Firstly, this is a very very long article because there’s a lot to say on this matter and I wanted to make sure I had everything covered (I wish I spent this much time and effort on my essays for university). Secondly, this is a very personal subject for me and so is completely opinion based and biased, what I’m saying isn’t for every single person, just my own views and those of others I’ve spoken to. If you disagree then that’s okay, but rather than splur some uneducated excuse, debate with me and try to see my point of view like I have with yours, or just leave me and my opinions alone.
I will split this article into three parts; reasons why I don’t want children, being a mother, and excuses people say. This way It’ll be easier to read and plus easier for me to write. I will bring out a lot of hypocrisy and loop holes in these views to prove my point further but I will also list the magical reasoning’s to why people have children. Just please remember, this is not a dig at your choice to bear children, it’s in retaliation to you dissing my choice not to.
Reasons I Don’t Want Children
Everyone has their own reasons for wanting children; to carry on their name or their genes, to finish the deal on their happy family life, or because they just love babies. People who don’t want children also have logically sensible reasoning’s: too much money, more important things in life etc. I fall for a lot of reasons, I don’t want to be a parent because I know it’s not the path that I want to lead. Whether I’ll be good at it or not, I just don’t want to, and before I explain myself in more depth, that explanation should always be enough, but it never is.
- I have shit to do with my life. I have plans, desires and decisions I want to make and none of them involve a child nor could I do a lot of them with a child. I view it as a hobby that I’m just not interested in, like hunting or sports. If you want to have them, if you want to go and enjoy your hobby go for it, I will never stop you, but I will ask whether you actually want this, or are doing it because you feel like you must. Because I always thought I had to have children even though I never wanted to, and once I realised I didn’t have to I felt happy and contempt with myself and my belief. I can’t control that I was born with a womb, but I can control whether to use it or not.
- My mum once told me, whilst I was in my late teens, that having me at 17 changed all the plans she had, that my birth put her plans on hold. Four more children on and 23 years later she’s still that same mother, as brilliant and as magnificent as she’s always been and only now is she starting to finally start her dreams. Doing courses and really thinking about her career. 23 years!! That’s totally crazy to me how someone can wait that long, but she said that her life ended up being about us, we became her life, and she’s so glad that she made that decision to start becoming our mother. It’s a lovely thing to say and me and my mum have a wonderful relationship, but I don’t feel the same way. I want to relish in doing what I want, travelling the world, writing and doing photography, going back to university and doing a masters, all of these would be put on hold for a good few years with a child. I have worked so hard in my life to get it where it is now and I will not let a child simply take that away from me by just existing.
- I don’t want to be pregnant. I don’t want something growing inside of me, and I don’t want it to destroy my body. Not because I want to stay skinny for life or not have stretch marks because I can easily lose that weight again and I already have scars and rips all over me, I’m human, it’s a normal thing that happens to everyone, even my boyfriend has stretchmarks, I just don’t want all the backlash that comes from pregnancy. It wasn’t great for my mum and it didn’t do well on her body and that will most likely happen to me. I don’t feel the amazement that comes from bringing life into this world. Giving birth to another creature that you and someone else created is a wonderful thing, but I only ever see it with biological eyes, I never get that boost of happiness, excitement or love when I think about pregnancy and being a parent. I just don’t care.
- Having a child is just too expensive. We’d have to move house firstly to get another room as our one bedroom flat wouldn’t be enough for three and a cat, we can just about afford rent now never mind everything else we would have to fork out for. A kid on top of that would ruin any kind of extra money or savings we would have been able to have otherwise. We buy our cat his food a litter around once every two months because we buy huge bags, and with other little treats etc it rarely comes to a lot. I can’t do that with a human child. Not only would it not be affordable for us, but it wouldn’t be a good life to live for the child. Children should be able to grow up in a stable home with loving parents who want to spend their time, money and sanity on them. Not growing up in an unenthusiastic family with hardly enough money to put food on the table.
- We’re overpopulated and the world is shit. We are pumping out babies more than I think we ever thought we would, there’s no need for that innate instinct to populate and save our species because we’re way over saving it. In fact, we’re so far now that overpopulation itself is killing us. There are people starving to death only a few hours on a plane away from me and half of the world are on diets to try and lose weight. We dominate and terrorise each other for money and beliefs and yes right now is the most peaceful era that we live in, but it’s not the type of place the world’s children should grow up in. I would love to stand here and say I’ll change it, but I will only be a drop in a huge ocean, it will never be enough.
Being A Mother
Some people love the idea of being a mother and thrive off everything to do with children, some people will be the best mothers out there and raise intelligent and open minded individuals who could change the world more than you and I ever could. And some will be the demons on Earth that religious texts warned us about. I have seen parents hit their children in public, seeing the fear in that small child’s eyes, I’ve heard a mother call her daughter every name under the sun because she wanted a headband of skulls rather than flowers, I have heard of friends being beaten and their parents being victims of abuse and even my own brothers become a chess pieces in my step-mother’s games. Being a mother is hard, I know that, but if you are not capable of it, then you shouldn’t be one.
- There’s nothing like being a parent. You can only really experience the situation and truly appreciate it once you’re in it. I get that, I understand that. I am the oldest of five and practically helped raise my little sister when it was just us and my mum back when I was 13-15. I know the feeling of their first word, their first step, the first painting that you stick on the fridge with magnets, their wild imagination and their adorable little laughs. I know. But seeing my siblings grow whilst knowing that someone else is dealing with all the bad bits is what makes those moments semi-enjoyable. They would not be worth it with everything else added on. ‘There’s nothing like being a parent’, yes I know, but there’s also nothing like being a heroin addict but that doesn’t mean I’m going to try it any time soon.
- It’s for life. It’s not something you can drip your toe into and then decide you want to leave 3 months down the line. Having a baby is a goddamn tidal wave and it’s not something you should get into or force someone else into if you’re unsure what you really want. You will either regret not having any and live the rest of your life doing whatever else you want and perhaps even adopt if your fertility is far over. Or you will have them and regret it and have to deal with it every day of your life. For me this is an easy verdict, and one that I have been sure of for a very very long time.
- I don’t have to be a mother to raise children. I can still raise descent human beings without being a mum. Everyone I meet I can give knowledge and experience to, that doesn’t have to go away because I don’t want children. I can still have worth without having children. I can still contribute to society with what I have learned in life without having children. It doesn’t just stop with me because I haven’t got an heir to my legacy. I used to volunteer for a children’s charity in my hometown when I was 18-19 before I went to University. The Golden Lions Children Trust who plan trips and events for disabled and disadvantaged children took me in when I was 17 and living alone. They treated me as a kid who needed help, and when I turned 18 I gave that help back. I raised money at fundraising events being in charge of cookie decorations, or chatting with the other teenagers who’d come to the stall because everyone else in the charity was more than double my age. I played with the children and they all knew my name and got excited to see me, it’s something I’m very proud of and something I miss very much. I gave those kids advice, I helped them imagine things that they had never thought of before and I showed them that being an adult can still be fun. And I didn’t have to squeeze any of them out of my vagina to do it.
- I love having the responsibility of owning a cat. Seeing my boyfriend with our cat Diego makes me feel all loved up I’m not going to lie. Seeing him play and care for him, and having our ‘happy little family’ where the cat will wiggle his way onto our bed and sleep between us, or join us when we’re watching movies together makes my heart skip a beat. We both love Diego so much it’s so fulfilling seeing them play together. I’m sure people feel that way with their partners and their children, but you have to like children first. The same way you have to like cats first, you wouldn’t get a cat if you didn’t like cats. With a cat I can still do my own thing, I can go away for the weekend or stay out really late and as long as there’s enough food, water, toys and litter space he’s fine. You can’t do that with a kid. Well you could but you wouldn’t have that kid for long and prison would probably creep up too.
Excuses People Say
Now I have heard a lot of reasons as to why I should have children, I’ve had people tell me I’m supposed to have children ‘it’s what I’m here for’, that I’m not a ‘proper woman’ if I don’t, and time after time after bloody time being told ‘I’ll change my mind’. It’s like hearing chalk go down a chalkboard, or worse, the idea of long finger nails being scrapped along the sides of my vagina. I only grit my teeth and try to end the conversation before I rip someone’s head off. Your belief is yours alone and you should never impose it upon others, especially when there is no real right and wrong. It’s as solid as any premise can be and no one should stand in anyone’s way to challenge that.
- Not having children is selfish and against nature. Let’s get one thing straight first, selfish is having no consideration for other people, concerned only with your own profits and pleasure. By choosing to have a child there is no need for consideration for anyone else other than myself and other people involved in the pregnancy (e.g. the partner, surrogacy etc), by choosing not to have a child, there is no one else involved, so who do I lack consideration for? My partner? Well he doesn’t want children either and that’s one of the main reasons we work so well together. My family? Why does my choice on what I do with my body have to do with my family? So my parents can have grandkids? If they want grandkids they can have their own children again. I was not placed on this Earth with a contract saying I must provide a beautiful baby from my beautiful son/daughter-in-law for my parents. I am not selfish or lacking consideration if I want to travel, work and do my own thing because the child does not exist for me to lack consideration for. You’re giving rights to something that doesn’t even exist yet. My beliefs and my life apparently means nothing to the possible future existence of a being. Really? Because if you really think that then you need to step back and have a look at the kind of person you are.
- Tell me, isn’t it selfish to try and force/convince someone to have a child because society thinks you should? Isn’t it selfish to have a child because you’re sad or lonely? Isn’t it selfish to have a child to try and trap someone into a relationship? Isn’t it against nature for IVF and yet you probably won’t have anything against it? In fact, marriage is not natural, it’s human made, the cigarette you’re smoking whilst you tell me I’m selfish is not natural, the alcohol you drink to forget about the stress of having kids is not natural, the ceramic mould you sit on to shit your McDonalds out is not natural. Do not stand there and tell me it is against nature when you thrive and live off everything that is manmade. Not being a mum because I don’t want to be is not.
- You’ll change your mind don’t worry. (This is the big one right here) Firstly I’m not worried, otherwise I would have said ‘I’m worried because I never want children and I know as a human woman on Earth it is my duty please give me advice on how to become a better woman’, and secondly what right do you have to tell me what I do and do not know. If I said I know this wooden structure in front of me is a table you wouldn’t defy my thought, if I said I never wanted to rape someone you wouldn’t say ‘you’ll change your mind don’t worry’ now would you? So why is my thought of never wanting to have children any different? I’ve never dreamt about it, never day dreamed, never wished and never thought positively about being a mum. ‘You’ll change your mind one day, you’re still young’ No, you need to change your mind because your train of fault is old. You do not have any justification on what I know about my views, about my life, you don’t know the ins and outs of my mind to make me feel this way, all you know is your belief and that’s okay for you, but I am not you. Or will that change too and I’ll eventually morph into this hideous hypocritical human shouting my beliefs at everyone because I have the best mindset like ever.
- You’re a cold-hearted, work obsessed, child hating person to not want children. One: Maybe soon I may understand how not having children makes me cold-hearted as an entire being. But that is not today. Perhaps my veganism, feminism, and all the other ‘isms’ just aren’t enough to cover up the fact that I’m actually deep down cold-hearted. Damn. You caught me out there. Two: What is wrong with being work obsessed? Because it seems to me that you’re obsessed with me wanting to have children, obsessed with the idea of being a family so much you might as well be knocking on people’s doors handing out leaflets. And Three: Just because I don’t want children doesn’t mean I hate them or I’m not good with them. I’d make a great mother, but I’d fucking hate every minute of it. I wave to kids who sit in front of me on the bus, when I worked in retail I always had that ‘baby voice’ (also cat voice, or any other animal voice) and trying to make them laugh. I am good with kids, I am good with adults, I just don’t want them.
- Once you get older you’ll change your mind, it’s just a phase. Apparently a ‘phase’ can run from being conscious of yourself to being 23, wow, that’s a pretty long time. Dressing like an emo was a phase, listening to Justin Bieber was a phase (still is, I am ashamed), deciding something that will change my life forever is not.
- You must hate the idea of having mini Bryonys running around. Well I actually looked into donating my eggs, because if I am never going to use them, and they’re perfectly healthy and ready to go, then someone else who wants and needs them more than me can have them. I didn’t even care about the money, I just wanted to do something good. But the side effects of it all and the amount of pain and difficulty with taking time off work and getting my implant out and having to wait a few months till my body goes back to normal was just unrealistic to go through. I have a year and a half left on my implant and maybe I’ll do it then before I get the next one in, because I would love to help two parents have their dream come true. It’s just not my dream.
- What will you do/who will take care of you when you’re older? Me, all the money I saved and all the fun I had will leave me with a nice relaxing retirement, or I’ll still want to run wild and carefree. That’s something I know my future will shape and define but deciding to have a child is not one of those things. I would have built a life for me where I don’t need someone to look after me, or if I do need it I’ll go to a home because I would have money saved up for that. And what will I do? Fuck loads. I don’t need to have children over every weekend to feel validated as an elderly person, as if that is one of the tick boxes in becoming old and if I can’t tick it then I have to be young forever. Oh no. What a shame…
- In my opinion, ‘selfish’ is bringing another human being into this world to feel more comfortable about getting older and about securing your future, not thinking about what they may want to do with their lives other than look after/see you all the time.
- Once you have kids it’ll be different. I’m sure I’d feel the same about being a serial killer but you’re not here saying I should try it. No, I won’t truly understand what it’s like to be a parent, but that doesn’t mean I crave it. I will never understand what it felt like to be a woman in the past who couldn’t vote, couldn’t own land or property, who couldn’t marry the person she wanted and who couldn’t make her own choices on what happens with her body (all these things however are still very real in other parts of the world), but that doesn’t mean I want to feel like that. Having sex with my brother would be different once it happens but that in no way means I’m going to do it. Just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean I can’t have a decision on whether I want it or not. Again, another hypocritical premise.
- It’s your duty to have children. It is not my duty to do anything ever. Duty doesn’t exist, the same as luck and deserving, they’re all just words we have created to make us as an individual feel special. I did a good thing so I ‘deserve’ to get something in return. No, the world doesn’t owe you shit, and you don’t owe anyone anything. No one deserves to be treated nicely or treated with respect, all our morals are vacant in most animals and I’m sure they don’t tell one another they have a duty to lick each other’s arses they just do it because they want to.
- Duty: A moral or legal obligation. Obligation: An act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound. Bound: A territorial limit; a boundary. So in this case, I have a limit and going over that limit is by not having children, but having children is within the limit, this moral limit that I apparently have, somehow, which I have no choice in the matter, I have to do it. Right… Because that makes a load of sense.
- Something bad must have happened to you as a kid. I didn’t have traumatic experience or a negligent family when I was younger that made me hate the idea of having children. Some people do end up in those situations though and it never seems to deter them away from starting their own family and getting it right where their parents failed. Yes, I am the oldest of five and was there when most of my siblings were growing up, which had some effect on me, but that wouldn’t be the sole reason. The sole reason being that I just don’t want them.
- Having a child is the next step to having a happy family. Our traditional views on marriage have changed and so have our views on children. Times have redirected the ‘happy family’ image and it isn’t the same as it used to be, marriage and children don’t always lead to a better more fulfilling life and people need to stop thinking that it always does. Giving birth doesn’t suddenly give you a meaning to life like it used to, the meaning of life is subjectively defined and a child is not needed to know that. People need to stop pressurising others to live up to a stereotype that has long died out. I have a boyfriend and a cat and that is good enough for me.
- The good bits outweigh the bad bits. I don’t want to clean a nappy, or wake up at 3am every day, cleaning sick off myself and never have time for me. You might say ‘but those are the bad bits, the good bits outweigh them’ but neither do I want to spend all day looking after another human being, I don’t want to hear laughs or see their first smile or their first step and all the ‘good’ bits because I just don’t care. I never enjoy those moments with other people’s children and only slightly with my own siblings so why would I suddenly care with my own child? You might then say ‘but it’s different with your own child’, yeah, it might be, for you. If I told you I didn’t like the taste of cheese would you say ‘it’s different when it’s your own cheese, go make some yourself’, no because that’s just stupid, and that’s how I feel about that statement. I get sad and emotional over pictures of cats and cows and basically any animal doing something cute or being abused. I’d give birth to a cat, I’d happily do that without a second thought, and I’m sure people feel that way about babies, but for me it stops there. Would I mind being an auntie of course not! I’ll take them to their first gig, let them come over mine and get drunk without telling their parents, help them dye their hair even when their mum said no, I’d be the coolest aunt ever. But I’ll also teach them about feminism and standing up for what is right and what you believe in, giving them advice about sex and consent that the education system won’t teach them and their parents are too embarrassed to say, I will help them learn to love themselves and the body that they’re in and will always be there when shit hits the fan. But I will not be a mother. And even after saying all that I don’t need to be an aunt either, I don’t need to be anything to do with children to feel fulfilled in life.
- Some people don’t think that I may actually not be able to have kids. They never ask and just assume that I can because ‘I would have said it otherwise’. Because of course I’d tell complete strangers or even family members about my most personal medical conditions. My heart goes out to those who want children and can’t, and can’t get surrogates or have IVF because it’s just way too expensive. I can conceive children and had a huge scare once when I was at university, me and my boyfriend were in one of our breakups and I told him I’m pretty certain I’m pregnant. We had spoken about this situation before and what we’d do and I said I’d always get an abortion no matter what. But the chance that our baby was actually growing inside of me took my mind to another place and there was one moment that I thought, what if? What if I actually kept this baby and we had a child together. But that feeling went as fast as it came. We weren’t together and no child should be brought up by parents who weren’t together, yes we loved each other and now we’re back together and more in love than we ever have been before, but it just wasn’t right. Some children are brought up in ‘worse’ scenarios where only one parent is in love with the other and the feelings aren’t mutual, and the child is born in a kind of trap hoping the other person will suddenly turn around and fall in love with them and their kid. Then the children become pawns in blackmail games to get money or people on their side. It’s sad and horrible for everyone involved and there are too many people like that in this world. That doesn’t always happen, but you should never force someone to love you or be part of a child’s life that they may have not wanted in the first place. No child should be brought up to that kind of life, it’s not fair. I could go on about this particular situation but I’ll leave that for another day. With me and my boyfriend, although we weren’t together he said he’d be there for me every step of the way, and if I magically decided to keep the child, he’d be a dad and we’d work things out to be parents of our child. And he said that because he loved me, and would learn to love the child we made together even if he didn’t want to be a father. But the same love from people who want children would be very far off. I’m lucky to have such an amazing man in my life who doesn’t want children but would stand by me if it came to it, and who loves me with every beating cell in his body, but others aren’t so lucky. You can’t compromise with a child when in a relationship, if one of you wants them and the other doesn’t there is no middle ground, no halfway settlement, you can’t have half a child.
If you’ve read this much then well done, I hope these nearly 5,000 words were worth it. To end all of this all I will say is this: By choosing to not have children I am being realistic with my life, I am making a choice that does not conform to dogmatic social pressures based on outdated beliefs, I am not insulting you and your choice to have children, I do not hate children, I’m just making a choice on something I’m so sure about that having a child would be like pouring milk in first then the cereal.