According to an article at the Daily Beast, many Americans are warming up to a child-free lifestyle for many reasons. Nearly half of all Americans are single. It’s starting to seem like single adults and childless couples are becoming more prevalent and will continue to become more prevalent in the future. Apparently, this isn’t just happening in the United States either: 30 percent of German women have reported that they do not plan on having children.
Parenthood is not a priority for everyone and neither is marriage. Some people, like myself, would rather travel the world, have an awesome career, and/or follow other passions in life. As illustrated in this Guardian article, we all have choices. Children are a choice, not an inevitable milestone. They are no longer seen as an economical or cultural necessity. With reliable methods of contraception and caring for the elderly, children aren’t a necessity anymore.
Choosing to not have children is an intensely personal decision. Most people, whether single or in relationships, who make this choice have other pursuits and simply don’t have the desire to have children. It shocks me that, despite the fact that we live in the 21st century, people seem almost disgusted by the fact that I don’t want children. Not wanting kids doesn’t make me heartless, broken, stupidly indecisive, immature, cold, or selfish; it makes me perfectly normal. My decision to abstain from motherhood is incredibly personal and not up for debate or discussion by anyone. To me, it’s incredibly sad that women like myself get shunned for not wanting to have children.
Relinquishing the sole ownership of my body has never appealed to me. For example, I never played with baby dolls as a child. While ultimately creating life is a beautiful part of life, the whole process of childbirth has always seemed incredibly constraining to me and the whole process seems repulsive. I would rather finish my Bachelor’s degree, obtain a graduate degree, travel the world, and have a career I love. If that’s unusual, then I certainly don’t want to be normal.
People constantly say “Well, you don’t know love until you have children” and that is absolutely ridiculous. I know what love is and it isn’t resenting a child that I have never desired. Most people who say things like this are jealous because their lives are so miserable. It’s incredibly annoying and insulting when people tell me that I’ll want kids in a few years. I am a woman, not a baby factory and it disgusts me that I am pressured to do so. Why and how does it affect you if I choose to never have children? I am ultimately in charge of my own body and life. Even though I like children, I don’t see why I am under any obligation to have them.
Some argue that children are essential to a healthy marriage and relationships. If I ever do decide to get married, I don’t see why I should have to have a child to glorify my own ego. I’m a smart, loving, funny, beautiful woman: is that alone not enough for a partner? I have a lot to offer and would want someone who would want me for who I am. Besides, if I ever did come to the point where I regretted not having a child, I could always adopt or foster a child at a later point in my life.
To be frank, most married couples with children seem miserable. They’re always tired, busy, and seldom have lives that are fully theirs. Plus, many women who give up their career to have children end up being resentful and, in my opinion, that’s no way to live. OF course, there are just as many women who love being a mother. But it breaks my heart to see women who could have done so much more turn into their husband’s “dream woman” and personal Stepford Wife, as opposed to their own individual woman. These are woman who could have changed the world, but instead they act as a housekeeper and personal possession of their husband. I don’t want to lose my identity to either a spouse or a child. Unlike most women, I don’t feel the need to have a child in the future to validate myself or some archaically ridiculous status quo.
So, when should you bring this up in a relationship? In my opinion, it depends on how you meet the other person. If you have an internet dating profile, I feel that your desire to not have children should be clearly stated. However, if you meet someone in a more traditional way, then you need to be upfront and honest when things are looking pretty serious or when the other person bring it up. However, you can’t be abrasive about it either.
Am I condemning people who have children? Absolutely not! Plenty of my friends and relatives have called having children a rewarding life experience. However, plenty of other people I know often complain about their children and how they wish they could work, go back to school, and do other things to better themselves. While I love children, they simply hold no interest for me and I don’t see why I should be expected to have them. Instead of feeling pressured to have children for any reason, women should feel free to pursue their dreams, whether that means being a full-time housewife or being a CEO.