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Childfree by Choice

AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES

I wrote this post in November 2017 and never posted it.

On one hand, I felt like I didn’t have to write an entire post to justify our decisions and on the other hand, I felt I should write something because I want to advocate for those who don’t have a platform. I want advocate for those women in the same boat as me and to bring awareness of how words matter to someone who you may not know is struggling.

It’s time to open up about our family.

I turned 30 earlier this year (again, this was written November 2017, I’m 32 now). The big milestone age that really solidifies you’re an adult and you’re getting older. It’s also the age where you get pounded with questions about when you’re having kids and whether or not it’s in your near future. It’s the age that if you haven’t had kids by now then you gotta start popping them out otherwise “it’ll be too late.”

I don’t understand why society pressures women to have children. Mainly, most women who have children tirelessly question women who are childfree. Is it a societal faux pas to not have children? Am I not contributing to society if I don’t have children? Why do women need to have children to be seen as human beings? Really, why is this such an issue in this day and age?

We all have our own stories regarding children and our desires to have them or not – including those who have struggled to have them and those who may have lost them. Everyone has a story and behind every story there is bravery and courage to tell that story. Here is my story and maybe one that someone out there can relate to as well.

From a very young age, I would always say to my mom, “I really don’t like kids, I don’t want them, ever.”

At that time, of course she would say that I would change my mind and that I’m too young to fully understand what I want and don’t want. That’s valid but I also think that that was the beginning of my childfree journey whether I knew it then or not.

Looking back at all the times I had interactions with babies as a kid, I don’t ever recall myself thinking they were cute or that I can’t wait to have one of my own to hold and nurture. I wasn’t ever really interested in babies. I let other people fawn over them and I just stood off to the side and glanced over their shoulder and pretended like I cared.

All my friends in middle school and high school started babysitting. I felt as if I was missing out so I wanted to do the same. However, my reasons were far different than their reasons. I’m sure we all did it for money but that’s all I ever wanted to do it for. I wasn’t necessarily trying to learn how to be a caregiver. In fact, my first babysitting gig went so horribly wrong (I had to call the parents and they had to end their date early) that I never did it again.

For years, even before I got married (and now divorced), I have always said to my parents that I don’t want children. They insisted I’d change my mind.

When I got a dog, you could tell they were disappointed. But they still hold on to that little glimmer of hope that one day I’ll change my mind and have children. They still think I’ll regret the decision of not having children and they still think I’ll be a great mom and how selfish I’d be if I didn’t have children.

Most parents (mine included) have a very structured and societal standard of life: college, marriage, pop out babies before you’re 30. I think I threw a complete wrench into that last “to do” and they aren’t sure how to deal with it.

Will I see grandkids before I die?

You don’t know what you’re missing out on.

You would be such a great mom; look at you with Winston!

You’re selfish if you don’t want kids.

You’ll regret it.

Is Jason okay with this decision?

Don’t worry, you’ll want them one day.

You won’t have anyone to take care of you when you’re older.

What are you going to do instead?

You know, all these hypotheticals would make more sense if I actually did want to become a mother but alas, I have no desire to. It has not come with time and I don’t think it ever will.

As “selfish” as one is going to label me – I love my life right now. I love being able to travel and do whatever I want at the drop of a hat. My priorities right now are not caregiving and raising children. My priorities right now are nurturing my business and my life.

Guilting me won’t work and quite frankly, it’s so wrong. On many levels. So wrong. I’d rather have a child and know that I truly wanted them than to have a child just to satisfy some societal standard or to satisfy someone else’s desires. You know what that leads to? Resentment.

I don’t hate [your] kids.

Just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean I hate your kids.

I have so many friends that have little ones and I embrace them and never mind if they’re tagging along for dinner or coming over to hang out. I love little people! I just don’t want my own.

Many women can’t have kids.

I know of far too many infertility stories of close friends.

I want to create awareness when you ask another woman, “do you have kids?” or “do you want kids?” or “when are you having kids?”

You have zero clue what their struggles may be.

I recently got asked, “are you childless by choice?”

What if I wasn’t childless by choice? What if at one point I had been trying and been unsuccessful?

What kind of wound would you have reopened or poured salt into?

Please be aware of what you ask other women.

“Is _____ getting a little brother or sister?”

This is another one I hear passively asked to a child or a mother.

They already have one child; are you trying to say that one isn’t enough?

What is it even implying?

Does everyone have to have a sibling? Is an only child such a terrible thing?

I understand the curiosity and the seemingly innocent question but again, you don’t know what this family may or may not be going through.

Stop the judgement

Everyone has their own story, their own choices, and their own opinions.

I respect that and I also ask for the same back.

I feel that as women, we have to support one another rather than bring each other down.

There is so much other shit going on in the world that my decision on not having children should really be the least of your worries.

Can I change my mind? Sure, I’ve got time.

For now? I’m happy with where I am in life and I’m happy to be childfree.

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Patti

Tuesday 26th of May 2020

I love this blog. Ah, it's so refreshing, I will be coming back, if I may. 41 years old, single, child-free, happy as larry.... sending you all positive vibes and happiness.

Sue

Sunday 1st of March 2020

Dear Julie and Friends, oh that who-will-care-4-u-when-yer-old question really bugs me. Grown children have enough of their own problems, (jobs, kids' college expenses) and don't need guilted into visiting narcissistic old farts - who should have long ago planned for old age.

Shawn Johnson East

Monday 3rd of February 2020

Married in 2016, I am 27 years old. i am so happy to be a mother of my first baby girl weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20.5 inches long when she was born on Oct. 29, i have been trying to conceive for over 2 years now, after i suffered a miscarriage. But after holding our sweet girl in my arms and being told everything went well and she had made it to us safely I could have cared less. My/our world no longer has anything to do with us but everything to do with her. It’s all for her, one day i was just on the internet searching for how i can get pregnant fast. i came across some testimonial giving by some women and it was all about Dr micheal casper then i said to myself let me give it a try and know if it will work for me, after using his recommended natural pregnancy herbs and medication am so proud to be a mother, thank you so much Doctor for making me a happy mother. I will forever do anything for this girl that I love more than I ever could imagine. A love no one can ever prepare you for, if you know you are having the same problem i had before conceiving kindly contact my doctor via email: [email protected]

Sarah

Thursday 28th of November 2019

Amen.

Frances Grimble

Sunday 20th of October 2019

I'm 64. My husband is 68. We started living together when we were in college. We've had kids or wanted them for one minute. I do remember the "Oh, you'll change your mind" comments when in my teenage years I said I didn't want children. I had a tubal ligation when I was 21, because no form of birth control that I tried was comfortable. Tubal ligation took a huge weight off my mind.

After graduation I worked full time, as did my husband. I much preferred a career to children. I didn't hear much about my coworkers' children because they were afraid of employer discrimination if they seemed to be devoting energy to their kids while at work. My parents and in-laws showed no interest in grandchildren. My husband and I each have one sibling/brother, and neither of them wanted or had kids. Almost none of the people I've known socially had kids.

Now that I'm on the net more, I'm getting really tired of all the comments about my childfree status. I'd assumed people would think it was irrelevant since I'm past menopause. I'm repeatedly told that no joy can compare with that of having children. My view is that parenthood is a profession and aside from parenthood, most people understand that however much they love their profession, many other people wouldn't. Also, I've really enjoyed my life. Not only my enjoyment of my work, but being able to come home after a long day and not have to worry about kids. My husband and I having weekends to ourselves. Granted, we spent most of our weekend time before retirement doing housework (which we share) and errands, but it would have been much worse if we'd had kids. We've been able to pursue challenging hobbies (especially dancing) for years. We've had time to read books. We've had time together when we wanted it and privacy when we wanted it. I think our relationship is much stronger; kids would have just gotten in the way.

Most of all, we've had freedom. Yes, we've had financial needs. But at least, when deciding between a more enjoyable job and one that paid better, we never had to worry about kids. When buying a house (challenging in San Francisco even in the 1980s), we never had to worry about kids. When we lost savings in the Great Recession and my husband was aged out of tech work (while still in his 50s), at least we never had to worry about kids.

But I'm assumed to be single (unless I say explicitly otherwise), unfulfilled (though I say I've enjoyed my work and my life in general), and lonely (though I'm happy to hang out with adults). And most lately, having lived an empty, materialistic life instead of being broke but loved. Actually, my income has always been necessary to our household. And I don't consider being able to afford a modest house in a modest neighborhood, and saving for retirement, to be overly materialistic. OK, unlike the "joyfully" sacrificing parents, my husband and I have not been forced to do all our shopping at Goodwill. But is being able to shop at Macy's instead really hedonistic? Oh, and no, we don't take exotic vacations or have super-expensive nights out. It's mostly been takeout from some modest neighborhood restaurant when we're too tired to cook. Where do people get these stereotypes? Seriously.

Anyway, in case younger people really need to know this, YES, you can have a happy life without any children, or nieces, nephews, or children of friends. No regrets here.

Julie Wampler

Monday 21st of October 2019

Thank you so much for sharing your story and thoughts. It is such a great reminder that you can create your own happiness — with or without children!