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Motherhood: Not For Me

I am a normal woman with hopes, dreams and desires, but wanting to have a baby was never on my to-do list. Unfortunately, for the longest time I felt like something must be wrong with me, like some piece was missing.

At first I succumbed to societal norms and figured after a few years of marital bliss my biological clock would kick in. I remember trying to plan when would be a good time to get pregnant so it didn’t interfere with, you know, my life; a sure sign I had no business even thinking in that direction.

The more time passed the more it hit home; I really didn’t want to have kids.

Luckily my parents weren’t the type who pressed the grandchildren issue, but friends, co-workers and even strangers had something to say about the matter.

First people assumed I was having difficulty getting pregnant. If I came down with a stomach bug, someone would gleefully comment “Oh, maybe you’re pregnant,” to which I’d respond, “Gee, I hope not!” Then came the sad face and a frown followed by a lecture about missing the “experience,” like having a baby was something to check off of my bucket list. Run a marathon, check; see the pyramids, check; give birth, check.

When I’d candidly admit that I didn’t really like kids, I was told repeatedly that I’d feel differently if they where my own; rest assured time would change my thinking. But it never did.

Friends drifted away as their lives became radically different than mine and for a few years I found myself in no-man’s land. I have never regretted my decision, but it wasn’t until I was well into my 40s that I didn’t feel like an anomaly. I was having the same discussion I had a million times before — “Nope, no kids, chose not to have any” — and the older woman I was talking with simply shrugged and said “They’re not for everybody.”

That was it. No judgment, no sorrowful tone, just plain and simple acceptance. And it hit me. I wasn’t child-less, I was child-free. There was nothing lacking; motherhood just isn’t for everybody.

Today more women are opting out of motherhood, nearly one in every five are child free.

If you’re child-free, how do you handle the comments? —Karen

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  1. Nicky says:

    I’m so happy coming across articles like this. I’m 27 and I’ve always known I didn’t want kids. I always liked them though, I used to teach gymnastics and swimming and had a very nice bond with most of them. By now, I’ve learned to answer The Question with “No, I don’t want kids.” Followed up closely by “but never say never, who knows.” I realize that most people who want kids have them by this age but I’m pretty sure this will keep me from the cliché dialogues of “I’m sure that you will feel differently in a few years”, usually followed by a meaningful wink untill a certain age. What I really hate though is how, even though I’ve never made it a secret that I don’t want kids so most of my colleagues know this by now, if I’m having any kind of discomfort in the area of my stomach, there is always at least one person who needs to remark that I might be pregnant. I’ve tried all kinds of answers to this one and I can’t seem to find one that makes these people realize how out of line they are, unless I say it straight to their face (but I’m not that confrontational by character and I feel it makes me sound bitchy). It makes me wonder, do they realize some people struggle with fertility and that stuff and this could be really hurtful?

  2. C Barge says:

    I’m 53 years old and have always said “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” Over time I’ve been a step mom and a foster mom. I haven’t missed a thing.

  3. Kelly says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’m only 25 but I know that I don’t want kids. Everyone tells me “You’ll change your mind when you’re older”, and I really don’t think I will. I have so much I want to do in my life and having children is not one of them. I don’t see anything wrong with that, and I’m glad I don’t have to feel ashamed for it.

  4. Lori Rice says:

    So glad you touched on this topic. As I get older, now 38, it’s so refreshing when I meet women my age and older who are completely satisfied and confident in their decision not to have kids. Our society has this view that – sure, you don’t want them now, but you will, or if you don’t, you’ll regret it later. I was the complete opposite. All through my 20s I thought for sure that we would have kids, then something clicked and we realized it wasn’t for us at all. It has nothing to do with being selfish, or not wanting to have responsibilities (we all have responsibilities, children or not). Some of us simply do not want to raise another human being. That is perfectly okay.

  5. Danielle says:

    I’m 30 and have known I’ve never wanted children. I have been telling people that since I was in my early teens. I just always knew. Apparently everyone knows better though. I’m always being told that I’ll change my mind later. I’m told that when I finally fall in love and meet the right guy then it will be different. I was even told once that I was going to hell because god put me on this planet to procreate. I’m tired of repeating myself and being forced to explain my choices. They are my choices and it’s my life. I don’t like children, and don’t want my own. It’s as simple as that. I’m ready to move on, I just wish the rest of the world was too.

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