Motherhood. It’s a biggie! It’s a life-altering, soul changing decision. You bring a new life into this world, an innocent little life that you are responsible for.
Society would have you believe that as a woman, it is your “duty” to have a child. That your life will be “meaningless” without one. That you will “regret” your decision when you are “old and alone with no one to ask after you”.
But just because society says it’s the done thing and because everyone around you is doing it, doesn’t mean it is right. Besides, having a child is no guarantee that you will have someone to look after you in your old age. I’m sure you’ve seen enough old folks around whose kids have all but abandoned them.
Choosing to have a child is a big decision – and I tip my hat to all of you who have chosen parenthood. When it comes to me, though, I have always believed that you should want – desperately, whole heartedly, irrationally – to have a child. Then, and only then, should you have one. Because having a child is a full-time job. A HUGE responsibility. And you can’t say “Oops, sorry, not my thing” after you have a child.
That desire has never arisen in me. Sure, I’ve felt a surge of panic when friends have told me they’re having a baby. Very happy for them, mind, just wondering if there is something wrong with me. If my decision is “wrong”. If I am going to regret it.
Until I think it through – about actually having this little helpless human dependent on me for everything. A life I will have to mould and shape, and won’t know if I am doing an even half-way decent job of it until it’s too late. I think of all my free time being gone. Of having this full time responsibility forever, 24x7x365 until I die. And I feel suffocated. And so I know – my decision is right, for me. At the end of the day, I would rather regret not having a child than having one and regretting the decision.
So when I saw this survey, with answers by 270 women on why they don’t want children, some of whom are in their 60s and are wildly happy, I felt like I had been heard.
There are many, many reasons why I don’t want children. One blog post isn’t going to be enough to write about them all. But this I know for sure: I don’t want or need children to feel validated as a woman. I don’t need children to give my life meaning or to pass my legacy on though a child. I love my life, my free time, my space, quiet and solitude. I love being able to make decisions without thinking about a kid. I love the fact that I can spend my time lost in the flow of creating a painting or reading a book or binge-watching GoT. The husband and I are at peace with our decision – one that we have revisited every couple of years during our 13-year marriage – and at the end of the day, that is what matters.
So, what are your thoughts on motherhood or on being child free? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Note: I last wrote on this topic back in 2009, after reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s awesome novel, Eat, Pray, Love. You can read that post here: Thoughts on motherhood