Gender & Identity Life

I don’t want kids. Do me a favor and stop telling me that one day I will.

I really don’t like kids.

I came to this realization when I was about 13-years-old, and I’ve never looked back. I don’t have a maternal instinct in my body. I feel like my brain is melting from anxiety every time I hear a screaming toddler in the grocery store, and the emotional and physical demands it takes to raise a human are not qualities I think I can give. I don’t have anything against those who want to become mothers; I’m just not one of them. Which would be fine, except I’ve had to endure years of comments from family members, acquaintances, and even strangers telling me that when I meet the right man, I’ll finally want kids.

Um, what the hell?

You’re telling me that just because I may meet a man who I really love (which, good luck there, since I’m not that keen on long-term relationships or marriage) and I decide to settle down with him, I’ll have a sudden epiphany and want a little Lauren growing in my uterus, to be pushed out nine months later with excruciating pain? You think I’ll suddenly abandon my pursuit of education, my hobbies, and my career because I meet the right guy, and I’ll want to become a mom because of the man I love?

I’ve heard this bogus sentiment from a lot of different people, in a lot of different ways. My mom used to push back against my assertions, insisting that one day I’d want a family, someone to take care of me in my old age, once I got married. These discussions would inevitably lead to arguments as I vehemently defended myself, explaining that I have no desire to bring children into the world, and if I ever change my mind, it sure as hell won’t be because of a man.

After several years, I’ve finally gotten my point across to my mother, and now, she offers support for my goals instead of insisting that I’ll have kids one day.

There are a lot of reasons why a woman may not want to have kids. I’ve always been pretty self-aware, and I learned early on that a future with a family is not what I want. I’m not selfish or abnormal because of it. I’m simply picking my own path and choosing the life I want to live. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything grand by not adding to the population. Diapers, crying, and paying someone else’s college tuition doesn’t appeal to me.

Some of my extended cousins have recently given birth, and I have to admit, the babies are cute – but that doesn’t mean I want one. I enjoy holding the little ones when they’re sleeping, but the moment they start to fuss or cry, I panic and hand them over to their parents. During these visits with the new babies, my aunts have told me that it doesn’t matter what I say now, I’ll end up having kids one day. They laugh when I roll my eyes and tell them that under no circumstances do I want to be a mother.

It’s a bizarre feeling, telling someone over and over that you don’t want a particular lifestyle, and having that person completely disregard your feelings. It’s frustrating that someone else claims to know what you really want and what kind of very personal decisions you’ll be making with your body in the future.

Society needs to back off of women who say that they don’t want to bring kids into the world. This starts with family members supporting their daughters, nieces, and cousins when they announce that starting a family just isn’t in the cards. At the very least, those who think they know better than the woman who is in control of her womb can back off when she says nope to babies. Telling women that they will experience “baby fever” when they get older or that they’ll want kids when they are married to the “right” man is belittling and invalidating.

Accept that some women can’t wait to be mothers and that others never want to be, and move on. Women are not damaged, selfish, strange, or denying anyone anything by not having kids.