WHY I DON’T WANT KIDS
Let me start the post by saying this: I don’t think anyone should have to justify why they don’t want children. It should just be a normal preference like wanting salt on your chips is. Some people want to have children and some don’t – there’s nothing wrong with either option.
The conversation around whether you want children or not is always a little bit awkward. In some circles, there’s still the presumption that women are put on this earth to bear children (and not much else), so not having kids comes as a shock. There’s also the well-meaning middle-aged brigade, who are quick to ensure you that you will change your mind and suddenly decide to pop one or two out when your clock starts ticking.
It can feel patronising and demeaning when people try to make decisions about your uterus for you (this goes for old white men making Abortion Law decisions, too). It gets worse after you get married – society’s expectations and everything – and doubly worse after you secure a mortgage. Thankfully, for me, it’s mostly strangers on the internet and extended family who ask me about children, so it’s not like I have my in-laws asking about potential grandchildren all the time (my husband has four siblings, three of whom have kids, so there’s plenty to go round).
Once, in a YouTube Q&A, I briefly mentioned that I didn’t want children, and was surprised at the follow-up questions asking why not. Even though society has progressed in many ways, the generic narrative of ‘get married, buy a house, have 2.4 children’ is still very much the norm in most people’s eyes.
The average age for having your first child has risen considerably thanks to women being able to work, go to university and (mostly) have the same opportunities as men. In 1950, the average age for women was 22.8. In 2019, it’s 29.6. The percentage of childless women has risen by 50% since the mid-90s. It’s becoming more normal to not have children, yet women are still asked to explain their ‘decision’ to not have kids.
I was worried that, by writing this post, I would succumb to making excuses as to why I don’t want children. I’m not financially able, I’ve got health problems, etcetera. I don’t want to have to do that. I shouldn’t have to make an excuse for why I don’t want children. As I said in the opening paragraph, it should be as normal as not wanting salt on your chips. However, I also don’t want to be quiet about it, like I’m ashamed of my choice or don’t want the controversy.
So, as promised, here’s why I don’t want children:
- I don’t like kids. This one always offends people, like I’ve just gone up to their child and punched them square in the face. I’m just not a kid-person. I don’t like the mess, the noise, how they act and I don’t know how to act around them. What do you say to them? Apparently it’s different when you have your own, but I’ve never known how to talk to a baby or child.
- I like my sleep. I don’t want to have to wake up at 6am on a Sunday or get up multiple times during the night for feeds. I’m not sure I’d even want to get up for the school run! This also links to…
- I value my spare time. There’s no time off when you have children. What if I wanted to go on holiday? If we went without them, we’d be considered terrible parents. If we took them with us, I’d never be able to relax. I prefer an adults-only hotel with a swim-up bar and no kids club. Now I’m an adult I feel sorry for my parents who took me on holiday almost every year whilst I was growing up. I also don’t want to think about planning ahead when it comes to trips or days out. I just want to go. This goes for nights out in the pub, too. You can’t bring a baby to a bar!
- The world sucks. Why would anyone want to bring a child into a world like this? An orange buffoon in charge of America, a money-grabbing, poor-hating party in charge of the UK and, most importantly, the ice caps are melting. Trees are being destroyed. Species are dying. Racists, transphobes, sexists, terrorists and homophobes are still (somehow) everywhere. The world is polluted and awful and I don’t want to bring a child into that.
- I appreciate my vagina as it currently is. Birth sounds awful. Whether you push it out or have it out the sunroof (C-Section), it’s dangerous, painful and a bit gross. I don’t want to put myself through that. Especially as someone with hypochondria!
- I have a stuck ovary. One of my ovaries has made itself a home stuck to the back of my womb. It still ovulates and works as it should and I’m able to conceive naturally (I have done, by the way), but if I was to proceed with a pregnancy, it could possible rupture as my uterus expanded. I believe I’ll need surgery to remove it if I ever decide to have kids.
These reasons probably make me sound selfish, and I totally agree. But I don’t owe anyone children, and my child doesn’t exist so I’m sure they don’t mind either. There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first. You are the only you there is.
Perhaps I’ll change my mind when I’m nearing 30 instead of 25. That’s fine too. My mother also didn’t want children until she had me at 29 (I’m pretty sure I was a happy accident). But, for now, I’m happy with having cats instead of kids.