Over the past few years, some major changes have been happening on my Facebook news feed. Babies. Children. Pregnant ladies. More babies. It’s endless, and it has all led me to the inevitable conclusion that everyone I know is having children.
Why is that a problem? Do I not appreciate the miracle of life? I’m not actually a terrible, baby-hating person. I (sort of) understand why people choose to have children. And I definitely understand why once they do, that’s pretty much all they talk about. Having children is a huge commitment, and it changes how you live your life. And I won’t hold that against you – as long as you don’t hold it against me that I don’t want to have children.
Here’s the thing. I don’t particularly care for babies. I don’t have that natural instinct toward wanting to coo and swoon over a newborn, and I have never considered myself to be someone who ever wants to raise a child. It just doesn’t appeal to me at all, and that’s a surprisingly hard concept for people to swallow. I’m a responsible woman of a certain age, in a committed relationship, and I would be “a good parent.” So why don’t I want to have a kid? People can’t seem to wrap their minds around it. When I say I don’t want kids, they say, “But you’d be such a good mom…you’ll change your mind!” No, I don’t think I will.
And that’s okay. So what if I don’t want to have children? So what if I’m totally happy with my fiancé and my dog and I have no desire to add a baby to the equation? We’re taught from a very young age that we are supposed to grow up, get married, and have children. That’s just what you do. But just because most people do follow that model, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you if you don’t. I recognize there are plenty of people out there who would love to have (or adopt) kids, but can’t for one reason or another. This article is not about that – I can’t pretend to know what that’s like. This is about why choosing not to have kids is okay.
My life is not any less meaningful or important because I have chosen not to have any children. You don’t need to feel sorry for me because I don’t know the joy of bringing life into the world or the pride of raising a child. And you certainly don’t need to look down on me. I have been made to feel worthless for not wanting to have a child, and I don’t think that’s fair. Here’s why:
It’s okay not to want to have kids because you’re happy with what you’ve already got. Children are a huge responsibility, and if there is any doubt in your mind that you might not be prepared for that responsibility, it’s okay to wait a little while. It’s okay to wait forever. It’s okay to do whatever is right for you.
It’s okay not to want kids because you’d rather focus on your career. I personally don’t really understand how anyone can want to dedicate so much of their life to work, but if that’s what makes you happy, then do it! If you feel more fulfilled by the idea of a successful career than the idea of raising a child, there’s no shame in focusing on work.
It’s okay not to want kids because you like having freedom. You like being able to go to bed when you want, or go to the movies on a whim, or take a long vacation abroad. These things are conveniences that become much more complicated when you have children. You don’t need to feel frivolous for wanting to live according to your own schedule. It’s your decision to make.
It’s okay not to want kids because you don’t feel like you’re at a place in your life where you can take on that amount of responsibility. Or because you just don’t like kids, and you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of raising one. You don’t need to feel ashamed if you prefer the company of adults or don’t think you could possibly handle the 24/7 commitment that comes with having a baby.
There are a lot of reasons people choose not to have children. Some might sound noble, some might sound frivolous; but guess what? They’re all okay. Choosing whether or not to have children is a personal decision. Don’t feel bad about making the choice that’s right for you, even if it’s not the popular choice. Sure, most people do have children, but there is nothing wrong with choosing not to. You don’t need to justify your decision to anyone but yourself.