“The first 30 years were for others; the next chapter is for me.”

Jenna, 31, USA

Being childfree allows me to be on a consistent journey of exploring and relishing in contentment.

Growing up, it was assumed that I would have children. There was never a conversation around choice. It wasn’t until I was maybe sixteen, in a conversation with my sister who said, “I just know I’m meant to be a mother,” to which I responded, “you know that???” that I began to question whether or not it was something I wanted to do.

As a child, I had a hard time enduring the tears and shrieks of small children, and years in customer service didn’t do much to soften me. As I grew older and friends around me began to have children, I realized how much I did not want to be a mom. Feeding, bathing, responding to cries, and making sure they meet their developmental milestones–it is a full-time job! There are no breaks and (what seems to be) constant judgment.

In my late twenties, with lots of therapy, I had a lot of revelations about relationships, especially those I was raised to believe were normal. I thought it was normal to put myself on the back burner, that it was what was expected of me. Once I gave that up and learned that most people (while appreciative) also just want me to be happy, I began to thrive.

I am a middle school mental health counselor, a present partner, and a “dog mom,” and I joyfully embrace the label of, “nerd.” I am able to give because I don’t have children, and I love it. I joke that the first 30 years were for others; the next chapter is for me.