By Gabrielle Black
I am a twenty-eight year old married woman. My husband and I have been together for nine years and married for the past two. From the moment the engagement ring slipped on my finger, others treated me as if I was fulfilling my womanly duty in life. However, the moment I stuck the wedding ring on everything changed. The typical conversation would go like this:
"So, when are you guys going to start a family?"
"We already are a family."
"No, no. When are you having children?"
My response, often met first by silence, would spark a flurry of questions and judgmental comments. Why don't you want kids? Why isn't your husband allowing you to bear children? Who’s going to take care of you when you're old? You’ll change your mind. You're neglecting your duty to this world as a woman. You’ll never truly understand love, and most common of all, You're selfish for not wanting children.
I’ve always felt that my reasons for not having children were my own, and I didn’t need to justify them to anyone. Apparently though, when you stray even slightly from the status quo, you spend every day justifying your choices, and as a married woman in my late twenties, everything is constantly about babies. So I’m going to break down my reasons for not having children as plainly as I can.
Pregnancy looks terrifying
My monthly menstrual cycles are already horrific enough, I do not want to add growing a human inside of me on top of that. Frankly, I just don’t want to suffer through the pain. Is that selfish?
Children are insanely expensive
People try to convince me to have children by asking “Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?” My answer is always: The caretakers at the retirement home I’ll be living in, paid for with the money I save by not having children.
My own mental stability
I live every day with anxiety and depression, and though it’s much more manageable than it has been in the past, I still have days when the thought of getting out of bed causes me to burst into tears. Why would I want to throw a kid into that? It wouldn’t be fair to either of us.
But the main reason, the one that sits atop my giant list of reasons why I’m not having kids is pretty simple: It is just something I am not interested in doing. For me, a child is not worth the laundry list of crap that comes along with it. Pregnancy, birth, complications that can come with birth, vomit, crying infants, the terrible twos, snot, wiping butts, watching Frozen on repeat, rebellious teenage years, and most of all, having to give up who I am and what I want out of life, are personally not things I want for my future.
I don’t need children to be happy. I don’t need them to feel fulfilled. If later in life my husband and I change our minds, we will be more than happy to adopt. Because last I checked, our world is incredibly over-populated, and there are over 150,000,000 homeless kids in need. Why don’t we spend our energy helping them instead of berating people like me for not breeding?