"You'll change your mind", "you'll regret it if you don't", "it'll change your life." These responses aren't just what I'm hearing from friends while discussing whether I should watch Bridgerton. These are also replies I receive when I say I don't want to have children. No baby scan announcement post and no gender reveal party for this 27 year old.
Yes. I'm 27, in a 7 year relationship and I don't want to have kids. Why does this bother people so much? When I announce that "we never want to be expecting", why is it questioned? Is it because it's not what society expects? I never asked my friend why she got pregnant but to me her decision is far more permanent and life changing. So why does only one of these life paths get fully acknowlegded with acceptance?
2020 was the year of watching Netflix. The more I watched, the more I realised a lot of movies and TV portrays marriage and having babies. Is this what everyone expects from two people in a relationship? They've been together a while, they're in love. They must want to get married and then have kids, right? This happens as well to my boyfriend and me, every time we see family at special occasion, now zoom occasion. We get asked: "When are you going to start a family?". Same thing when we meet someone new, they ask "Do you have kids?". Why do people ask that? Is the most interesting part of being a woman whether or not we're moms?
I did end up watching Bridgerton, and the way Daphne was expected to marry and have children. Yes, for an heir because it was the 19th Century but has that expectation really changed? During an interview in 2019 with Deutsche Presse-Agentur Taylor Swift was asked if she would like to be a mother someday, to have children. I loved, excuse the pun, her swift response of "I don't really think men are asked that question when they turn 30, so I'm not going to answer that now". She was promoting her upcoming album, yet the reporter was more interested in learning if she wanted children. Taylor was in her late twenties at the time, in a serious relationship. So of course the most fascinating question is when is she having a child, right?
You may be reading this thinking why do I not want kids? She must have had a rough childhood. She's career driven. It's for financial reasons. Spoiler, I had the best childhood with the best parents who made sacrifices for me like every parent and I'm eternally grateful. I have a job that I love but it wouldn't stop me from doing anything I want to do.
Can I financially afford a baby? No. I can't even afford myself at times. People in their twenties are struggling to buy their own house, to get a good paid job. So how can we happily get pregnant without financial worry? The majority deem it selfish to not have kids but should I have to apologise if I want to live my life my way? Spending my money on myself and the ones I love. After Covid, I want to continue to go on 5 star adult-only-holidays. With a child I couldn't do that or even afford it. Having a kid is a permanent financial decision and honestly, I don't think couples think about that enough pre pregnancy.
My reason for not wanting children is simple. I just don't want to and that should be enough, no follow up questions. I love my life full of hobbies and interests. Ultimately a child would limit my time doing those things. Call me selfish but I'm never going to be ready to give that up. However, that doesn't mean I'm going to live a lonely bitter life. I'm not going to die alone when I'm old because I had no kids looking after me. I'm going to be with my boyfriend reminiscing about the life that we chose for ourselves. A life that was full of happiness, meaning and purpose. Being a parent or not, isn't that what life is all about.
So from now on when a woman announces she doesn't want children, let's not focus on the why but more on the okay.
Written by Sophie Page
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