What people tell me when I say I do not want children

There, I said it! You will notice, I said I do not want children, not that I cannot have children. I am a woman. I have a fully functional uterus. I am a good, kind person. But I do not want children. But it’s a mic drop moment every time I say this out loud. People start looking away sheepishly. They mutter something inaudible. I get sleazy looks from men who think then I can be easily laid. Some stare at me in horror. Some think I am a male underneath my skirt.

I was getting a tad tired of it, you know. So I decided to go ahead and clear the air about what people ask me and what I want to tell them about never wanting a child at all.

“You’re a woman; you’re supposed to want children. You won’t develop correctly into the best person you can be if you don’t.”

See, here’s the thing, I already think I am the best person I can be. I am kind to everyone around me, I smile at strangers, I respect people and their needs and their space. I can get better, of course, but that will depend on your behaviour and whether or not I am on my periods that day. Having a child has nothing to do with my being the best person I can be.

“You’ll end up old and lonely.”

I live in a city that’s thousands of kilometers from where my mother lives because I work here. I make one call to her once a day, if I can, and duly report what I had for breakfast and lunch and what I’ll have for dinner. Then I go ahead and party with my friends while my parents sit before the TV and quietly finish their dinner, wondering if I am okay. So yes, my parents are plenty old and lonely in spite of having a child.

“Don’t you want to have a family of your own?”

Excuse me, but I was born in one. They might be annoying as hell, they might be a very noisy, nosey lot, but they are still my family, thank you very much. I am happy I have them, and I don’t need to go out on a limb and create another brand new family.

“But it’s natural”

More natural than self-preservation and sparing a lot of people, including the kid, a lifetime of trouble? Do you even know the world we live in?

“You are cruel and hard-hearted”

No I am not. I am actually very nice with children. As long as they are other people’s children, I am a sweetheart with them. I just don’t think it is very wise for me to bring a child into the world when I am not comfortable with being an adult myself. And I do not personally think I want to go through the trauma of birthing. Life has been hard enough.

“But you love dogs so much and they are a bunch of trouble!”

Do you even know how dogs function? Do you know you don’t have to worry every time your dog sneezes? Do you know you don’t have to wake up at 5 to feed your dog? And do you know dogs, at least mine, are fully capable of taking care of themselves?

“You are just selfish. Will you take the money with you when you die?”

First of all, what money? Second, I am a generous gift-giver. I do not need to procreate only because I might have one RD or two running. That’s for my old age.

“Why don’t you use a surrogate? You can use a nanny later.”

My plumbing works fine, so no, I don’t need a surrogate. The question of a nanny is irrelevant, really. What I have a problem is with the way women’s lives change when they have a baby. I do not want to be responsible for another human being. I do not want to worry about my child’s school calling me because someone sexually assaulted and slit his throat.

“You want someone to carry your legacy forward!”

All I have in my legacy is a couple of outrageous shoes, some good writing, a hundred Barbie dolls and things like possibly inherited cancer and Parkinsons. I am ok with not passing them on, thank you very much.

“You should have at least one”

Um...as opposed to? Do you know the costs of child rearing?

“Think about how your parents and the extended family will feel”

Considering how they will not be around at those dreaded math homework sessions and dealing with an argumentative teenager later, I don't even think it matters.

“Won’t you feel odd when everyone has a baby and you  don’t?”

There are lots of nieces and nephews to worry about. And I am not the sort to covet what my neighbour has. If I did, I would work harder for that swanky car my neighbour drives.

“You say that because you want to be young and fun”

Not really, no. I am definitely not very young anymore, and I think I am not a lot of fun either. I stopped being fun the day I touched the age where your body starts to remind you it’s time to sleep right after 11 pm. So no, I am not doing this because I want to go have fun.

So there. Motherhood should really be a matter of choice, not something that comes as a package deal with a marriage. If I do not want a child, it should be a choice that I need not explain, not another chance for anyone to go pointing a finger at me!

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