I’m Not Ready For Kids But I’m Running Out Of Time To Have Them

So many of my friends are having babies, and that’s great, but I’m not quite sure I’m ready to follow in their footsteps — now or ever. Sure, the sound of my biological clock ticking away does sometimes freak me out, but what frightens me more than that is bringing children into this — and more importantly, my — world.

  1. It’s a huge commitment. I’ll never forget what Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Eat, Pray, Love — having babies is like getting a tattoo on your face. You have to really want it, because it’s a lifelong commitment. I don’t know if I’m ready for that or if I ever will be. It’s possible, of course, but I really can’t envision it right now.
  2. It’s scary to have to look after someone for the rest of your life. I know that the mark of a good parent is being there for their kids no matter what, forever. Quite frankly, that scares me. It’s one thing to raise a child, but quite another to then have to be there for them — bail them out of bad situations, worry about the company they’re keeping, help them out financially when they need it — for the rest of my life and theirs. It seems like it never ends.
  3. I fear the physical aspect. I am not good with medical things, so the thought of having a baby growing inside me and all that can go wrong is terrifying, especially because it’s a nine-month process. Then, there’s also the labor, which is painful (to say the least) and will alter my body forever. It’s a lot to have to deal with.
  4. I don’t want to lose my lifestyle. Even though as a woman who doesn’t have kids, I do have responsibilities like my career, loved ones, and relationship — but I don’t feel tied down. My boyfriend and I can take off and travel if we want without having to worry about a child. I fear that a child will seriously tie me down.
  5. I want to be able to chase my dreamsI know that it’s impossible to think of myself and what I want when a child enters the picture. Again, the mark of a good parent is not being selfish. But what about my dreams and career ambitions? What happens to those when I have a child? I believe they still matter, but I’m not sure how I would make them work with a child crashing into them.
  6. I might be selfish for not wanting kids, but it’s worse to be a selfish mother. The world looks down upon women who don’t have children, which I think is unfair. It doesn’t mean we’re selfish — it actually means we’re the exact opposite. We’d be selfish if we had kids even though we weren’t sure about wanting them.
  7. People freak out about not having kids, but what about having them? Many women I know worry that they won’t ever have children and they feel the pressure to have them. I always ask them if they’re freaked out about the fact that they’re not bringing children into this world, but adults-in-waiting, who have their own dreams, desires, personalities, and so on. That’s beautiful, but it’s also expensive, time-consuming, emotionally-taxing, and stressful.
  8. Choosing a partner is hard enough. Imagine the stress of a relationship ending when there’s a child involved. Imagine the horror of being linked to a jerk forever because we have a child. That’s quite scary. I like the freedom of knowing I’m only responsible for my own happiness, not a child’s, and can leave a relationship that’s not good for me without having to stay in contact because of the child I share with my partner.
  9. You can’t escape motherhood like you can a bad marriage. I know it might sound harsh, but I’m afraid of making the choice to have a child and then knowing I’m stuck being a mother forever. At least with other big life choices, like marriage, there’s always a way out.
  10. I do fear a future without kids, but… Although I do get broody sometimes and wonder if my future life will be lacking something if I don’t have kids, I have to realize that having children doesn’t guarantee that I won’t be alone or unhappy in my old age. Besides, it would be selfish to have kids just so that they can give me company by popping round to visit me at the old age home.
  11. Children do give one a sense of purpose, but is that enough? I think children are great and they definitely do increase a sense of meaning in one’s life, but it comes at a price: I would have to give up my other purposes in order to have children because they’d be my number-one priority. I don’t know if I can afford that.
  12. There are many different ways to have a full life. Children make a life complete, sure, but they’re not the only way to achieve happiness. I think there’s way too much pressure put on women to have kids, as though they’re the only way to achieve a full life. That’s BS. I want to have a full life that’s filled with many things, not just children, which makes me wonder if I’d even need to have kids. I want to be sure I’m doing it for the right reasons before I go ahead. And so, for the time being, I won’t let my biological clock freak me out.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.