As a childfree woman I am often regarded as an abnormality of sorts. Though the trend of smaller families, or no children at all, is growing- women who don’t aspire to motherhood are still often looked down on. I’ve analyzed the reasons for this and I think most people just assume I (and other women like me) hate children. The truth is, not wanting kids doesn’t actually have much to do with kids at all. And I think a lot of childfree women feel the same.
I know it’s easy to paint a picture of the kid-hating, childfree woman. I mean if you don’t want kids you must hate them- right? Wrong. When I think about having children I think beyond the child stage. For me the question is “do I actually think I should bring another human being into this world?”
Sometimes (not always) when someone decides to have a child, they think mainly of the baby and child stage. You hear things like:
- “I want to fill a void.”
- “I love babies.”
- “My child would be so cute.”
- “I want a piece of me and my significant other.”
- “I want to see the world through the eyes of a child.” etc.
When I ask myself whether I want to have a child I take an honest look at my life and ask questions like:
- “What sort of future could I give a person?”
- “Have I achieved what I’ve set out to achieve?”
- “Could my partner and I handle a potential child’s significant impairment or disease?”
- “What kind of world will we live in 30 or 40 years from now?”
- “Could I give a person the financial advantages they need to get ahead in this life?” etc.
The answers to these questions have helped me determine that bringing another human being into this world is in fact not the best choice for me.
Does this mean I don’t like being around children? No, of course not. I am a fabulous aunt, I throw baby showers for my girlfriends and I even occasionally engage in child-friendly activities with friends and family. Do I often choose to take part in adult-oriented activities instead of children-oriented ones? Yes. My days are filled with work, commutes, and caring for friends and family so I generally like my off-time to be quiet and peaceful. Not because I hate children, but because my free time is limited and precious so I choose activities that interest me most.
As a childfree woman, on a day-to-day basis I don’t actually think of kids much at all. I certainly don’t sit around and seethe about them. I’ve just chosen a personal lifestyle that doesn’t include children in my day-to-day existence. I’ve done what’s best for me and my partner by choosing not to bring a human being into this world.
So please don’t think you need to hide your children away from me, or cross me off your friend’s list once you become a mother. I’m happy for anyone who thinks they’ve made the right choice for their life. I know I’ve made the right choice for mine. And that choice just doesn’t have much to do with kids at all.