Authors Note: In this article, I mainly refer to women. However, I want to clarify that not everyone who is a mother identifies as a woman.
I’ve known that I don’t want children ever since I was a child myself. When I am around kids, I feel very awkward. I don’t know what to do with them or say and hearing people make baby noises freaks me out. I have no maternal instinct. However, I would never see a child harmed; that should be clear.
Family members have made passing comments about me passing on the family name, making for an even more awkward situation as I do not want kids. I am also the only offspring with my last name as my grandfather remarried. Therefore, my step grandmother’s children have a different surname to mine. I am also an only child, so I am the only one left with this last name.
If I’m honest, I am also far too selfish to have children, but this shouldn’t be a bad thing. I am not a selfish person but I would be selfish in terms of motherhood and parenting. I have this consistent vision of being trapped in a house on fire with a child, and someone will rescue only one of us at that moment. Who’s it going to be? Yes, it will be the child. That thought of perishing in flames purely because I’m not a child haunts me.
There is this widespread practice that you must suffer for your children and that your feelings don’t matter anymore, as though you cease to be human once you are a mother. If you show feelings and hurt, you will be named a bad mother because you haven’t conceded to your life as a robotic caregiver.
The one thing that irritates me and other women who are childless by choice is people are so convinced that we will change our minds. I have just turned twenty-four years old, so you can imagine that I often get this response. I am a fan of the American talk show The Real.
One of the hosts is a woman called Jeannie Mai, and she has publicly stated many times that she does not desire to have kids. She had been previously married to Freddie Harteis before they got divorced in 2018. There are rumours that Freddie changed his mind on fatherhood and that this caused their split.
Before their divorce, there would be frequent comments telling Jeannie that she should give in to having kids for her husband. They called her selfish, which is abhorrent when you are trying to dictate a stranger’s decisions. Society cannot fathom a woman who has no maternal instinct. They treat us like aliens. We must have fallen off the conveyor belt during production because it’s unnatural for someone to dislike kids.
I have tried to picture myself with a child, but I don’t see it. All I ever hear are mothers complaining about their kids and how they are so exhausted. It beggars belief why anyone would want to be so weary and sad with life. You can’t be spontaneous when you have children. Kids also cost you a large amount of money, and sometimes, the parents can’t afford to feed themselves.
This prejudice against women who choose not to have children extends to the medical profession. People living with endometriosis have begged doctors for a hysterectomy, and doctors have declined because they might want kids. So, doctors would prefer their patients suffer than solve the problem purely because of their ignorance and inability to see that women can make their own decisions about their bodies. To request a hysterectomy or to have your tubes tied does not mean that you must have a medical condition either. If you want your tubes tied, be listened to and given that treatment accordingly.
A more controversial reason not to have kids is overpopulation. People are constantly having children and filling the world with more people than it can afford. I’m interested in the concept of anti-natalism. There is so much evil in this world that it confuses me why you want more people to suffer.
We don’t choose to be born. Our parents make that choice for us. What if I didn’t want to be here? Mental health issues are rife across the population. I don’t believe that you should bring more children into the world until the population levels out and the world seems to enter a peaceful place.
Kids are noisy, smelly and exhausting. They require a lot of energy for their development, and I don’t have the capacity for that. Babies scream so loud, and it hurts my ears. I was once on a plane where the baby continued to wail for the entire seven-hour flight, and it was the most infuriating thing.
I want the freedom to decide to go to New York at the drop of a hat. I don’t want a child to interfere with my career. When you become a mother, you are expected to give up your humanity. Your feelings don’t matter anymore, and you become unimportant.
I also couldn’t bring myself to send them to school if I had children. Such an institution caused me so much pain and misery that I still carry almost ten years on. The resentment I have about having sixteen years of my freedom taken away from me burns strong. I would send them to sit in a dull room to have ideas fed to them without room for expansion. What if they don’t want to learn about Pythagoras’ theorem? What if their interests lie within literature or drama? They should experience other cultures by actually visiting the country instead of sitting in a godforsaken classroom.
To conclude, the decision not to have children is the most selfless act because you realise the damage you would do if you had a child because society expects it of you. Settling down with a partner and having children has become this adage passed down to us through generations. You’ll have the white picket fence, the large house and the luxurious back garden.
You will hear us, and you will not take our decisions with a grain of salt anymore. Doctors and other medical professionals should stop assuming that we will change our minds as an excuse not to provide adequate care. Let’s stop treating children as the goal of life because they’re not.