In 2019, being a woman who doesn’t want children should not be such a difficult thing for other people to accept.
Aside from the fact it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with anyone else but the woman in question, women are not baby factories waiting to be switched on and it shouldn’t matter if they never choose to procreate.
And yet, if a woman even hints that she doesn’t want her own offspring, people go into some sort of meltdown, claiming she couldn’t possibly make that choice.
Growing up, I was never really certain that I’d want children. I think I used to talk about them in my future more to feel included with all of my friends who spoke about their future children, than I did because that’s what I actually wanted.
As I grew older, I began to realise that it wasn’t something I really wanted at all. In fact, being around children – especially babies – makes me incredibly uncomfortable and I could never understand why other women swooned over pudgy faces and that “baby smell”. I lack any maternal instinct around children and took that as a sign that my body is telling me ‘you absolutely do not want this’.
At only 25 years old, people react very strangely when I tell them I don’t want children – I’m immediately met with shock and disbelief. I’m too young, they say. I’ll change my mind when I’m older. I couldn’t possibly know what I want in the future. They don’t believe me or think I’ve just not “met the right man”. I’ve been called stupid, selfish and told that I’ll definitely regret it in the future.
And while I realise that these comments come from a place where there is no understanding, it frustrates me that people refuse to accept it, even if they can’t wrap their heads around why. Instead, my intelligence is insulted and I’m forced to smile and nod as if I don’t know my own feelings.
The idea of a woman not wanting children is still so foreign to people. I find it very bizarre that there is such a strong expectation for modern women to not only have children, but to want to have them in the first place.
I have many reasons for not wanting children. Aside from the fact I’m put off by the preceding 9 months of carrying another human around in my uterus only to have it tear it’s way out at the end, the general aspect of having to be responsible for a smaller version of myself is horrifying to say the least. Children are demanding and require a lot of energy I’m not willing to give up. It’s just not for me, and I think that should be a good enough reason for anyone.
And just because I don’t want children, does not necessarily mean I hate children. I may not particularly like the idea of my own and I certainly am not going to change my mind if you shove your own progeny in my face, but I don’t hate them. That will be different for any woman who chooses not to have children, by all means that could be the sole reason she doesn’t want them. And it shouldn’t matter if it is.
As well as not necessarily hating children, a woman who doesn’t want children is still allowed to enjoy the company of children. She can take care of nieces and nephews and enjoy her time spent with them without it indicating that she suddenly wants one of her own. She can comment that a baby looks adorable or ask for a cuddle and it still doesn’t mean that she wants her own.
All of this I say from experience. I’m sure there are many others who would agree with me that the comments you get as a woman who doesn’t want children make you want to avoid the conversation altogether. They make you feel ashamed and broken, because you don’t have that maternal drive everyone expects you to.
But as you get older and the expectation is still for you to settle down, or when siblings start to have children or parents want to become grandparents, the comments come unsolicited and the topic is unavoidable.
So if you come across someone who openly tells you that they don’t want children, please don’t interrogate them and tell them they’re wrong. Don’t insult their intelligence or their feelings because you can’t comprehend why any woman wouldn’t want to reproduce.
Don’t joke about body clocks or suggest spending time with children might somehow change their mind.
Don’t make unsolicited comments about their age or the expectation for them to start reproducing either. They don’t want your sympathy, their lives aren’t empty. They can’t miss out on a “blessing” they don’t want.
It is a decision a woman makes because of how she feels, and you have no right to try and refute that.
TL;DR: It’s 2019. Women are allowed to not want children.