“Having so much time on my hands for myself was a dream I never thought I would have.”

Devi, Berlin

The last time I had even the tiniest bubble of a thought about having kids was when I was around 25 or 26. To put that into perspective, I just had my 47th birthday, so this was like 21 years ago.

I remember the conversation I had with my boyfriend. We were sitting on the back stairs of our apartment, snug as a bug, having a chat. I can’t remember if it was him or I that brought it up, but it was very casual, like, “Do you want kids?” “Maybe. Do you want them?” “I don’t know, maybe.” And then there was silence. We never talked about it again.

We both, without speaking, understood that neither of us wanted children. We never actually voiced it out loud, it was just this electric feeling between the two of us sitting there, that we both understood that that was our way of accepting and being OK with not wanting them. I’m not with this person any more, but I think this was the closest to thinking about having children I’d ever come. I just didn’t think about it any more after that.

I was born in British Columbia, Canada, and raised in Langley, a very small sort of cowtown. Once I was old enough to fly away like a bird, I moved to Vancouver, and lived there the rest of my life before moving to Berlin.

I played with dolls, but I was more interested in getting into nature and climbing trees. Adventure and discovery, the freedom to play and run around was more thrilling to me. My dad taught me a lot about the stars, moon and planets. Seeing these tiny glowing spots in the sky, individual, but vibrant, part of a group, but independent. I liked how they just appeared to be free-floating. That appealed to me.

I never had any pressure from my parents. No emotional manipulating or guilt-tripping, or anything about, “Well why aren’t you having children? I want grandkids!” My mom, she’s so cute. I had a pug for 15 years and she said, “Davina, you don’t need children because I have my grand-pug”. She called him this! For her, she’s like, “It’s your life, you do what you. I support you, whatever.”

I have a brother, he’s three years younger than me and has children. My nieces are lovely adorable little creatures, and they couldn’t have a better set of parents. Actually, this is funny, but the only pressure I’ve ever gotten about not having children has come from my nieces! One of them said to me, “Davina, why don’t you have children?”

I thought, wow, how do you answer this for a child? So I asked first, “Why do you ask me?” And she says, “Well, I feel kind of lonely. I really want cousins.” So I just said, “Children aren’t in the cards for me. I love you, you are like extended children to me. And if I don’t have my own children, I know that I have you in my life.” I love children, I just don’t want them.

Making this choice has given me the freedom to live how I want and where I want, because I’m only responsible for myself. I was able to move across a major continent and body of water to see what else life had in store for me. I moved to Berlin in 2011 because I was disenchanted with my career in the Canadian film industry. I’d been a costume set supervisor for 12 years, and was feeling trapped. Even without children, I felt trapped, in a job that took 80 hours a week, leaving me no time for family, friends or myself. I realised my life was slipping by fast, so I got out.

My quality of life took a major turn once I moved to Berlin. I can do the work I love when I want. I can stay up late, sleep in if I choose. Having so much time on my hands for myself was a dream I never thought I would have. If I had children, I would never have had the liberty to do this.

I wanted to see what else was still out there for me – I knew there must be more. Travel, adventure, meeting people, learning a new language, further developing my photography, filmmaking and sewing skills… I wanted to be on my own. I wanted to DJ again and be in a band.

I’ve started an anarcho post-punk band here in Berlin, combining my love of music with my politics, philosophies and witchery. It’s the perfect platform and medium for me to be creative and spread important messages about human rights, animal rights and the conservation of our planet. When we’re able to travel again, I’m looking forward to connecting with new people all over the world.

My spiritual practice is a passion I’m turning into a career. I’m a tarot card flippin’ witch. I’m at the point in my life where I want and need to give back, so I use my 30 years’ experience in witchery to help people. This is self care and life coaching, and I teach workshops on tarot, ritual, the moon and everything witchy. I believe that when we are in tune with our highest power, we can help others get there too.

Once I was dating a guy ten years younger than me. He loved older women – great! But he said some things that really disturbed me about women and having children. He basically said to me that I would never have a serious relationship with a guy because a) I was older, b) past childbearing years, and c) we date to find a mate to marry and reproduce, so chances are I should “take what I can get’!

For a hot second, I actually believed him. He got into my head. Then I stopped myself and realised what a crock of shite that was – along with other “challenges” in the “relationship” – and walked out. I never looked back at him, or his internalised, patriarchal, toxic masculinity. I never felt so strong in my life.

I’ve used dating apps, and I think I had one discussion on one date with one person, who I ended up being with for quite some time. He was the type of person who laid all the cards out on the table at the very beginning, which was so refreshing. He just said, “Yeah, I don’t want kids. This is how I am. And these are the mistakes I’ve made in the past.” Like literally this huge confession to a stranger.

I thought, “You never get this. This person knows exactly what they want.” I found that so attractive, and it also gave me the space to be open and honest with him about my feelings. It was really easy. The last couple of guys I’ve been with have had vasectomies, and when I found that out I thought “Daaaamn. If I was a guy and had that chance, I would do it.”

In relationships, I never had the urge to reproduce. A woman’s body isn’t solely for reproduction. My body is my temple, I take care of it, but using it for children just never occurred to me.

Find Devi at Witchery and the Moon and her band CIERN.

Photos by Zoë Noble
Words edited by James Glazebrook