I am quickly approaching 30 and I am now in the age range where it is expected of me to have kids. For the record, I have never wanted kids. I have known this since I was 7-years old, when I had a panicked thought that as a woman I had to have kids.
I grew up and realized I didn’t have to do anything. Kids are a choice, not a requirement.
So for many years, I have told people that I don’t want kids, and I got the requisite, “Oh, just wait ‘til you’re 30! You’ll change your mind.” I am practically there and I have to say that in my life I have never wavered once — not even a bit.
I have already disappointed my family and my partner’s family (of course, this is a choice we agree on) — all of which is exacerbated by the fact that my partner and I are both only children. It’s the end of the line and the onus is on me. But guilt is not a reason to have a kid.
Being of an age where most people want kids, and me continuing to realize that I (still) don’t, I am starting to look into permanent options to remain childfree. It’s kind of scary and awesome, but it sure does make my decision final, which seems to make other people uncomfortable.
I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about me and assumptions around being childfree. Here are 4 common misconceptions about being childfree by choice:
This is absolutely, completely not true. I have worked in education for most of my adult life, working as an afterschool program manager, and teaching artist. I love working with children for many reasons. They are so malleable and have fantastic energy. Teaching theater to elementary school students has been one of my favorite jobs — young kids don’t have an ego about them, they are curious, inquisitive and passionate. I have often said, I’ve learned far more from working with kids than I have from teaching them. I don’t want kids of my own, because I feel like I have many of them all over the country. I think this assumption is unfair and just shows how difficult it is for some people to comprehend that a woman could willingly not want to have kids, yet still like them. Because there must be something wrong, right?
People often think that I’m just “immature” and I’ll “grow out of it” “when I’m ready.” Not wanting to have kids has nothing to do with maturity and everything to do with knowing myself really really well. As we know plenty of people of all maturity and experience levels have kids.
Nope. Sorry to put the kibosh on this one, but I didn’t have a terrible, traumatic childhood that made me swear off having kids forever. My parents were normal, loving, and kind. I was a pretty normal kid — I played outside (do kids still do that anymore?), watched TV, and had a wild imagination as an only child. Nothing about my childhood has affected my decision and I think it’s unfair to assume that people have to be severely hurt or traumatized to not want kids.
Lonely? Nope. Raging? Only sometimes. Feminist? Check. By the way, being a feminist doesn’t mean you hate men, in case you are following the INSANE women against feminism movement. I am in a happy, committed relationship and we both knew before we were together that we didn’t want kids. Because if one person wanted kids and the other didn’t, wouldn’t that be a deal breaker (it should be!)?
I have said it before and I’ll say it again. There is no reward or adulation for not having kids. No one says, “Great job! You can’t afford them anyways, you are making the right decision!”
Nobody says, “Thanks for not bringing an unwanted child into the world.”
Why? Because we are judged. It is an unconventional choice and many people can’t handle it. Just because I don’t want kids, doesn’t make me disapprove of your decision to have them.
I don’t judge any of my friends for having or wanting kids, so I ask for the same respect.