For most of my young adult life, I assumed I would one day get married and eventually have children. I figured 25 would be a good age to do both. After I finished college, grad school, and later the Peace Corps, my priorities shifted. As I began to travel more frequently, I quickly realized how having children would have a huge impact on the carefree lifestyle I had become accustomed to. I also began to ask myself if I truly wanted kids because it was expected or did I not want them at all? Years ago, I recall dating someone who I felt was the one. After two years, I figured marriage was the next step. Inevitably during the relationship, the topic of kids came up. I expressed I didn’t want kids and he conveyed the opposite. Initially this wasn’t something I thought much about. I believed I was so in love that I would force myself to have kids if it meant having him in my life. It goes without saying no one should feel “forced” to have kids to keep someone around. Just as much as someone should know they want to have kids, they should also equally know they don’t want to have kids. As you guessed, the relationship eventually ended. After the relationship ended, I truly began to doubt I would meet someone who had the same desires as myself. Typically I would meet someone and the topic of kids would eventually come up and they would always say “when I have kids…” This always made me feel awkward because I knew I didn’t see kids as a necessary part of my future.
I love kids. I enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews but I never have moments where I feel like, “Oh I wish I had kids of my own.” I don’t get baby fever when I see cute babies out and about. Coming from a family of 6 where I am the only one who doesn’t have kids or is pregnant, I often feel misunderstood. As much as I know my family loves me and supports me, each comment about my desire to not have kids stings. It makes me feel as though they don’t respect the decision I’ve already made. I can’t count the number of times I’m told, “Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old, or oh you’ll change your mind, you’re missing out, etc.” I respect the decision of those who choose to have children, I just ask that you respect mine as well to not have kids.
Sometimes I feel my role is to provide opportunities for my nieces and nephews in ways that perhaps their parents are unable to. I’ve been fortunate to take one of my nieces to Amsterdam and my nephew to New York. Since traveling is my passion, my desire is to expose my nieces and nephews to different cultures, countries, and languages.
In June 2017, I met someone who changed everything. While swiping on Bumble, I met my now-husband James. Shortly after we met, he expressed his desire to not have kids. When he said those words, it seemed like everything stopped. It was the first time I had met a guy who didn’t want kids. Of course that wasn’t the only reason why I married him but it was definitely a part of it. My husband has his reasons for not wanting children but we agreed we desire a life of freedom to explore our passions, and children are not a part of that equation.
As a woman I often feel society makes you feel like something is wrong with you if you choose not to follow the status quo. Often times when couples get married, the immediate expectation is when they will have children. Of course there are couples who suffer from infertility and those who simply choose to live child-free lives. Whatever it is they decide, be kind and don’t assume kids are a part of their life plan.
7 thoughts on “Child-free by Choice”
Nice article! It’s great that you’re confident in your choice not to have children because other people expect it.
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Love this. I agree … people should feel free to lead the life they desire. All the best my friend!🙏🏾
This was beautifully written. It made me realize how insensitive I have been to people in the past who may have not wanted children. Now that I am a mom, I realize it is really a HUGE LIFE CHANGING decision and I respect those who decide to not do it.
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Truly enjoyed reading this B 😀
As someone who found myself pregnant (and un married), i find myself trying to defend my decision to society and now i am like, sod it!
Having kids was never part of my plan, i did not get jitty at the sight of them and finding myself pregnant (and un married) was something that set me back
But i am determined not to let this new path my life has taken slow me down, i am more motivated than ever to get going and before my daughter was 1, i applied for her passport (immigration tried to pull one on me that the father needs to give consent, i ripped into them, they wished it never came up)
We’ll take our first trip this December (inshallah)
I have learned to respect the decisions of friends who choose not to have children, because i also have friends who want kids and cannot, so…
Great article, Brittany. I share some of your same sentiments – especially about providing opportunities for my nieces. What a blessing to have a mate who feels the same as you.
Thanks Nina for reading. Yes, I feel very fortunate to have met someone who feels the same way.
Thank you for sharing! I appreciate your honesty.