: 'Betrayed by feminism'

A 38-year-old woman described feeling terrified after realizing she wants a family and to be married.

Woman in her 30s cries describing finally wanting kids after swearing off marriage: 'Betrayed by feminism'

A woman said she felt "betrayed by feminism" after deciding she wanted to settle down, have a family and a husband as she approached 39th birthday. At one point during the interview with Fox News Digital, she broke down crying describing how she feared she would end up alone and childless. 

Melissa Persling recently wrote an essay for Business Insider titled, "I'm 38 and single, and I recently realized I want a child. I'm terrified I've missed my opportunity." She said after it went viral in November, hate began to pour in from men telling her that she's lived a selfish life. Persling has a much different account of her story.

When Persling was 22, she married a traditional man and moved to a rural community in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where she grew up. 

"He wanted a simple life with children and home-cooked meals," she said. However, Persling – despite coming from a religious Christian background – made it clear to her husband-to-be that she did not want children. 

"At that time I felt very strongly I did not want children, that I wasn't going to be like the traditional housewife. I knew I did want to pursue a career," she told Fox News Digital in an interview. "And I felt very strongly that that would never change. And I guess I was wrong." 

Persling said both her and her ex thought that love could conquer everything, but after 10 years it was clear their differences in life goals were irreconcilable. Persling said she became resentful when he would ask for dinner or for his laundry to be done. 

"I did little to hide my disdain for our small-town life. He was a good and hardworking man, but I don't think I made him feel that way," she said. 

At 30, Persling and her ex divorced; she swore off the idea of marriage.

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"I told my friends and family I'd never get married again. I needed independence, a fulfilling career, and space to chart my own course, and I didn't think marriage fit into that vision. I was content to look toward a future without a husband, children, or the trappings of a 'traditional' life,'" she wrote. 

As she grew older, however, the fun, carefree lifestyle – being wined and dined, going to parties – began to get old. The pursuit of comfort and self became dull, she said. 

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When she turned 38, terror began to take over. 

"I was panic-stricken. I really thought I'm going to be alone forever. It really scared me. I almost wrote [the article] as sort of a warning to other women. I don't want people to miss out on the important things in life because they're just enjoying themselves because I don't think that that's ever going to really make you happy," she said.

She wrote in the article how she felt "urgency" to find a stable relationship and was rethinking about wanting marriage and children. 

"I hardly recognized myself," she wrote in the article. "I also began to feel selfish for spending so much time focusing solely on myself… My very existence started to feel shallow and hollow."

In retrospect, Persling believed she had some self-discovery and work for herself to do, and it took time to sort through previous trauma. Her parents' divorce, which she described as coming from "a broken home," took time to heal and sort through to find out what she really wanted. 

"I grew up in a fairly traditional family, but my parents were divorced. And I would say that probably had some effect on my feelings about having a family coming from a broken home certainly has its hardships," she told Fox News Digital. 

At one point, she recalled a man coming over to her in a coffee store who randomly told her not to lose hope – that God had a plan for her. 

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And then a happy turn to Persling's story arrived, which she describes as the exception and not the rule for women in her age group. Shortly after penning the article, she dated a man who she previously befriended. They're already talking about marriage and a future.

She dished on the details: "So it's a guy that I've been friends with, and we've always just sort of stayed in touch. And we did go on one date about a year ago, and I told him, ‘I just want to be friends with you.'"

After her epiphany that she wanted a traditional life – the realization that he was "the one" hit her like "a ton of bricks."

"This guy is the one that God's been preparing for me," she said. 

"I've had these relationships since where there were so many butterflies and so many like, ‘Oh my gosh, checking my phone. Did he text?’ And I realized, that's not love. That's anxiety. I never knew where I stood with those people. I could never envision a future with those people." 

Persling said she is looking forward to a modest, meaningful and happy future. 

"Moving into my future, I'm not going to be traveling. I'm not going to have a lot of extra money. I'm not going to be going out for fancy dinners and I'm OK with that," she said. "I'm ready for that. I think that's what's really going to make me happy. Like I'm so done just making myself happy."

"You think you're happy when you're doing all these things [when you're single] to make yourself happy. I don't think you really are. It's the relationships that make you happy. It's building something with another person. It's creating a life with another person, having goals and plans with another person. It's making other people happy. Making people you love happy. That's happiness. I really don't think I will know true happiness until I'm in that place." 

While Persling doesn't consider herself a feminist, she attributed feminism – in part – as the reason she had thought negatively about marriage.

"I feel unbelievably betrayed by feminism, and I don't want to put it on the movement [entirely] because I believe you make your own choices… But I was constantly fed this idea that women can do everything. We don't really need men... I kind of want to go back to some of those teachers and coaches and say, 'What did you mean by that? Because we can't do it all.'" 

"I feel like I'm in such a different place now. And I'm so ready for that now. I understand what the sacrifice of marriage is and what the beauty of marriage is now, and I don't think I appreciated what family means for a long time. I don't think I truly understood," she said during the interview. "I don't care if I ever put on heels and go to a fancy dinner again. That stuff does not matter. I promise you young women it will never make you happy."

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