Just as I’ve decided that I want to help people in my career, I don’t want to live in a climate that is colder than south Florida, and I want to adopt a lot of dogs, I’ve known for several years that having children is not a priority of mine, and that biological children in particular are not in my future. There are several reasons for this, but these reasons should affect people the same amount as me saying that I like warm weather, but they don’t. The notion that being a woman must come with the eventual goal of motherhood is so deeply ingrained in our culture that people react to my goal to not have children with concern, sadness, and disgust. Deciding to have or not have children is no one’s choice but my own, but the way people react to my decision would suggest that I’m breaking some sort of rule. Here are the top 5 reactions I get when I tell people that I don’t want kids.
5. “You would be a good mother, though!”
This is nice, because it’s obviously intended to be a compliment, and I respect that, but I truly dislike the idea that because I would be good at something, I should do it. Also, pretty much everyone that has ever said this to me doesn’t know me very well, because I really wouldn’t be a good mother. I genuinely dislike children, I’m very impatient with them, and overall I just couldn’t imagine that I would be anything but mean and oppressive, especially considering the experience that I have actually caring for children.
4. “But you’re so smart!”
This just really sounds like eugenics. Breed because you will produce superior offspring. If someone that is dumb says they don’t want kids, do people tell them “Good, because you’re too stupid anyway”? There’s a really long and terrible history in America of sterilizing people against their will because they would produce “inferior” or “unfit” offspring, and encouraging people to have kids because they’re smart or beautiful, that’s just called “positive eugenics.”
3. “What if your husband wants kids?”
So I’m supposed to change what my goals are based on what my potential husband thinks? And go through a pregnancy (or several) just because he wants kids? If kids are that important for a person, you should enter into a relationship with someone that also wants kids.
2. “It’s different when you have your own.”
I understand that a lot of people don’t like children, and then have their own and like children. Why risk it? I know now that I dislike children, why take a chance and assume that I’ll like them if they’re mine?
1. “You’re too young to make that decision!”
When I was 18 and graduating high school, I was expected to decide what I wanted to do with my entire career, go to college, pick a major, and plan my whole life. Young people aren’t stupid or shortsighted. We have goals and ambitions, and know what we want. When a 16 year old has a child, sometimes they’re given a television show, and no one questions their decision to have kids at such a young age, even though this is extremely life-changing for everyone involved. Remember that not having a child is less impactful than having a child. If I continue my life the way that I have, with no children, my life doesn’t change. If I have kids, everything changes, and I just know that’s not my priority.
Moms are awesome, and knowing that you’re the type of person to have kids and making that commitment is powerful and important. It’s just not for everyone.