One of my very close friends has four kids. We work together, and we hang out together outside of work, but at the end of the day, I go home, and she goes home to four kids. Often she will tell me tales of her children’s escapades and I either think or voice the understanding she has an entire life full of responsibilities that I honestly know nothing about.
And I’m totally okay with that.
In the interest of being really honest really quickly, I’m just going to admit right now that I am a 28 year-old female who feels incredibly relieved when I realize every month I get a friendly reminder from God (or biology, depending on your belief system) that I am not with child. I’ve even been known to give myself a high five when this realization comes, as well as voice my enthusiasm to other people who may be within earshot.
In the last few years, I’ve become more and more cognizant of women my age who do not share my enthusiasm for being childless. As it turns out, there are all sorts of women my age who – gasp! – want children. In addition to these women, there are also women my age who either already have children, or are actively trying to get pregnant.
So this has got me thinking, and in turn asking, “Am I the only one who doesn’t want kids?”
When the opportunity presents itself to start this discussion, even when I discuss this topic with those who don’t agree with me, more often than not, others are accepting (or at the very least polite). Most people will listen to my reasons for not wanting children, or perhaps even show some genuine interest in my perspective. However, occasionally, there have been instances where no one was on my side, and sometimes I wonder if there are others who feel like they’re the only one who has chosen a life without miniature versions of themselves running around.
Let me just say that I do like kids and I don’t run around town spouting off reasons why kids suck. I used to be a teacher. I love kids; they’re great. I enjoy the ones who have already been born, and I certainly have nothing against all of the lovely adults in my life who have chosen to procreate or wish to do so in the future. My choice is not a judgment against others for having kids, nor is it an attempt to convert those people to my way of thinking. It is MY choice, which came about because of reasons that are personal and not necessarily anyone else’s. I do hope that if there are others who share my point of view, they know that they are not the only ones.
It is unnerving for me when people treat having children as the quintessential or all-important element of adulthood. Personally, I believe that creating your own family post-adolescence does not always have to mean getting married and having babies (who, by the way, turn into toddlers who then turn into children, teenagers, and young adults). Getting married and having kids can certainly be the right progression for many, but it is definitely not the only family structure. And I’m currently quite happy with the shape of my own life, which includes many people that I consider family, such as the extended family I grew up with, my close friends, my work family, and of course, the possible boyfriend/serious relationship/fleeting lover. The point being that I am perfectly content not rushing this part of my twenties into a culminating life decision that is everlasting and irreversible. I mean, kids are freakin’ expensive. They will – and should – become the number one (if not the only) important thing in your life. I’m satisfied with my life the way it is right now, and raising/bringing up/taking care of a helpless human pretty much sounds like something I don’t want to do. The world is an incredibly shitty place, and I know myself well enough to know that I would not be the best tour guide. There are days that I literally do not eat or leave the house at all. There are days that I work on my computer for 12 hours straight. There are days that I don’t get out of bed until 3pm. I’m fairly confident that these are all reasons to not have kids. Not to mention the fact that having a child with someone is a pretty huge commitment, and I have not yet found anyone that I am willing to be attached to for a minimum of 18 years, and a maximum of my entire life. Lastly, and I know this is a controversial reason, but, let’s face it, having a baby is an inherently selfish thing to do. There is no non-selfish reason that people get pregnant and have children. The only non-selfish way to have a kid is to adopt one that has already been born into this world (through no fault of his or her own) and needs someone to raise them. I honestly believe that adoption would be the only way I would ever have a kid.
As it stands right now, the possibilities that are attached to raising a whole other person in society are way too intense for me. Call me immature, but I can barely take care of myself. So, my method of birth control involves asking myself if I’m prepared for all of the “what if’s.” The answer is no. And I’m not ashamed. I mean, yikes. Even the best-case scenarios make me want to lock the door and never leave the house. So much goes wrong every day. I know it’s morbid; I know it’s not “cheery,” but it’s true. Even a child who is “healthy” by medical standards could still end up being the kind of adult who lives in my guest bedroom until they are 30 or who can’t find a job because the economy is bad or they are too depressed or anxious or self-righteous or narcissistic to just realize that everyone needs a regular job to make money and live on their own and be a freakin’ adult. And if they can’t make that realization or do those things on their own, guess who they are going to expect to help them out in their time of need? PASS.
Guest post by Jessica, a carefree optimist who enjoys deep conversations.