“I was definitely bucking the expected path for women of my generation.”

Elizabeth, 57, USA

I am childfree by choice and am at the age that this is the final choice.

I think I always knew I was not interested in having children. When I was a young girl playing with dolls, I would often play that I was the babysitter, and remember telling my friends in middle school that if I had kids I would send them to boarding kindergarten and they could come home after college. I have no idea where I got this idea–I did not know anyone who went to a boarding school of any kind, just a concept from literature.

I have to say it was not a decision process for me, so not much to consider, more just self-awareness. As I became an adult, went to college and law school and began to pursue my career, it was really a situation where the choices I was making about how I wanted to live my life reaffirmed that raising children was not part of my path. I knew that creating a successful career, traveling, working in the community were the ways I would live a fulfilled life. I then met and married a man whose life interests and goals were similar to mine and who also was not interested in having children. Notably, I grew up and live in the Southern United States where there is much more of a focus on traditional gender roles, so was definitely bucking the expected path for women of my generation.

I believe that I have lived my best childfree life by building a successful career, being a respected leader in my community, having a loving marriage filled with laughter and adventure, and using my resources to support efforts to better the lives of women and girls and to support the development of women leaders. I have had the money to travel as well. By choosing to live my life true to myself, as opposed to listening to society’s views as to what women are “supposed” to do, I have been happier and believe that I will feel at the end of my life–whenever that is–that I have had a chance to make positive impact. I am now focused on the next stage of my life and how to create the legacy I want to leave behind.