When I was younger I always thought that having children was just what you do - I never considered anything else.

But five or six years ago, I was talking with friends, and I realised that I’d never felt like I wanted to have kids.

I always felt like children would be a burden financially and physically exhausting. Whenever I saw parents, it seemed like they were drained and not really happy, so I started wondering, why is that the case? It made me fear all the commitments involved in having a kid, and all of the things I could lose.

Talking to my friends, I had an epiphany: I don’t have to have kids, if I don’t want to. I’d never really considered this an option before, and as soon as I did, it was like a weight had been lifted from me. It was such a relief!

My mum doesn’t understand. She asked me why I didn’t want to have a child, to watch it grow and feel proud of it, and I told her this isn’t something I need in my life. I joked with her, asking why don’t I have the kid for her, seeing as though she seems to want it more than I do!

One time, she asked if she’d made it seem like my brother and I were a burden, and I said no. But thinking about it now, she was a single mum, raising us by herself and working full time. She didn’t hide the fact that it was tough having kids, that it was a lot of work. It annoyed me because my mum was the one who decided to have kids, but she was always complaining about it. So maybe this did have an impact on me. She loves us a lot, and is really proud of us, but motherhood maybe wasn’t something she was really happy about. She’s happy about having us but maybe not about being a mother.

My brother also doesn’t want kids, and my mum’s realised she’s never going to have grandchildren. She even sent me a text message one time, in which she was making me feel guilty, saying she’d had a dream about us not having kids and how sad she was going to be without grandchildren. I didn’t respond. She’s stopped asking questions now.

Most of my female friends don’t have kids, and don’t want them. But one friend I was really close with when I lived in Hamburg seemed really hurt when I told her I didn’t want to be a mother. I visited her just after I had made the decision, and she already had one child. She asked me when I was going to have a child, and when I told her the truth, she seemed really hurt. It was like she thought I was questioning her decision to have children.

But whenever my friends who want children, have them, I’m so happy and excited for them. This is their decision and I support it.

When someone with kids questions whether I’ll regret my decision, I want to turn around and ask them the same thing! Having a child and regretting it would be so much worse. One of my ex-boyfriends would always say, “your clock will start ticking”, I’d tell him to shut up, “it’s been ten years and nothing’s changed yet!” I feel like there’s nothing to argue about. This is my decision, and that is your decision, and we just need to respect each other.

I just don’t feel any urge to have a child. When I think about pregnancy, I think about how it affects your body, and can be really dangerous. So I have no desire to have a child, and I also know how much of a struggle it is. It’s so nice to earn my money and not have to worry about looking after someone else.

As for my career, I sometimes worry that, because I’m around the age when women start to have children, that this will count against me in interviews. I have a friend who works in HR, and she tells me it’s a real thing. She said it’s good to clarify that I’m single during interviews, so people don’t think I’ll be having kids anytime soon.

I’m thinking about getting sterilised, but I’m really scared about going to a doctor because I’ve heard so many stories about how difficult a process it is. I know they’ll tell me that I will change my mind if I meet the right man, but that’s crazy. Why do I have to have a man in my life to decide what’s right for my own body?

I don’t want to take the pill any more, because I saw how much had been affecting me when I stopped taking it. It took half a year to feel normal again, so I would rather be sterilised, but I’m scared about seeing a doctor. When I was younger I had a doctor who asked me when I was going to have kids, and when I said I wasn’t, he told me how sad that was! I don’t go to him anymore because I don’t want to be judged, but now I would ask him, why is that sad?

This is my body, and it’s my decision.