The Conscious Choice Of Not Having Children

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About two years ago, during a family Thanksgiving no less, I noticed a shift in the usual inquiries on whether I was seeing anyone to whether or not I had thought about freezing my eggs “just in case. For years I had said I didn’t want kids and with each declaration, I would watch the smiles of the mothers of the men I dated quickly fade away as they looked at their sons with disappointment. While my parents seemed to have accepted and even embraced my decision to not have children over the years, the question of freezing my eggs surprisingly came from my own mother on this very fine Thanksgiving. I looked at her baffled. “In case? In case of what?”

In case the world turned out not to be so chaotic and dangerous?

In case tiny humans didn’t leave a carbon footprint or increase the amount of traffic?

In case of, heaven forbid, I didn’t find a man I could keep long enough to have children with before my eggs decided to flip the table and call it quits?

I’m trying to remember when the conversation to even have children started. I’m almost certain it was quickly after I turned 18 and started college. Of course, family, friends, and even strangers would begin every conversation about whether I saw someone. That was always the first question. Then, soon after I did start seeing someone the question would shift to when we were going to get married. Calm down, Aunt Susan, it’s literally been 3 weeks. I’m a woman now approaching my mid-thirties and to this day I have not been married or engaged but I imagine if I was the next question would be when I was planning on having children. So what happens after you pop one child out? Is the next question when I’ll be planning to have my second? My third? At what point does society just stop making you feel like you need to hit a certain number by a certain age? Is life just one sales quota? 

I was never a good salesperson or a people pleaser so I have no difficulty telling people I don’t want children but boy, is it exhausting.

Not only is it exhausting but the follow-up question as to why I don’t want children is just plain insulting. To begin with, it’s no one’s business whether a woman wants or doesn’t want a child and when she tells you she doesn’t she absolutely owes no one an explanation as to why. 

the choice to not have children

I’m constantly told that I’ll change my mind when I’m older. A phrase has been repeated like a broken record from the time I was in my early twenties. Well, I’m not sure how much older I need to be to change my mind but I’ve already lost 90% of my eggs at this point and I’m not mad about it at all. I wasn’t always anti-child though. I remember being around 12 or 13 and dreaming about the day I got married and how my husband and I would have three children; two boys and one girl, named Jesse, Alan, and Van. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t control the sex or gender of my children, let alone the future, in my little ignorant mind this was the plan. Maybe if TikTok was around back then I could have spent my prepubescent days shaking my nonexistent behind for absolute strangers and collecting cash from big brands instead of playing house but I digress. 

Though no one’s business, my decision not to have children has come from years of life experience. There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to women who choose not to have children or those who physically can’t have them. You are not a lesser woman or human for not reproducing, whatever the reason. And for those who still feel the need to call these women selfish, look around you. Look at the number of children all over the world who don’t have homes or families. Imagine adopting one of these children instead of deciding to have your own; what a selfless act that would be! This isn’t to say people who are able and willing shouldn’t have children. What they decide to do or not do isn’t any of my business and any decisions involving my uterus certainly aren’t theirs.

not having children

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