Before I discuss the reasons why I’m choosing not to have children, I wanted dispel a few myths about those who are child-free:
We don’t like children– I’m a teacher so nearly every working day is spent around 30+ children. I can’t imagine doing anything else. If I didn’t like children, I would be in this job. I’m happy to dry tears, laugh at terrible jokes, clean up cuts and tie shoelaces. I’m the same with the children of friends and family members. We don’t care about the future– Just because I don’t have someone to survive me when I die, doesn’t mean I’m not invested in the future. I write, support and shout to change the world. One of the reasons I went into teaching was to help educate or future generations. Our lives are empty– To put it bluntly, my schedule’s rarely free, I’m dead after work and I have more than enough in my life to keep me happy. We have no sympathy with those who are unable to have children of their own– Through friendships and family connections, I have seen the pain that others experience when they can’t have children. Though I may not be able to fully understand what they are going through, I can sympathise and show compassion.
I do know that not everyone has these views on child-free people but I have come across these opinions more than once so I felt it was worth saying something.
Approaching thirty and having been married for over three years often triggers the question of childbearing. When I give my answer of “never”, I am faced with disbelief, laughter or “that’ll change”. Lots of people see me as a ticking time-bomb of hormones that’ll go off at any moment, changing my mind about children. Most patronising of all are comments about how having children will change things at work – “you’ll understand when you’re a mother”.
I have to say it’s becoming increasingly frustrating which is what’s driven me to write this. Deciding whether or not to have children is down to the individual and varies from person to person. These reasons are mine and mine alone.
The main reason I don’t wish to have children is my fear of everyone in my family dying before me. I’ve always had morbid thoughts but towards my late teens, I felt very sad and hopeless. Thankfully, I’ve become more positive but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake off this fear. Over the past four years, I’ve seen my grandma disappear bit by bit as her dementia has worsened. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is the worst pain I have ever felt; it’s like it’s swallowing part of my soul or filling the world with never-ending darkness. If I had a child, I could experience the same with them – but I would have been the person to bring them into the world. I don’t know how I would cope with that and I don’t want to have the option to experience it.
I have pretty terrible anxiety and I struggle when I can’t control certain situations. From my teaching experience, I know that you can never truly control a child; they make their own decisions and form their own opinions. I don’t want to spend part of my life being a nervous wreck and I don’t want to be a suffocating mother – it wouldn’t be good for anyone!
I have so many more reasons I could go through but I think I’ve got across my views. I have nothing against children or the people who have them – I just wish that I didn’t have to explain myself when I tell people about my choice to be child-free.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Have you had issues with others judging your life choices?