“I felt that to fit in I was going to have to endure the horror of having a child.”

Emily, 28, UK

I’ve known I didn’t want children pretty much since I was old enough to understand the concept of “motherhood”. It wasn’t for me, it was never going to be for me, and I knew it.

But everyone else disagreed. Over the years I’ve had boyfriends who have refused to believe I don’t want children “because it’s what everyone does”, I’ve had doctors tell me “you’ll change your mind, they always do” and I’ve had family tell me “you just haven’t met the right guy” – and it has been crushing.

Crushing to the point where I’ve felt broken, I’ve had to question the belief I’ve had about myself since I was tiny, and at one point I felt that to fit in I was going to have to endure the horror of having a child. I cannot describe to you how sick that made me.

In my mid-20s I left an emotionally abusive relationship in which he would often call me “the future mother of his children” because he knew it upset me. After leaving I found myself again, and in finding myself I knew once more that kids was absolutely never happening – and that I was willing to offend my entire family if I had to.

Luckily, as I’ve grown up (I’m 28 now) and settled into a new, very happy relationship with the most amazing man who is also completely adamant he doesn’t want children, my family have come round to the idea and no longer make jibes or pressure me. We still get “you’ll change your mind” from some friends but together we just laugh it off as we go home to our quiet, peaceful house, our beloved cat, and our amazing childfree life!