I think I always knew I didn’t want children. But since that is so contrary to many social norms, I thought it must be that I don’t want children “now” and maybe I would “later” – when I finished training, worked less hours, found the right partner, etc.
But eventually I realized I was in a relationship and financial situation where becoming a parent would be as reasonable as it would ever be – and I definitely did not want to. I don’t need children to be fulfilled as a woman or a person, and I enjoy the freedoms being childfree allows me.
I’m actually an OB/GYN, and I get a fair amount of surprise when people find out I don’t have children. While I love helping women have healthy pregnancies and deliveries, another important part of my job is helping women not get pregnant if they don’t want to be, and offering them their full range of reproductive options.
Many women face a lot of pushback if requesting sterilization when they are “too young” or haven’t had children, and I find this incredibly frustrating, paternalistic, and disrespectful of women’s bodily autonomy. While counseling about permanence and risk of regret is part of any discussion on sterilization, any person who understands this and desires sterilization should absolutely be listened to and respected. Having this perspective has helped me to better help women in a non-judgmental way, whatever their reproductive goals.