I grew up liking all the things that little boys are supposed to like. I didn’t understand why baby dolls were supposed to be a fun toy. Hot wheels and Tonka trucks are fun. GI Joe and TV show action figures (Spock from Star Trek, Little Joe from Bonanza, and Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes) were so much better than Barbie with her deformed feet.
The closest I got to thinking about having kids was “maybe someday.” I’d watched my cousins and older sister go through pregnancy and taking care of infants and kids. Absolutely nothing about any of it seemed appealing or worth it.
As I got to grad school, friends started having babies. Again, nothing about the whole process appealed to me. Pregnancy and childbirth wreck your body, and raising kids is super stressful (and expensive). I felt like it took all my time and energy just to do the basics for myself. There wasn’t anything I was willing to give up to bring a kid into my life. I knew it was critically important to have a kid only if I was certain I wanted one. I never even got close to wanting any.
By age 25, I was making it clear to partners that abortion would be my only option if contraception failed. Caution and luck meant I never had to make that decision, but I know I would have had no regrets over ending an unwanted pregnancy.
Choosing to remain childfree has meant that I could pursue my PhD without any delays. I was able to search for the jobs I wanted in the locations I wanted without consideration about K12 schools (or a partner, as I didn’t get married until I was almost 44). When I divorced, there was no child custody battle, and when I got together with my current partner I was post menopause.
Menopause has been a fantastic gift—no more worries about pregnancy!! I’ve been lucky to have relatively mild symptoms, but they’d have to be pretty debilitating to be worse than continued menstruation, or pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing.