I am happy to share the floor with my next two guest bloggers. Though this blog is about raising children, both your own and in childcare, I thought something a little different might interest you.
I had a conversation with a friend a while back who claimed that she didn’t think a woman could be truly against having children. She said that there was something ingrained in every woman that made her want her own family. Though I had held this viewpoint to be true, thinking some women just suppressed the “urge” to have children and raise a family, I had been set straight by a particularly interesting friend of mine named Rebecca several years ago. Some women, though not the majority, truly are not interested in having their own families. Not just because their partner doesn’t want children, or because they are physically incapable, or were called to singleness, and simply say they don’t want children to deal with the pain of not being able to have their dream come true.
Because I love kids, and because I have my own and hope to have many more, I didn’t feel I would be the best person to write this one, so, without further ado, a bit from my friend Rebecca!
Hi. My name is Rebecca, and I don’t want to have children.
“But… but… you’re a girl!”
Sure am. Still don’t want any.
“You’ll change your mind when you’re older.”
I’m in my mid-thirties. How old do I have to be before people stop saying that?
“Maybe you just haven’t met the right man.”
Well golly, don’t tell my boyfriend that he’s not the right man for me. The last eight years will seem like a total waste!
As you might have guessed, most times someone finds out I don’t want to have children, they argue with me. I used to get really angry about it, enraged that someone would question my convictions about my own body and my own mind. Now that I’m older, I still don’t want children, but I’m less hostile about the question.
I believe that you (that’s the universal you) really believe that I just don’t know what I want. In the same spirit of understanding, can’t you believe that I might just know myself better than you do, total stranger?
“Okay, so, let’s say I do believe you. For heaven’s sake WHY? Why don’t you want kids? Kids are awesome!”
You’re right. Some kids are awesome. But a lot of them aren’t. In my years working as a substitute, I worked with multiple hundreds of children grades K – 8 and I learned that the kids I like are vastly outnumbered by kids I genuinely can’t stand to be around.
“But it’s different when it’s your kid.”
Is it? Tell that to all of my friends, family, and ex-boyfriends who were either given up for adoption or put in foster care. My boyfriend could tell you a lovely story about his mother putting his two older brothers in placement because she simply didn’t want to deal with them anymore.
“Well, they are just terrible people.”
You don’t know that. I can tell you, however, they all did what they thought they had to. I’m just saying that blood does not guarantee bond.
“But you even said you like kids.”
I do. I’d go so far as to say that there are some kids I really love. You know what else I love? Going to bed whenever I feel like it. Having popcorn for dinner. Saying to my boyfriend on a friday evening “let’s have breakfast in San Francisco,” and leaving.
You know what I don’t love? Loud noises. Sticky hands. Endless questions. High-pitched voices.
Strangers laugh when I tell them I have no maternal instinct. I don’t just lack the skills to care for someone, I actually just plain don’t like it. Nothing about parenting appeals to me. I’m not afraid of kids (as so many people have suggested when having this conversation), nor is it sour grapes. I just don’t need them to feel complete.
“But being pregnant is awesome!”
To you, maybe. To me, it sounds like having a small animal kick you from the inside for a few months, and then kick you from the outside for a few years. No thanks.
“But babies smell delicious!”
Okay, seriously, what is this? Every time I see someone sniffing a baby’s head I get creeped out, and SO MANY PEOPLE DO IT! Look, if you think they smell good, fine. But on their best days I think babies smell like rotten milk, and like white-hot garbage on their worst.
“Nothing feels as good as hearing a child call you ‘mom.’”
When you work in elementary schools, the kids occasionally slip up and call you mom. And every time it happened, I cringed.
“What about leaving a legacy?”
Sorry. If you need that for your ego, that’s your issue. I personally don’t feel that way. I don’t need to carry on in this world. I’m given one life to live – my own. And I’m going to live it.
“Who will take care of you when you are old?”
I will. I don’t need kids to pay for assisted living. I can use the money I didn’t spend on kids to pay for my own assisted living.
What I try to get people to understand is that we have different ideas of rewarding experiences. You might find the child-rearing process rewarding. I wouldn’t.
When it comes to being a parent, my personal belief is that you should only do it because you really want to. Not because you can, or because you think you’re supposed to, or because you just have to capture a slice of immortality and live on through someone else. I feel that you should just really, really want to be a parent.
And me? I don’t want to.
You don’t have to agree with that. You might think the only way I can be a real woman is to be a mother. That’s fine, you can think that. Just know that if you do, I’ll think you’re clinging to an archaic value system that has no bearing in my life and I will probably not be interested in any of your other opinions about me. To be fair, though, I’m not generally concerned with or interested in anyone’s opinions about me. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters (other than my own) is that of the person with whom I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life. And lucky for me, he doesn’t want kids, either.
I love my life.
If you have any comments for this blog or questions for my friend, please feel free to leave them below, but PLEASE, be kind and respectful, these are her views and she isn’t forcing them on you, simply sharing them with you.
Tune in for a couple days for a guest post by Tahlia!