“I’ve been called ‘not a real woman’ for not wanting kids.”

Shanice, 29, USA

At my age (currently in my late 20s) it’s common for women to get married, have a career, and then kids to boot! Even though I live in a country that steadily allows diverse lifestyles there will always be those people who will twist up their noses and ask, “Why?” interrogating me as if I committed a crime.

My parents is where I get it the most but thankfully I haven’t been asked about – it hopefully they get the picture. My father particularly who’s a fundamentalist and conservative would grill me and my ex about the reason we didn’t want children. My father would say, “That’s strange for a man not to want his own kid.” If it wasn’t that, then my mother would have prospects placed on me of what my possible kids would look like.

I’ve been called “not a real woman” by my father for not wanting kids, and during my time in my mid-twenties dealing with a toxic relationship and not having the standard American Dream supposedly like my peers despite the reality. More people in my generation are realising that we don’t have to have children and that’s okay. No one should feel pressured.

I always knew I didn’t want kids as I wanted to live out my passions, have fun exploring, and live an alternative lifestyle. Kids didn’t fit in the picture. In addition to that, I have ADHD, I’m asexual, and growing up in a home where bullying and abuse were in my life probably pushed me further – as I never wanted any child to go through that.

If that makes me selfish, immature, and pessimistic to others then I say, “Oh well.” I couldn’t care less.

Back in my early twenties, I had made a promise to myself to heal and to truly think about the decision.

In my current life, I’m married to an asexual man who doesn’t want children as well and things couldn’t get better than this. We get to indulge in our nerd hobbies, travel, explore, have fun, and have unlimited freedom. If I were to give some advice to someone struggling with the decision to have kids I would say:

Be honest with yourself and give yourself time. Don’t let the people of your community or family push you to have kids – having kids is a lifetime commitment.