“There is still this voice in my head that keeps me doubting.”

Ilse, 35, Netherlands

I have memories of myself writing names for my future children in my diary although I knew that I would never need them as I knew and told everyone I don’t wanna have children. I guess I did this because I didn’t trust my own mind and feelings as in our pro natal society you learn that as a girl you are going to have children and your purpose in live is being a mother. And to be honest I’m still not sure about my mind and feelings. Everyone arounds me is having children and all those people are having the same beliefs that are the opposite of mine. This makes me insecure and questioning my own beliefs about not having children. I am someone who is always in doubt about everything but with regards to having children I feel it is so hard to separate the societal pressures from my own beliefs.

When I was younger I knew for sure I didn’t wanna have children but the older I get the more in doubt I am. I guess this has to do with more people around me getting children and the thought “how can I not want something everyone else seems to want?” I think I’m still in the phase figuring things out about my childfree journey. It makes it also more difficult as I have a boyfriend who really wants to have children. Obviously we talk about this and he keeps on telling me that for him it is more important to be with me than to have children, but it feels like I am taking something from him.

Being a mother seems like a bad deal to me. You need to be the one carrying the child, feed it the first months, your whole body changes. And this is just the beginning, research in The Netherlands shows that women who are getting children pay a penalty for this as they will be earning less money than men who get children. Apart from that most labour is still done by mothers and institutions like schools and daycare support this. For example; when there is something wrong with the child in most occasions they call mothers first even though the father is the first contact person. This places a much larger burden on the mother.

I live my best childfree live with my boyfriend and cat which I both love. I absolutely love the idea that I have a whole life ahead of me that I can plan however I (and my boyfriend) want without thinking of the needs of a child. Making beautiful trips, working abroad, sleeping in on a Sunday and read the newspaper together seems like a pretty good deal to me. Although there is still this voice in my head that keeps me doubting.