The trunk of my car contains emergency supplies like confetti, sidewalk chalk, and window markers. I’d say I have to dump googly eyes out of my shoes before I slide into them once a week, and I spend a lot of time with balloons, in ball pits, and at arcades, but guess what? I don’t want kids.
People don’t believe me because of my interests. The assumption is that since I love kid-like activities, I must want to have kids. The assumption is that since I’m a woman, I must have maternal instincts. The assumption is that even though I’ve been positively certain of this decision all of my adult life, that I will change my mind because my uterus is going to start making some audible annoying ticking sound that will be silenced by nothing other than a fertilized egg.
It’s annoying and offensive to me that people can’t accept my decision. Not wanting children doesn’t devalue me as a woman or take away from my femininity, and just because you don’t understand my choice and opinion doesn’t mean you get to nag, judge, or ridicule me.
Three reasons why I don’t want kids:
I have no maternal instinct.
I held a baby for the first time this month, and you can see that documented in the photo. My immediate reaction is fear and confusion. Their tinyness creeps me out, I hate that they can do literally nothing for themselves, and I definitely don’t know anything about taking care of one.
I don’t want to pass on my genetic material.
Most of my mental illnesses are strongly linked to DNA, and I have no interest in subjecting another human to the hell I went through at my worst. If I was in some sort of position where I was forced to have a kid, I would definitely adopt. I also don’t want to contribute to the over-population issue we’ve got developing.
I have other things I want to do with my life.
It might sound selfish, and that’s fine. But I think it would be more selfish to have a kid to conform with society when I know I’d be a bad mother. The things I want to do in life are traveling to weird places, dancing on bridges, and getting so famous that people pay to fly me to their events just to do silly dances and twist balloon animals on stage. The goals I have for myself will be extremely easier to accomplish without the responsibility of another human hanging over me.
So yeah, I think I’d be a bad mom and that’s mostly just because I don’t want to be a mom… and it’s totally okay. I’m learning how to interact with kids slowly, so when you have kids we can still hang out, but you’re not going to convince me to stop taking my birth control.
Really, though, don’t ask people when they’re having kids. Whether a woman is gay or straight, in a relationship, single, married, or at the drug store buying fertility test sticks, it is none of your business whether someone wants kids. And I don’t think I’m the only one who hates going to family functions where the only questions you’re asked are about getting knocked up or married.
For now, I’m going to keep riding on carousels, tying balloons to my wrist, and buying candy in bulk. Sing your heartsong, darling, whether that’s out-doing the Octomom, having one kid, or utilizing your maternal instincts on fur babies. Just be you. Self love is also about self acceptance, which means loving myself despite my non-conforming decision and desire to not have children be a part of my life. Know that your choices are okay.
FYI – There are some seriously wonderful comments happening over on this post on Facebook. Check that out, too!
Photo Credit: 1) Dan Malouff 2) Charlotte Boyer
Baby Credit: Beatrix, baby of Meigh + Christina McNamee-Mahaffey
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Good for you! I love my children but don’t love being a mom.
That’s a really interesting statement and perspective, Nadia!! I feel like it’s controversial, too, but I completely understand. Being a mom is the most full-time job of all time, and it’s demanding and exhausting! It’s completely possible to separate your kids from the duties of being a mom. Thanks for sharing!
*does that thing where it makes the fist bump look like it’s exploding because we are bros*
I hear you loud and clear. 🙂
Remember that several months ago I met the little sister to a friend of mine and within five minutes of catching up, she was like “So, when are you getting pregnant?” and I was just like “I have other priorities” (in an effort to be a wee bit polite, even though I get fed up by the question).
I do have several mental illnesses/disorders (ADD, GAD and non-verbal learning disorder) myself and that is part of the reason why I don’t want to get kids. Try going (grocery) shopping with a little kid and you both get so overstimulated that you both get cranky and the kid do what kids are good at (crying or whatever) and you yourself get even more overstimulted just because your kid is overstimulated. Thanks, but no thanks, I have no intentions of wearing myself out to the extent that I become a crappy parent. It’s for the best for both the kid(s) and myself (I think it’s called being responsible).
Hahah, I love that answer. It gets really hard to maintain polite when the question is asked to you all the time! I think it’s interesting that it’s almost always women asking women these questions, too. I rarely hear men asking women that question, women asking men, or men asking men. It’s just women, who you think would understand why these questions are sensitive and personal!, asking other women. Thanks for sharing, Kristin.
I think it’s fair to call it sexist double standards, and it does piss me off a bit. Aren’t we women more than *just* birth machines(and we’re not in the 19th century any more)? Come on, seriously?
I have one 10 year old daughter. She is pretty great! I never really wanted kids, then I got married, then it felt like we wanted to expand our little family.
However, I have always been on the one child only train. I get asked all of the time, especially when she was younger “When are you having your next one?”.
Um, no. I’m good with one, thanks. People just assumed that I wanted to put my body through that again. Crazy.
It was a once in a lifetime experience. I’m trying to convince my husband to go get fixed now. I’m tired of birth control.
That’s another really interesting perspective, Bethany. I think that by having one kid already you become WAY more suscpetible to these kinds of questions, because people think it’s more appropriate. Holly made a really good comment about that on Facebook (I linked to the comments over there at the bottom of this post, if you want to check it out).
I was totally bombarded by my grandma to have kids. Not even a polite “when will you” it was a “please make me a grand-baby” .. I had to tell her that I never want children… She never mentioned it again thankfully, but I am also always bombarded by others with the same question. :/
Like you, I don’t want to pass on my DNA. Frankly, and not to say this about anyone else who has children, but I think having my own children would be selfish because I totally think there are tons of babies/kids who might not get the opportunity to have a loving family.
It’s always kind of sad to have to shut down relatives, especially older ones who might not understand as easily the concept of us not wanting to have kids. But I’m glad you stood up for yourself and didn’t lie about it! (Some people do that.)
I’ll be honest, I thought about it! But it’s not like me to do that!
^ I still fucking love that picture of you two.
And guess what, rando people and all my family: it isn’t any better when you ask people who have already said they want kids when they’re having them, because I don’t really want to discuss tracking my fertility or how often I am fucking my partner with anyone, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.
Yesyesyessss. Another great point! God, I love how many perspectives are coming into play here. And just so you know, I’m going to keep asking you about your sex life, but that has nothing to do with babies.
THANK YOU! I have been married for 2 years now and probably get asked this on a weekly basis. That’s not to say I don’t want children but if I do then it’s my body, my business!
Yeah for real, girl! I think that as soon as you get married people are like oh well now it’s okay to ask, haha. It’s still not. And there’s a ton of reasons to get married that don’t deal with children. Speaking of which, you don’t even NEED TO BE MARRIED to have kids. Everyone is silly and pushy!
I feel about kids the same way I feel about dogs: I love them but I don’t want any of my own.
Hahah. That was Kate, backhandedly announcing that she loves cats. Back to you, Jim.
I love this post. Although I think it should be accepted that you don’t need any reasons to not want children, I do love yours!
I’m lucky enough to have family that has never, ever asked me when I’m going to have children (or get married, for that matter). I really haven’t experienced the question often, thankfully. With my ex, I was almost completely sure I wanted children and now I just don’t.
Thanks! Yeah, I thought about writing the post from the angle that I gear more towards at the end of the post; that it’s not okay to ask anyone when they’re having kids ever ever ever, but I figured it would be easier if I stated my own personal opinion and reasoning. I’m honestly over the moon with the responses and conversations that are happening as a result of this post.
Good for you for coming out about this, Mary. It’s good to know this about oneself and not go along with expectations of one’s family, society, culture, whatever. I love being a mother, love having had kids (now adults) but it’s not for everyone. I have a close friend who had two kids because it was expected but she never liked being a mother and she wasn’t good at it. Guess how the kids felt? yup. So good on you, girl.
Yeah! I feel like lots of times the idea of becoming a mother becomes separate from the lives of the kids somehow. As in, I should still have kids even though I don’t want to, and the people saying/thinking that don’t even consider how me hating parenting would affect the upbringing of another human being! It’s not just about me, it’s about this potential child whose life I’d probably be ruining. I’m glad you love being a mother, though, and I hope that other moms can weigh in on this post because I don’t just want to hear from people on my side of the fence. I also definitely don’t intend to offend anyone on the other side of the equation, and I’m glad you can appreciate both sides! Thanks Mim!
Well,I am 30 something, most of my friends are either married or have kids or both and it irritates me sooooo much when they say stuff like “you should find a man, you will not get any younger”, “When do you finally want to get into a relationship and have kids?” And certainly would be awesome if they would stop setting up “dates” for me with their single friends!
My case is not that I don´t want to have kids, or be in relationship. But hey, it is not so simple sometimes to find a man for life when you have to deal will bunch of stuff in your own life! I got through sexual abuse, then depression and anxiety in past couple of years and man I am glad I am where I am now and can see how much I overcome and it wasn’t all roses journey for sure!
I really treasure few friends who stand by me, knows my full life story and who therefore never ask me stupid questions about relationships and kids. They enjoy (and me too) that I am an “auntie” who can babysit for them or who likes to visit and play/craft with their kids and who unconditionally loves their kids. Just wish there would be more people like them.
I think the idea of not wanting to be in a relationship can be harder for some people to grab than not wanting kids. Or the combined idea, even! “You don’t want a boyfriend/husband? Well how will you ever have kids?!” It’s just crazy. There’s tons of reasons why not.
I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve struggled with abuse, depression, and anxiety. I’ve been there. I’m so proud and happy that you’ve been able to overcome so much already, though! Stay strong, and hold your own like you’re already doing. Life is what you want it to be. Be the kind of adult you want!
This. Every single word. I also get incredibly irritated when people say “You’re young, you’ll change your mind!” I always want to respond really sarcastically with the line “Don’t tell me how to live my life.” but then I realize many of my friends with kids would think I’m being super mean instead of quoting pop culture as a defense mechanism. I’ll stick to being the cool auntie with lots of stories and adventures.
Thanks Kati Rose! I totally agree. People can think it’s mean to snap back about this stuff, but it’s only because we’re on the minority side of the stick. It’s actually super rude to keep pressing and not just accept someone’s life, plans, goals, etc. Thanks for commenting!
I really love your post, but I think one of the problems when people say they don’t want kids then others need explanations why. I know you have a few that you listed, but I don’t think that women need to give a reason why they don’t want children. Saying they don’t want children should just be enough. Sigh..maybe one day that will change.
Oh I totally agree! That goes for all aspects of life, too. We really shouldn’t have to explain our life choices to anyone, because it’s not their business. But until we get to a place where people can just blindly accept and not judge, I find it helps to be able to provide a little insight. Explaining the reasons behind a thought process that might be foreign to someone else has the potential to make someone understand a little better. So yes, I don’t feel that I NEED to give a reason why I don’t want to have kids, but I do have them, and I try to be as transparent as I can in this space. 🙂 Thank you so much for commenting.