I’ve known since I was a child that I didn’t want to physically bear children. When I was in grade school, I had to do a timeline assignment where we mapped out our futures. I wrote I wanted to marry, become a millionaire, get divorced, adopt a child, and then die at an old age. My mother, on the other hand, always knew she wanted to be a mother even if she was a single mother working two jobs to support two daughters by the age of 28. It did mean, however, that she encouraged my sister and I to focus on academics and good jobs before getting into serious relationships.
For me, college led to law school, which meant I didn’t have to consider serious relationships or having children until my early 30s. Luckily, I met a man who was as ambivalent about having children as I was. We were directly faced with the question in 2019 when we decided to get married in the church and had to go through pre-marital counseling with a priest. We had to fill out a questionnaire that asked if we believed that the purpose of marriage was for procreation. We both checked “no”, which apparently is a deal-breaker.
Since then, we broke the news to our parents that we were heavily leaning towards not having children, and I have sought community with online Facebook groups like “Respectully Childfree.” When a CNN reporter reached out in the group looking for experiences for an article on being childfree, I volunteered my information. I didn’t realize my photo and story would be heavily featured. Since then, I’ve been asked to speak about my childfree experience on a digital talk show and NBC News Now. My family and friends now call me the “poster child” of being childfree.
At first, I was afraid about the potential stigma and backlash. But my husband and I have received nothing but support, including from our mothers. It has honestly felt so freeing to be “out” about being childfree. I’ve had acquaintances reach out to connect because they felt lonely or isolated about their decision. It has also allowed my husband and me to fully live our childfree lives. We both have several side hustles and goals for our future, in particular becoming financially independent and “retiring” from our day jobs at an early age. Our plans don’t have to account for parental leave, childcare, or educational expenses. Choice, community and communication have been the three foundations of being childfree for me. If my story can help others, the exposure around my decision has been worth it.