While there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about getting married and starting a family, it’s safe to say that’s not the dream for everyone, and it certainly isn’t for me. While I’ll hopefully meet a great guy to spend my life with, children will have no part of it. I don’t think it’s a big deal, but you’d never know it considering how often I hear these things from people when they find out I’m staying childfree.
“Don’t your parents want grandkids?” I know that my parents would love grandkids and that they’d be amazing grandparents, and it does suck to know that they’ll never get the opportunity because of me. In truth, it’s the one thing that would ever make me consider having kids. I feel like a jerk when I think about it too much. Still, it’s not up to anyone to make me feel like crap about my decision.
“You’ll change your mind.” I love it when people tell me I’ll change my mind. First, people need to GTFO with this crap. Second, why does anyone think this is appropriate to say, even if they think it? Maybe I will change my mind and I’ll have twins by next year, or maybe I’ll spend the rest of my days as a rich, childless woman who rescues dogs and never has to feel guilty about getting the inevitable nanny. Sure, I might change my mind, but that’s up to me if I do. Some rando telling me I will isn’t going to do the job.
“Your partner will never agree.” The interesting thing about a partnership is that, in theory, you’re a team. You help each other. You make decisions together. You do what’s best for both of you as a unit. While deciding you don’t want children is very personal, it’s also something very serious to talk about with your significant other. That said, the funny thing is, LOTS of people don’t want children or are on the fence about it. For some people, not having children is a deal breaker and for others, it isn’t.
“You’ll like kids someday.” Not only do I not want kids, I don’t really like them in general. The occasional nice/cute/clean one comes along and I think, “This isn’t so bad!” but for the most part, I’m not one of those girls whose ovaries combust when a baby enters the room. Maybe as I get older or when I get married or my dog stops being the best thing to ever happen to me, I’ll like children. Honestly, who knows? Definitely not the person who gave me unsolicited advice about how I just NEED to give birth someday.
“Being a mother is the greatest gift.” It’s the reason we grew up with baby dolls, the reason we played house, and the reason we dreamed of being moms when we were little. Everyone says being a mother is wonderful. I’m sure it IS beautiful, rewarding, and life altering, but just because it’s amazing for some doesn’t mean it would be for everyone. For some people, the greatest gift might be loving themselves, spending all of their days on their work or hobbies, or just not having the responsibility of a child, and that’s okay. It’s a gift being able to pick. Motherhood is a gift because not everyone gets it, not everyone wants it, and not everyone is meant for it.
“So, do you not want to get married either?” It’s funny, but when I think of literally any marriage vows, zero percent of them say anything about children. To have and to hold each other, sure, but to have and to hold children? Nah, that’s not even in the fine print. Being married without kids is apparently pretty freaking awesome. Shared benefits, combined taxes, double incomes, and you get to spend all of that money and time on yourself. What’s not to love?
“You’ll regret it.” I regret not living in my sorority house when I had the chance. I regret not wearing my retainer after my parents paid thousands of dollars for braces. Will I regret having not having children? No. The reason? If for some reason, I change my mind someday, I can always become a mother. Even if I’m dried up, even if my frozen eggs go bad in the freezer, I can adopt and I can still be a mother. What I can’t get back is this time in my 20s.
“What else will you do?” You mean, what will I do when I’m not spending roughly 6,570 days raising another human and then the rest of my life worrying about him or her? Man, that’s a tough one. Maybe I’ll write a book, eat some good food, take up cross-stitching, travel… The question isn’t what else will I do, the question is what WON’T I do?
“Is something wrong?” This is my favorite one because who knew three little words could be so offensive? Maybe I think something is wrong with all the people out there who have children even though they’re unfit. Maybe I think something would be wrong with ME if I choose to have kids, even though I didn’t really want them. Maybe I think the risks of my genetic makeup are a gamble I don’t want to make on a child. Whatever it is, whether something is “wrong” is no one’s business but my own.
“Why?” Becuase it’s my choice. What better reason is there?
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