Children are miracles. Pregnancy alone is truly a wonder. How could one not be amazed by one human being carrying another in her body for 9 months, and pushing the tiny human being out to bring him or her into the world? Child birth and parenthood are special, and those who properly parent their children should be highly commended. Parenthood is one of the biggest responsibilities in the world; a responsibility that I do not want to shoulder. Ever.
Now, before you jump down my throat, I am not one of those people who dislikes children. I think children are creative, imaginative beings who often see things more clearly than adults do. Most children bring joy to their parents’ lives and enrich the lives of those they are surrounded by. But motherhood is just not for me.
My choice to not have children has absolutely nothing to do with my upbringing. My parents never gave me any reason to not want to become a mother; this was simply a decision that I came to on my own. I was lucky enough to be born into a loving, generous, nurturing family. My mother and father provided a stable, supportive environment for me to grow up in. They have been happily married for more than 25 years, which is a rarity in today’s day and age.
If you’re like most people I’ve met, you are probably thinking, “Well, if you like children, why don’t you want any of your own?” or my favorite, “Oh, you’re so young. You’ll eventually change your mind!” Many parents assume that because they have children, everyone else wants children of their own, too. Well, they’re all wrong!
First of all, I am actually pretty offended that people even have the audacity to ask me why I don’t want children. Frankly, I don’t feel that’s anyone’s business except my own. It is such a personal question. A big decision such as parenthood should not be up for anyone’s review or judgment. Suppose I really wanted children someday but was unable to do so because of a medical condition, and I was covering up for this medical condition by saying that I just didn’t want children (which is definitely not the case, but we’re speaking hypothetically here). Wouldn’t these enquirers feel like idiots after I told them that I was physically unable to have children? My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years after she had me. Unfortunately, she was unable to have more children like she had planned because of the medications she was on. People have actually told her that she is selfish for only having one child. REALLY?! When she tells them about her medical condition (which is, again, nobody’s business), they feel like the morons that they are.
I also love how people assume that I will change my mind about having children. I am 23 years old, and for as long as I can remember, I never wanted to have children. It is simply just not part of my life plan. I know what I want and what I don’t want. Society likes to dictate what is and is not socially acceptable, what we should and should not do. It is socially expected to have children when you have the means to do so, which means that if you are married or in some sort of committed relationship, you will soon be hearing the nagging questions about the possibility of parenthood. Give it a rest! No, I do not want children. Yes, I can guarantee that I will not change my mind. I will be 40 and childless by choice. This is as certain as Christmas coming on December 25.
For all the stories of child abuse and neglect that are ubiquitous in local newspapers, one would think that society wouldn’t be so pushy about women having children. This is NOT to say that I would ever abuse or neglect a child. I wouldn’t dare. Anyone who abuses a child or an animal should be solitarily locked away in a dungeon for the rest of their life and be fed only moldy bread and disease-infested water. These monsters that abuse and neglect their children are obviously unfit to be parents. I am not implying that all of them gave birth to their children simply because they had felt some sort of pressure to do so, but this brings me to another point: Not everyone is meant to be a parent. Being a parent requires selflessness, patience and love, qualities that child abusers clearly do not possess. Stories of child abuse make me angry not only for the abused children, but for the good people who truly want to have children but are having difficulties conceiving. My heart breaks for these people. That being said, I would never bring a child into this world unless I was 100% certain that I wanted to. In a perfect world, each child would be brought into the world surrounded by a loving family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, which brings me back to the point that parenthood is a decision that should be not taken lightly. A couple’s decision to have a child affects a certain group of people for the rest of their lives.
Those who choose not to have children, take heed. Go with your gut feeling. Do not listen to those who think it is only “natural” to want children at some point in your life. Live your life the way you want to, and enjoy it.
And to those who have and continue to ask me why I don’t want kids, and then try to make me feel like less of a person because of my decision: Mind your business and concentrate on your own life.