Tuesday, 25 October 2016

"So When Are You Having Kids?"

Here's a cliche that turned out to be true: if you get married, be prepared for a public invasion of your reproductive system. Suddenly it becomes everyone else's business whether or not you want children, when you're going to have them, why haven't you spawned a mini-you yet? What do you mean you don't want them, what kind of selfish monster are you?!

Why do people think they have a right to ask these questions? Particularly people I barely know! Imagine if the reason I didn't have kids wasn't my choice - having people picking that over like it's any of their business would be offensive and hurtful. It's absolutely no one else's business what I do with my body, and if I haven't mentioned it there's probably a reason for that.

I'm a very indecisive person, but I'm pretty much certain that kids are not on the horizon for me. I just don't want them. I've never in my life felt any kind of maternal urge, and I can think of numerous reasons why I'm better off living a child-free life. But for some reason, everyone and their mother think they can convince me otherwise.

I know it's selfish, but I have no interest in giving up my own life in order to look after a kid. I'd honestly rather have a farm full of animals to look after; the only broodiness I feel is for cats, dogs and pigs. The time, effort and expense involved in raising a child is outrageous, and I have the utmost bloody respect for anyone who's doing it, especially those who are doing it with little to no help. I just don't want that to be me.

It's not, as was suggested to me, a fear that my husband might leave me to do the heavy lifting alone. It's just I don't think I'd make a good parent. I am short tempered and easily frustrated, and the thought of a small being incessantly crying at me for months makes my skin prickle with fear. I don't know how to interact with kids at the best of times, and as much as everyone says "Oh it's different when it's your own!" I don't really have any real wish to find out if that's true.

I don't think anyone should be reproducing if the first thoughts they have about motherhood include the words 'trapped' and 'suffocated'. I would much, much rather you thought I was selfish than I brought a child I didn't really want into the world.

It's also not that I'm a bitter, unfeeling person who doesn't have real emotions and am incapable of love. My life has loads of purpose and joy in it, and I love it. I don't want to change anything (apart from more pigs, obv) so why would I do so just to test drive the theory that I might be 'missing out'?

People say stupid things about this decision. "You could adopt!" Kind of missing the point there m'love. "You won't have anyone to look after you when you're old!" Yes, because that's a good reason for having a child. "Having kids is the best feeling in the world!" For you maybe. Last time I checked, we all liked different things.

Isn't it funny how it's acceptable to tell a virtual stranger that she's wrong about not wanting kids, but if you were to tell a pregnant stranger that she was wrong for wanting them, you'd be a monster. Why is it only okay to tell a woman she doesn't know her own mind if it's deviating from tradition? I'd like to think we were all old enough and mature enough to recognise that we are all different, and all entitled to choose our own life path. You want six kids? Excellent! I hope that happens for you, and if you ever need a (slightly awkward but trying her best) babysitter, hit me up. I would never, ever dream of telling you that you're wrong for wanting that, so please don't think you have the right to 'fix' my beliefs.

I find it fairly irritating how men are never subject to this debate. I don't know many men who've said they don't want children and been told they "haven't met the right person yet", or considered having a vasectomy to be told they "shouldn't be making irreversible decisions when they don't know what the future holds". All we childless-by-choice women would like is the freedom to make our own decisions without people sticking their beak in.

So many people tell me I'll "change my mind eventually!" - maybe that's true. Maybe one day I'll decide I want to be a mother. Maybe one day I'll be Prime Minister. As any true Belieber, I would never say never, but I don't think either of those are very likely, and either way, why does it bother you so damn much what I choose to do with my womb?!

I think I resent all this chatter about babies so much because part of it really does get to me. I often find myself wishing I wanted them, or trying to convince myself I do, because otherwise all the nasty things said about childless-by-choice women is true of me. I've sometimes worried that I might leave it too late, and only decide I want kids when I can no longer have them. The number of times I've had the "I don't want children, but if I did I'd want to be a young mum, and I'm scarily close to 30!" chat with myself is obscene.

I love my niece and nephews a lot, and it's not like I hate children. I just don't want any I can't hand back at the end of the day. I'm not a failure of a woman for not wanting to reproduce. I just know what's best for me.

What are your thoughts on having kids?

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