I have loved children for as long as I can remember. When I was in my final year of primary school, I was a monitor for the Grade Ones – I played with them during break time and sat with them, reading books during quiet time when they were learning to read.
For some of my career I worked as a teacher, mostly in pre-schools with children aged two to five. I have so much fondness in my heart for those little ones. The best part of my day was greeting them in the morning with hugs and kisses. The feeling of a child being affectionate towards you is one of the greatest I have ever felt.
As I grew older, however, I realised that I didn’t have the yearning that most people feel to have children of my own. I never voiced this because I was embarrassed. How could I not want kids? Was there something wrong with me? I reassured myself that by the time I was old enough, I would feel the yearning as well.
I turned 32 years old a week ago and, spoiler alert – I still don’t want to have children. The difference now, however, is that I am no longer embarrassed by this fact. The exact opposite is true. This is a conscious choice I am making for myself. I am actively choosing to live a childless life because when I think of my future, it doesn’t involve raising and taking care of another human being.
You may be thinking of reasons why I would change my mind. Something along the lines of: maybe you just haven’t met the right partner yet; maybe once you’re more financially stable you’ll feel differently ; maybe once your biological clock starts ticking you’ll want them desperately; maybe, maybe, maybe…
There are no maybes for me anymore. And this is why:
- I don’t believe all women are meant to have children. Just because people with wombs can bring children into this world doesn’t mean that they are obligated to. Despite what society tells us, having children is not a requirement that is attached to having a uterus.
- Having children is expensive and there are some months that I can barely provide for myself. I feel it would be irresponsible to bring another human into this world when I cannot guarantee that I will be able to meet all their needs.
- There is a history of chronic and mental illness in my family that has been passed down from generation to generation. It feels wrong having a child when I know, with great certainty, that they will struggle with their mental and physical health for the rest of their lives. I know how difficult and painful living with illness has been for myself and I wouldn’t want that for someone else.
- Honestly, I’m selfish – I like doing what I want, when I want. It’s no secret that once you have a child, your life will change drastically, and some freedoms will disappear immediately. I love the life I am building. It is a life that involves learning, travelling, spontaneously connecting, and using my energy to become the best version of myself. I know that if I had a child, some of this would not be possible and I may grow resentful of my child because I wouldn’t be living the life I always dreamt of. In choosing to not have children, I am making myself a priority.
- The world is a scary place. All you need to do is open a newspaper or watch the news to see how cruel human beings can be to one another. It’s hard for me to think about bringing a child into this world that is filled with so much disfunction. I know that my child, especially if they are a girl, will be faced with so many societal ills daily (racism, sexism, GBV, the climate crisis, corruption, poverty etc.). I struggle to feel comfortable and accepted in this world and I wouldn’t want another person, who didn’t choose to be born in the first place, to struggle as well.
- I firmly believe that not all women are meant to have children. Some are, of course. But some are meant to be aunts, godmothers, mentors. And, quite honestly, some are not meant to be around children at all. I love the idea of being an aunt or a godmother because children do bring me joy. But I know deep down that I am not meant to be a mother and accepting that fact is me acting responsibly.
I know that many people will disagree with my reasoning, and that’s fine – I don’t need everyone to accept my choices. By writing this, though, I’m hoping that other women who feel similarly about not having children will feel less alone in a world that still often pressures us into a life-altering decision.
At the end of the day, whether you have children or not is completely your choice. It is a personal decision that no-one else can make for you. I am not opposed to people deciding to raise a kid. If this is what you truly want, go ahead! Make the right choice for you.
All I ask is that you don’t judge me because I’ve chosen differently; because I’ve chosen a life that makes me happy, fulfils me and brings me joy.
All I ask is that you treat me with enough dignity and respect to leave me and my womb alone.
Tell us: Do you feel that being a parent is part of your destiny?
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