I always assumed I would have kids. As a child, I envisioned myself married, most likely by my mid-20s, and being so close to my sister, thought for sure that having two daughters would be ideal. I never questioned it and never thought that I wouldn’t have kids, because it was just what I thought women did: grew up, got married, and had children.
Despite these assumptions for my future, I didn’t particularly care for kids. As I got into my teenage years, I’d babysit. Unlike my sister who was also babysitting at the time and loved it, I hated it. I couldn’t stand to be around children. I found them boring, annoying, and lacking any redeeming qualities whatsoever. According to my mother, I’d grow out of it. One day that motherly instinct would kick in and like her, I’d find myself aching to have a child of my own. At 35, I’m still waiting.
“I think I’m too selfish and vain,” says Randi Newton, writer and sober companion. “I’m getting close to 40 and finally getting my life together; physically having a human baby would cause something chemical to happen in my brain and probably make me crazy.”
According to recent statistics, a record number of women are not having children. As Time magazine reported, 49.6 percent of women between the ages 25 and 29 in 2014 didn’t have kids. Although that percentage drops to 28.9 for women between 30 and 34, the fact is that a woman opting out of motherhood isn’t as uncommon as it used to be.
It’s also a pattern confirmed by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2012, the percentage of childfree women between 15 and 44 was 46.5 percent, but by 2014, it was 47.6 percent. While demographers weren’t surprised at the dip in birth rates during the recession, the reason that they keep dipping is open to speculation. I like to think these numbers mean that not only are women realizing there’s more to life than motherhood, but also that I’m not alone.
As much as my parents were hoping for a granddaughter, and even though my nephews would love to have cousins—I’m their only hope for such a thing—everyone is sort of resigned to the fact that it’s not happening, and honestly, it probably shouldn’t.
I know many women who have children think that a woman like me is a monster. Having written about this topic before, I have mistakenly glanced at the comment sections and seen feedback from mothers (and fathers). I have been told that I’m sad, that I will never realize what love is until I have children, and only in procreating will my life have meaning.
I have a career, I’m married to a man I love, and I have, if I do say so myself, a beautiful life. Maybe someone with such a life should share it with a baby, but in my humble opinion, that beauty will cease to exist if I do. I don’t think I should force something that isn’t there, and I definitely don’t think I’d be doing either a baby or myself a favor by having one just so I can regret it later. I highly doubt my opinions on the matter will change, but if they do, I’d prefer to regret not having them, than regret having them.
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