We love hearing about our readers’ childfree lives. If you would like to be interviewed, or if you have written something you would like us to share please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in our reader submissions/interviews do not necessarily reflect the views of Childfree is Not a Dirty Word.
1.Name, age, location: Yvette Gilbert / 41 years old / married 8 years / Cape Town, South Africa.
2. When and why did you decide that you weren’t going to have children? I think I’ve always known, but I think the first time I consciously thought “I never want children”, I must have been about 15 years old. Even then, I still thought it was something I would have to do because it’s what you do when you get married, but to me it loomed on the horizon like a delayed prison sentence that I would one day have to face and accept. I just never felt the yearning for children, I never liked baby dolls, toy prams, etc. I never pictured myself in the “mommy” role.
3. Have you ever received any backlash due to this decision, if so, what? Yes. My ex-mother-in-law started treating me as a persona-non-grata after I asked my ex-husband to take her to lunch, and tell her that she will never have grandchildren through us. She was constantly dropping hints, and we’d had enough. She blamed me, not him, and suddenly I was a pariah. My marriage fell apart about a year later. I’ve had many of the standard “bingo” comments thrown at me over the years. I’m often left on the sideline at dinners, etc, because the moms all talk endlessly about their kids, and when I try to join in the conversation, they seem to ignore anything I say because my opinion has no relevance to them. I’ve been called a “child hater” by one of my closest mom friends… the same mom friend whose daughter I spoil and play with, bring gifts back for when I travel overseas, but hey, I guess that must mean I hate kids, who knew.
4. What do you do now that you think you wouldn’t be able to do (or do as well) if you had children?Gosh, everything! I love to travel, I love to indulge in creative work, silence and peace is important to me. I’m also quite an introvert and I need a lot of alone time, that would be impossible with kids.
5. What’s your favourite part about being childfree? Freedom. I can’t imagine being the slave to a mini dictator for 18 years. The freedom from all the mommy-wars too, everyone is judging everyone else, it’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t world for mothers out there, no thanks. Freedom to travel, be creative, peace and quiet.
6. If money and time were no concern, what would be the one dream you would fulfill? I have two dreams : To own a farm in the countryside (preferably Devon / Cornwall, UK) and rescue unwanted dogs, cats, etc, spend my days in a studio being creative / To travel for several months at a time, spending a good amount of time in a place to get to know the local people, way of life, day to day cultures and daily living, then to move on to another part of the world and do the same, and in doing so, grow as a human being.
7. Do you have any favourite books, blog posts, websites or articles about being childfree? I follow a few childfree pages / groups on Facebook. Childfree is not a Dirty Word / Confessions of a Childfree Woman / Childfree Chicks Confidential, etc.
I’ve read “The Baby Matrix” very good read, “I can barely take care of myself” a fun read, “Self, Shallow and Self-absorbed” also brilliant, loved the different view points from different CF people, women and men alike.
8. Are there any people or animals in your life that you help take care of? Yes, my husband, and my three basset hounds. My three bassets live a life of luxury and I’ll defend them to my last breath. My husband is my best friend, we enjoy spending time together at home with our dogs, we travel and have adventures together, support each others work and hobbies. I love my little family!
9. Do you have any last thoughts that you’d like to share with readers?
Society needs to evolve. We need to realize that there is not only one way to live, to be happy and to prosper. What is right and perfect for one person, might be a complete nightmare for another, the most important thing is to live your most authentic life, as long as it doesn’t harm another, then your life path is as good and valid as anyone else’s.
Women need to awaken to the fact that they’re enough as a human being on their own, they don’t need a child to validate their existence, or to feel “complete”, they need to understand that they are free to choose their life. It’s important to break away from the myth and propaganda of motherhood being the ultimate goal for all women. It should be viewed as just another option. Society needs to stop trying to guilt women into procreation, or instill fears that they’ll regret it if they don’t. If it’s your deepest desire to be a mother, then by all means, follow your dream with all your heart, go and be the best mom ever and raise wonderful children, but if it’s not your deepest desire to have a child, then think, think very long and hard before you go down that path. The human race is not about to die out anytime soon, an infinite growth on a finite planet is sheer madness. I shudder at the knowledge that the world’s population has almost doubled in my own lifetime. Future generations are going to struggle more and more for resources on a planet that is already at breaking point. I’m so glad that I’m not responsible for bringing yet another child into this world.
A thought on regret – You can’t regret what you never wanted in the first place. Example, you’re laying on your deathbed, contemplating your life, you think “Oh, I always wanted to climb Mount Everest… but I never did, and now it’s too late….” = regret. However, if you never wanted to climb Mount Everest, and you never did… then there’s nothing to regret.