“I shared my clarity with my partner and we dreamed of a childfree life together.”

Megha, 38, India

I started considering whether I wanted a child only once I met my partner, after a decade of being single. I could see that he loved children and I felt the need to examine and be clear about what I wanted; I didn’t want to leave him hanging or hoping. Did I really want children or was I feeling the pressure and conditioning to want them?

As I researched and talked to people, I felt torn. I could see how rich, beautiful and meaningful the experience of having a child could be. But I just wasn’t willing to put myself through the suffering of it, in order to experience that joy.

I couldn’t imagine putting myself in a situation where I’m not sleeping well for years, where I’m regularly highly stressed and dysregulated, and having to take full care of another human. It was enough learning to care for myself and show up to my partnership. I wanted my quiet and my freedom. I did not want the noise, the planning, the children’s parties, the vigilance, the burnout.

I shared my clarity with my partner and we dreamed of a childfree life together. We both agreed that there were plenty of other ways to experience partnership, meaning, and joy.

Now, when I meet my friends with children, I still feel a pang of missing out on this incredible relationship between parent and child. But we can’t have it all and I don’t want to be driven by the fear of missing out. So I let myself feel the pang, the momentary desire to have a child, and relax back into my choice of being childfree.