I announced to my mother I wasn’t having kids at age three. My aunt, who is happily childfree, was the most positive force in my life. I truly don’t believe you have to be a mother to nurture. She nurtured my love of books, my individuality, and I didn’t realize people had a problem with it until I hit my 20s.
My mother tried, but she hadn’t worked her own trauma out before having kids, and passed it to me. For a while, I thought having children was absolutely immoral. I don’t think that anymore, but I still don’t want any part of it.
When my friends started to have kids, it felt like a secret club. No matter what I did: get my masters, graduate college, and build a career for myself as a professional writer, my accomplishments were overlooked and riddled with that age old comment, “you’ll change your mind.”
I’m 26 now, I live in a new city, I’m working on my masters and applying to PhD programs. I create through my writing, I nurture through teaching, and I’m okay being single, not having children, and giving myself to higher pursuits. The community helped with the loneliness, the grief I experience when my friends have kids.
Because, as much as people say its possible to hold onto friendships after kids, I didn’t choose for the relationship to change, and I found I was the one expected to make the effort to fit my schedule, my values, and my friendship around my friends who were parents. It’s okay to walk away. Friendships are a two-way street, and if it’s not serving you, let it go.
I used to be angry. I’m not angry anymore, I just wish to keep my life kid-free. Eventually, I’d like to get married and create a new type of family, but I’m still young, and I’m just taking this time to learn about me right now, and focus on my career. If I wanted kids, I might not have that luxury.
I also advocate for equality when it comes to childfree people. We pay more taxes, and yet we have fewer social nets to fall back on. We also face workplace discrimination, and barriers to sterilization.
I hope one day we see a world where women aren’t judged on the contents of their womb, but on their own personal individuality, character, and accomplishments.