Why I’m Not Having Children
A few years ago, I used to be a receptionist for a Urology practice. The Doctor there only accepted female patients. Part of my job was to help prep the patients for minor medical procedures. Many times the subject of children would come up; more often than not, women would ask if I had any children. Being asked never bothered me. What bothered me was when I told them I wasn’t planning on having children, they assumed that I would change my mind.
Having children is a subject that plagues most women. Some women do not have a choice because they are unable to. I am sympathetic to anyone that doesn’t have a choice in such matters. I don’t know what that feels like. But for those of us who have a choice, I stand with the women who choose not to.
I knew that I didn’t want to have a child when I was in High School. It began with the basic idea that children force you to abandon all things fun in life. I referred to them as The Three S’s: Sleep, Sanity, and Sex. At the time, it was more of a joke. I knew that at my age; I was far too self-centered to think about anything but myself. But then I thought about it more. Would I be willing to sacrifice everything in the future? What if I never grew out of being self-centered? That didn’t sound like parent material to me. My younger sister has wanted children since she was a child herself. Cooing over infants and babysitting every chance she could. She was parent material. Why wasn’t I like her? I felt like something was wrong with me every time I balked at an offer to hold a child.
High School came and went, but even throughout college I never pined for a baby. There would be times when I would see children playing or laughing, and I appreciated it. But I never felt a gentle tug on my insides that would make me say, “I want that.” And that made me guilty. To me, I didn’t see cute button noses and wide eyes. I saw impossibly tiny fingers and unbearably breakable bodies. I continued to have the intense fear that I could hurt a living thing.
As time went on, my fear of hurting a child moved beyond the physical. After college, I developed an Eating Disorder. My parents got divorced after 30 years of marriage. I had been battling depression for over ten years. And I thought, “Why would I want someone else to go through this?” Life is worth living, but I don’t want to risk another life experiencing my pain. My child might not be safe with me. I might not be a good parent if I have too much mental stress. My child might be predisposed to multiple mental disorders. Waves upon waves of things I could do to scar a new life could crash down, and I can not stop them all. My entire family, both Mother and Father’s side, all have a history of divorces. The same goes for my husband. What if I had a child with him and we went through the same thing? The list goes on. It’s terrifying.
I realize that are an unlimited amount of risks when you have a child. But for me, the risk is too much. My sister has the same number of risks, and she still wants children. And I want her to have children because I know that my sister will be happy with her decision. But there are other women like me, who know deep in their bones, that having a child will not make them happy. There shouldn’t be any guilt associated with the decision, and yet there is guilt. We are not child haters. We are not broken. I can’t speak for all women, but I can speak for myself. I will not change my mind. I am not sorry.
You shouldn’t be sorry. I’m twenty years old and have already decided to never have kids. You’re not alone.