I always thought I wanted children, that’s the role women play, we keep house and we have children. I spent my entire youth fighting this role, yet as I got older it became more appealing. When I married my ex husband at the age of 27, we had previously discussed having children. I said I wanted to be married first, fooling myself, and him, that I was a traditionalist, really I was just putting things off. I didn’t know this at the time, I thought that I genuinely was a traditionalist, I wanted to do things “properly”. I would be the first person on both sides of my family to do this.
After we separated, my “plan” of having 3-4 children seemed to go out the window. It plagued me at times, I ached for what I thought was wanting to be a parent, but now I know it was more about wanting what I couldn’t have.
I had this desperate need to settle down, yet, I didn’t want to grow up. I had missed out on so many years of just being on my own, I loved it. I was independent by nature, yet I had always seemed to get myself into relationships, I wanted to be needed, wanted.
I had friend say to me “Oh you’ll be a great mum” or “I can’t wait for you to be a mum” this used to make me really sad as at the time, I had no boyfriend in sight and I was on the wrong side of 30. The odds were against me and I found it quite a cruel thing to hear, given all my friends knew about how I felt about having children.
After a couple of years of being mostly single, I came around to the idea of no children. A lot of my friends were having children and the idea wasnt really growing on me! I loved my new-found freedom, I couldn’t imagine a life where you couldnt just decide to do something on the spur of the moment, or sleep for a whole night, or think about anyone else but yourself if you didn’t want to. This sounds selfish and its is and precisely the reason I shouldnt have a child.
I didn’t feel natural around babies or children like some people do, I didnt get that warm fuzzy feeling when looking at a baby, I didnt understand being “broody”. When I met my boyfriend, it genuinely didnt bother me that he had children, it surprised me more than anyone. This was how I knew I liked him rather a lot. However, me being in a steady relationship brought on the continuous questions about us starting a family of our own, even from the very beginning. I had been quite comfortable in the fact that I was to be childless, I would have step children and therefore get the best of both worlds, but apparently not, according to other people. This then made me doubt my own mind.
I don’t know why people think its acceptable to comment on people’s family planning, I mean some people are desperately trying to conceive and are unable to, if I find being questioned annoying and upsetting how must these people feel? It’s no ones business and if its something they wish to share they will. It’s not just people without children either, I have friends who have one child and they are constantly being asked when more will come and it really bothers them, some have struggled to cope with their first and dont want to put themselves or their family through it again and some are trying and struggling to conceive and feel like failures.
Here are some of the things I have had people say to me:
You’ll change your mind.
This is my number one most hated thing people say. Like I don’t have a brain in my head and can’t make decisions? I am 35 years old, I think if I was going to change my mind I would have done it by now. Why do I have to change my mind? Are they psychic?
You don’t know tiredness until you have kids.
I don’t want to either. This is one of the reasons why I dont want them, I am the bitch from hell if I dont get my 7 hours. Whereas you chose to have a child and should have been aware that tiredness is part of the little bundle of “joy” so stop complaining.
Who will take care of you when you’re old.
Wow. Is this an actual reason for people having kids? Well lets see, who looks after me now? Oh yeah, me and if I can’t there are places to go and be looked after.
You’ll never know love like it.
Personally, I never want to love anyone more than I love my boyfriend, it’s the most love I have ever felt.I have seen the most closest of couples fall apart as one them is being neglected by their partner as they are so in love with their child. Who’s measuring love anyway? How do they know? Is this another thing that comes becoming a parent? A loveometer?
You are really selfish.
Yes, a family member actually said this to me. It actually really upset me at the time. Surely the most selfish thing I can do is bring an unwanted child into this world? And surely if I am this terrible selfish person, I would be a terrible selfish mother.
It no longer upsets me when I get asked these questions as I am now fully comfortable with my decision and realise I know my own mind better than anyone and there is nothing wrong with not wanting children. Dont get me wrong, I don’t hate children or people with children. I even like some children. My very best friends have children who I adore and I love my stepchildren, it hasn’t always been easy. But I’ll write about that another day.