I have three younger brothers, and helping with them while I was growing up showed me what a pain in the rear kids are. Some people in big families grow up and then want to have a big family of their own… I feel the opposite. I was 13 when my youngest brother was born, and I helped with him as much as I could, and as much as any thirteen year old would. I love my brothers dearly, and I miss when they were little shits, but you know, I’ve seen how absolutely insane having kids can be. How completely heart wrenching, nerve racking, and infuriating. I know, I know, there are great things and moments too… but what I think it boils down to is that I am just not interested in giving up so much of myself for anyone else.
Call me selfish, I don’t care, but I like my life with my husband the way it is. We can do what we what, go where we want, buy what we want, and we only have ourselves (and three cats) to worry about. And we aren’t really even very good at that. Throw in the stress- emotionally, physically, financially, of kids and I have no idea how we would go on AND remain happy.
I’m nearing thirty, and people are still like “Oh, you’ll change your mind someday…” “When are you and Jess going to have kids?” “One day, you’ll wake up and want to have a money hungry, wailing baby to care for…. Promise!” haha! It is so frustrating, and SO infantilising to be told, as an adult person, that I don’t know my own mind and my own heart. That’s not to say that there have been times when I thought I changed my mind, or that I won’t change my mind down the road, but I can promise you here and now that I don’t think I will ever truly, from the bottom of my heart, desire children. And you know what, that’s ok.
I’m childfree and happy about it. I’m childfree and still, amazingly, a whole real person. I don’t have to be a mom to manifest my true womanhood. My purpose on this Earth isn’t to procreate. Children aren’t the endgame in all marriages. And, simply, some people just don’t wish to be parents. End of story.
I saw an article this week that having a kid makes more of a mental/emotional impact than almost any other major life event, including, divorce, losing your job, or the death of a partner! Having a kid is worse for you than losing your husband or wife!!! No thanks.
I’ve volunteered with teens, I’m a troop leader for 4th grade girls, I’ve baby sat, changed diapers, fed babies bottles, tried and failed to calm a screaming baby, I am a big sister, and yet, I know I don’t know the feelings of being a parent- the close happiness that only mom’s feel when seeing a smile on their kids face, or tucking them in at night, or the pride parents feel when their child accomplishes something great. I know that, and I know that I’m missing out on experiences… but some experiences aren’t for me, and I love having the freedom to choose that.
I am so many things. I have so many interests, passions, dreams, goals, hopes, and wishes. I don’t feel a vast, gaping emptiness in my life that only children can fill. And yet, I still, obviously, feel the need to explain myself. I can’t say I blame people for making assumptions, because having children is the ‘norm’ and by not having them, I’m defying it. I don’t run into as much questioning about it anymore, I think the people close to me understand and I’ve been pretty consistent with my child free opinion that they know not to push the issue.
I’m sure one of my brothers will give my mom grandchildren, but Jess is an only child, so his mom probably won’t ever have human grandchildren if we don’t change our minds. Hopefully, our three fur children are enough!
It is such a personal issue, I caution anyone to be a little careful questioning someone about why they don’t have kids. In my case, I don’t want them, but in someone else’s case, they might be having fertility problems and are unable to conceive and that is such an emotional issue they don’t need reminders from people, from total strangers to close family members, that they haven’t gotten pregnant yet.
I think, as a human person, my manifest destiny is to be an amazing Aunt Rachael, to spoil Haleah’s daughter, my cousins’ kids, and my brothers’ eventual children (if they choose to have them!) and to be a volunteer that works towards enriching the lives of kids, be it through my past interfaith work with teenagers, or my present volunteer position with Girl Scouts.
And, just to note, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting, desperately, to be a mom! Or, wanting to be a stay at home mom, or a career mom, or whatever, if you want to have kids, have kids! I absolutely respect that, all I ask in return is the same sort of respect for my choice to not have kids!