Opinion: I Will Not Want Kids When I “Meet the Right Person”

Carolyn Light

I’ve already met him, and I still don’t want them

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

There is little in this world that offends the masses more than a woman who does not want children.

I’ve personally never understood this line of thinking. Why does it matter to anyone else if I want children? How does it affect their life in any way, shape, or form?

I’ve never wanted children; the idea of being a parent has never appealed to me. When I was a little kid, my best friends would coo over the babies we’d see on the sidewalks in their strollers when we were riding our bikes.

Isn’t she so cute? they’d say as they grinned up at the baby’s mother. I couldn’t tell if they actually thought the baby was cute, or if they just liked that for once, they were bigger and older than another human being.

Um, sure, I would say, trying to fake a smile, staring down into the stroller to see what, exactly my friends found so charming.

I’m in my 30s now, and this feeling has never changed. I’ve dated a variety of men — some that I’ve loved and envisioned futures with — but I never wanted children with any of them. My sister got married and has two children of her own, and I love the bones of those kids. I’d die for them. But, I’ll never want my own.

It unsettles people when I tell them I don’t want kids, and I’ve heard every variation of the stunned response.

You’re still young. You’ll change your mind when you’re older. I haven’t; I won’t.

When you meet the right man, you’ll definitely want kids. I have a partner now I couldn’t imagine being without. He is the “right” man for me. I don’t want kids with him, and neither does he.

You’ll want someone to take care of you when you’re older. I’m not going to procreate so I have someone to take care of me in my old age. If I had kids, I certainly wouldn’t want the relationship to be so transactional.

I didn’t think I wanted kids when I was your age either, but then one day, something changed. That happens a lot. I believe you. I know many people that this happened to. I’m old enough now though that I know it will not happen to me.

People assume that because I don’t want children, that means I hate them — but I certainly don’t. I like kids a lot, actually. I think they’re fun. I taught first grade for a number of years and that was one of my favorite jobs. I loved those children. Loved them. And, I was happy to leave them at the end of the day.

People believe that because I don’t want children, there is something wrong with me — there are many things wrong with me, but me not wanting children is not one of them.

People think that because I don’t want kids, I don’t know myself or what I want — this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m entirely introspective. It’s because I know myself so well that I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I don’t want kids.

Here is what I know about myself:

If I got pregnant, I’d have the baby and rise to the occasion. I don’t doubt that I’d be a good mother if I was called to be a mother. I won’t choose this for myself, though.

Children are expensive, and I don’t have the money. I would figure this out if I had to. But life is expensive enough without adding children to the mix. Without kids, I worry about my finances constantly. I don’t think I could mentally handle worrying about keeping my child fed.

Ultimately, I’m selfish. I never understand why people have a hard time admitting their selfish tendencies. Inherently, we worry about ourselves and our own needs, and our own wants. Some people are more selfish than others, but we all have it in us to act this way. For me, I’m incredibly selfish with my time. I work a full-time job, I’m in grad school, and I spend my weekends freelance writing and getting caught up with my family. I’m not going to make space in my life for children. I’m just not. I don’t want to. And, because I don’t want to, I don’t think it would be fair of me to have a child.

I’m not sure where I would even raise a child. I know that I don’t want to raise one in the United States, and that’s where I live. I’ve researched the visa process in multiple other countries, but I don’t have the confidence that I’m going to be able to leave here any time soon, and I don’t like the direction this country is moving in. I don’t have the energy to raise kids in this climate.

Children are a full-time commitment, and they deserve full-time parents.

By this, I don’t mean that I think parents should stay home with their children. To me, full-time parents are people who think about their children, their needs, their wants, their hopes, and their dreams, above all else — particularly while the children are little and in need of nurturing.

Children deserve parents who think the sun rises and sets with them. Children deserve parents who have the energy and willingness to pour their every bit into their care and wellness. Children deserve parents who want to take the time to raise them into good people, conscious of themselves and the world around them.

If I know that I don’t have the energy or desire to do any of these things, why would anyone want me to have children? It doesn’t make sense. I genuinely feel that the least-selfish thing I can do in this situation is ensuring I don’t have a child.

Ultimately, the choice to have children is a personal one. It’s a deeply intimate conversation and decision to be made by individuals and partners alike, and each individual deserves to have their choice in this matter respected.

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We're all just out here, doing our best. Pondering: Mental Health | Feminism | Relationships & Dating | Social Climate

Chicago, IL

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