My husband & I decided to be childfree during our engagement. We met when I was 17 & he was 21. At 18, I moved away to University, he moved with me & we started living together. Everyone was dismayed/disappointed assuming that living together before marriage meant I would end up pregnant, drop out of school, and ruin my life.
When I turned 20 we became engaged. Suddenly the narrative changed. Everyone immediately started asking when we would start having babies? The question came without judgement or shame, but with joy & excitement.
I was furious. Nothing about my situation had changed. I was still in school, but suddenly instead of being ashamed that I might “end up pregnant”, people were suddenly excited & hoping for it. So initially, as an act of pure rebellion, when asked I would tell people we didn’t want kids.
I happen to be working part time as a nanny, while in school full time. I adored the child I cared for, but just the thought of having to entertain him for more than the few hours a day exhausted me both physically & emotionally. So I asked my fiancé if kids were a “deal breaker”, because I really wasn’t in love with idea of committing my life to raising anyone other than myself. He said he didn’t have strong feelings either way and he could be content with or without kids. So we agreed to remain childfree with the option to revisit the conversation at a later date as needed.
We married. I continued to work as a nanny for another family with several more little ones, & eventually graduated as a nurse. People joke that the best form of birth control is being around kids, & that certainly did the trick for me!
At 29, I decided to have my tubes tied. I had worked for a few years for my own gynecologist, so it wasn’t difficult to find a surgeon who agreed to perform the procedure. I have never felt so FREE in my life as I did following my tubal ligation. The relief was immeasurable. I was able to come off the birth control pills I had been on since the age of 17 & discovered a level of intimacy with my spouse (and with my own body) I hadn’t been able to previously experience. I am now almost 39 & still believe that to have been one of the most pivotal & wonderful decisions of my life.