“Sometimes I wonder if I can consider myself childfree after pretty much raising a girl already.”

Sheyla, 37, Ireland

I was born in Mexico and grew up there during the 90s. I knew that I didn’t want to have children from a very young age because I could see how big the responsibility of raising a human being was. My father abandoned my mother when she was pregnant with me, and during my early years, my mother was present in my life while giving me the carer responsibility in both our lives. When I was 15, she had my sister, and since then, I became a de facto mother for both of them until one day, when my sister was 10 or 11 years old, my mother left us. Sometimes I wonder if I can consider myself childfree after pretty much raising a girl already.

I am a writer, and as a part of my career, I have to do a lot of research work; in 2015, I won an artistic residency in Kilkenny, Ireland, and that’s when my sister and I came to Europe for the first time, during that trip I met the most amazing guy, we fell in love, and after a few months we decided to move in together. My sister was accepted into the music conservatory in Ireland, and I moved my writings with me to Dublin. I married my partner in 2019.

He has always been childfree, so we have agreed since we met. However, I must confess that I had a period of doubt when I was getting closer to 35 years of age. That mysterious thing called the biological clock started ticking. I could hear it in the back of my head asking, what if you regret it? What if you die alone and miserable? What if you are missing a great experience? What if, what if, what if? After many sleepless nights and long heavy conversations with my partner (and therapist), I realised that the voice I was hearing wasn’t mine; it was the voice of my family’s conditioning, the voice of my culture and society. I have always been afraid and a bit grossed out by the idea of having a fetus moving inside of me, and knowing that a pregnancy after 35 is already considered geriatric and how much the risks increase the longer you wait were all heavy and vital factors in my decision-making process as well.

We are sure that we won’t be having children and are happy with that decision. This allowed my partner and me to explore our careers, enjoy our relationship and have the flexibility to decide the rest of our lives only to make each other happy rather than sacrificing the best years of our lives educating children. I admire the people who do it, but I’m also glad not to be one of them.