My mother had her first child (my brother) when she was 16 in a time (early 70s) when teenage pregnancies were already really unusual. So when I turned 16, 18 years ago, I was forced by my life experience into thinking about the possibility of having children, at an age when almost all my friends weren’t even considering it. I actually feared it, as if my mother’s pregnancy represented some sort of family curse I couldn’t escape. Thinking about it now, I probably decided then that I didn’t want to have children; but I was so young I wanted to think about it some more.
I can skip forward, ten years later, and see 26-years-old-me telling my boyfriend at the time that I probably wouldn’t want to have children. I was pretty sure, but I wanted to keep considering the possibility of an afterthought. Besides, many of my friends were having children: but, mostly, they weren’t happy as they wanted to appear. Some of them actively spent a lot of time trying to convince me, by telling me how my life would be complete when I finally had a baby (because I was going to, they had no doubt about it). As far as I could see, They didn’t feel complete – at all. In the best case, having children didn’t ruin their life. In the worst it did, and they used their children as a mean of redemption from the poor choices they made – ruining their lives as future adults. (Of course there are parents that genuinely love their children, but that is a thing I have rarely seen, in my life).
Besides people wanting me to conform to normal adult life, I also had to struggle with society, catholic morality and a medieval idea of the woman as a breeder. Although I am an atheist, catholicism – and the catholic idea of the woman as a stay-at-home-mother – has very strong roots in my country and I had to struggle hard to free myself from it and from the guilt (also a frustrating catholic heritage) of wanting something different for myself. So after a life of questioning I came up with five essential reasons I don’t have kids and I won’t. If you too are frustrated by answering the same questions to the same people, I strongly suggest you make a list of all the reasons you don’t want to accept their lifestyle as yours.
First: I don’t like kids.
I didn’t even like younger kids when I was a child. I don’t feel at ease around them and I cannot really communicate. I often find myself wondering if I should measure every word and transform myself into an idiotic individual using metaphores and a nauseating fake gentle voice (like most people do), or treat them as adults, who they aren’t, making them feel uncomfortable. I know many people who are more than happy to be with children: I am not one of them.
Second: I don’t want to have children,
just as much as I don’t want to dye my hair black with petroleum or eat a whole pack of mothballs. I simply don’t want to. This is probably the most important reason and the hardest to get other people to understand. Just because I am a woman and have a working reproductive system doesn’t mean I have to use it or even have the desire to use it. I mean, I love dogs. I have one but I wish I could have 120. And cats. I also want cats. But children? No, thanks.
Third: We don’t need any more kids.
We have too many people on this planet. We have no space left, not enough food, we should stop making babies for at least 20 years just to survive as a species. Besides, there are plenty of unwanted babies on earth. If having a child is, as it should be, an act of selfless love, what does it matter if the baby doesn’t share your genetic material?
Fourth. I am, at 34, way too OLD to be a mother. I had my chances, I took my decision and I will stick to it. I absolutely despise women with sudden cravings to take the “last train”. I wouldn’t want to raise a kid in my 40s or 50s. Deciding to have a child as a last chance at reproduction is extremely selfish. And incredibly stupid.
Fifth. I don’t like the world I am living in. I don’t like the way things are turning out, I don’t like the current economical and social situation and I see little hope for the future. I try to enjoy my life and make the best of it, but I wouldn’t want to inflict this world to anyone.
So. I don’t have children, I won’t have children and I’m perfectly fine with it. It’s as simple as that.