“I am just hungry for life.”

Catherine, 37, Canada

I have always had a million interests and hobbies and I don’t even remember if I was ever bored. Creative since pre-school and all my life, a bookworm, I am also someone who changed life occupations and locations many times. I am just hungry for life.

Last time I said that I’d eventually have kids, I was around 18 years old. The internet had just started developing, and I lived in a pretty conservative East European country where Every Girl Should Prepare To Become a Mom, and a woman with no kids is said to be tragically howling into her pillow at nights. And ‘You will regret when it’s too late’, and ‘Think about your parents!’ (we even have a common expression, ‘Give grandchildren to your parents as a gift’.

I just didn’t know one could live differently, but I wasn’t a fan of the idea. It was a revelation to stumble upon a small but dynamic local childfree community online. People were mostly coming there to let out the steam because the society kept pushing. I was just, ‘Wow, here nobody is shaming me and saying I’d die a crazy, lonely cat lady’. So I first called myself childfree being about 20 years old. Now, almost 20 years and countless friends’ kids later, I am only growing more and more confident and satisfied with my choice. It just feels so natural.

When I emigrated to Canada I literally felt a mountain rolling off my shoulders. Over many years I only had several occasions to be told I will/should have kids. Wow! And I met lots of people who talked about it offline not risking their peace. I am still amazed and grateful. Also when the pressure dissipated and I no more needed to defend myself, lie, and snap at nosy neighbours, I fully felt that my proclaimed childfreedom wasn’t a defensive stance but my natural condition.

I’m an artist and still a person with a million interests. A higher level of freedom is essential for me to be truly alive and do what I am best at, which brings this enormous, indescribable feeling of fulfilment.