Inspired by Lins and all the women telling their childfree stories on her blog, I decided to write something about mine. I choose to be childfree and am a bit over explaining to everyone why. It baffles me that everyone I meet feels they have the right to know why and argue the point with me! Feeling this way I decided to chart some of the regular conversations I have, and the things people tell me in response. I hope I always make people feel excited and supported in their choices, and one day hope people become accepting of mine.
When you find the right person you’ll want children.
This has never happened to me. I have found the right person quite a few times, and I have tried my hardest to want children knowing that this would be a dealbreaker. The more it was talked about, the more I had a knot tightening in my stomach that I couldn’t ignore. It is quite painful, being quite far into a relationship, and realising that our futures don’t align. And it has happened enough times for me to know, the other person can be amazing, but I still don’t want children. My mind doesn’t change.
I know everyone has examples of women who have said they don’t want children, and then they had them. I know because you all tell me! Often if you dig a bit deeper those women still didn’t want to have children, but they made a choice and hoped it was the right one. Most of the time it works out, but there are times when it doesn’t.
One of my good friends doesn’t want children, but just married a man who wants them. Because she wants him. So she made the choice. And I support her and absolutely understand. She tells me it scares here everyday, as she really doesn’t want children but knows that she has to now. Now they are in therapy together. This is not a situation I want for myself.
You need to be open.
I’m having drinks with a friend who knows I don’t want children. This has never been an issue before and she have always seemed accepting of my choices. Maybe because things have changed for her, she is wanting to find her husband and have kids, the thought of me not having children seems to upset her. This friend wants to set me up on a blind date with her friend. He sounds great but I ask her does he want children? She doesn’t know, but then also decides to lecture me on how I need to be more open meeting people.
I am so confused by this reaction. I’m more then happy meeting new people and do all the time. But this is not a situation where I am just meeting someone. It is a date which has expectations of the future. If this person wants children, why would either of us waste our time with someone who doesn’t want one of the fundemental choices. She tells me I am wrong and won’t even listen to why I disagree. Not allowed to be able to speak, told over and over again that I am angry and to not discuss it is what actually makes me angry. You got to say your opinion, why can I not respond? We are no longer friends.
Can’t you have kids?
On an impromptu date and he is dancing around the fact that he wants to get married and have children asap. I’ve just kept saying I don’t want kids. He’s given me all the options as he is trying desperately to find the point that I will agree to children. It’s flattering, and I get it as we have really hit it off. It isn’t often I find a Harry Potter loving/scifi/photography nerd like me!
He would carry them. Ok that’s not even possible, but thank you for the sentiment! He is happy to adopt. Great but it still ends up with me having kids. Can’t you have kids he asks? I don’t know. I expect I can, but I’ve never tried and I don’t want to. Then the bombshell, he says ‘I broke up with my ex because she didn’t want children’. Oh. We both leave with a sadness hanging over us. So close.
So You Do Want Children?
Sigh. I was at work and everyone was talking about kids or someone’s kids and I said something that yes was worded like I was going to have children. My boss jumped on it straight away and pointed at me, yes actually pointed his finger and said gotcha, you do want children. Rolling my eyes, I said no I don’t. Then there was a good fifteen minute conversation about all the reasons why I don’t want children and his arguments as to why my reasons weren’t valid.
Truth was, in hindsight, I was just playing along with everyone like lots of people do to be part of a conversation. Not to be deceptive or a liar but to be part of a social situation. Similar to when you might say you know about a tv show someone is talking about but you’ve actually wikied the synopsis because it is too scary for you to watch! Saying I don’t want children shuts down conversation and turns the focus on me. I’m not always interested in explaining myself again or rehashing the reasons with friends, acquaintances or strangers.
You will be alone.
Maybe. I certainly hope not, but yes by not having children it does remove potential relationships from the pool. There are plenty of things I have done in my life where I would have loved to have done them with my other half. Buying a flat in London or that work trip to Mexico where they would pay for a plus one. All the fabulous events I have gone to where I could have got a second ticket for free. And someone else to change the toilet roll would be fab or to share a home cooked Sunday roast!
Being alone though is not true. I have my family who I am in regular contact with. I also have a dozen friendships of varying strengths that keep me busy! One day I will even have a dog. That one has to wait as I am so out and about, it wouldn’t be fair to the four legged one! Don’t feel to sad for me as recent research has shown that women who are childless and partner free have the best lives!
You will have to do everything.
Another date. He’s explaining to me that his job and the work he does means that his partner, potentially me, would have to take on a lot of the childcare. He goes away a lot for work, often for two or three weeks. This is just after we’ve spoken about finances, and we both agree that it is hard to live in London on one salary.
I find this quite a common attitude amongst millennial males. As well as having to physically make the baby, and all the risk and ramifications of that process, they also want women to continue to take the load like their mothers did. I am not interested in that. I’ve only dated one man whose mum worked throughout his entire childhood and he had a different attitude. This man was ready to reduce his work week and take most of the maternity leave to try and balance the load. Before you ask I tried, I really did, but I still didn’t want children.
One day I expect the conversation will shift slightly, as I get older and don’t look of child rearing age. Though I expect the questions will just change from ‘do you want children?’ to ‘why didn’t you have children?’. Something that society rarely asks of men.