*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
When I was twelve years old, my older cousin had a baby. At eighteen and married, she seemed very grown-up.
I didn't feel grown-up at all. Why should I? I was twelve.
Holding babies was something adults did. I had never held a baby before. No one had ever offered to let me hold one until then. I can see why. Even at twelve, I was immature, and personally, even now, I see no reason for me to hold a baby.
While my cousin and her baby visited with the other members of the household, I retreated into the bedroom to watch music television. Without warning, my cousin snuck quietly into the room and dumped her sleeping baby onto my lap.
She said she thought I might enjoy holding him; she was wrong. I mean, she wasn't entirely wrong, but she was wrong enough. Babies just aren't my thing, and I knew it even back then at the tender age of twelve.
The baby felt soft and warm in my arms. He was sleeping silently. The silence was important. If there's one thing I dislike more than babies, in general, it's the sound they make when they're awake. Horrifying.
Holding my baby cousin felt a lot like holding a sleeping cat, only far less rewarding or relaxing. It wasn't bad; it just wasn't good, either. I don't like babies, never have, and the experience only helped solidify that.
While it wasn't an entirely negative experience, it did nothing to foster a love of children or a desire to have any of my own. I don't, and I don't, in that order.
I love being child-free, and I never want a baby of my own (or anyone else's). Yes, I know what I'm missing, but I'm not missing it at all. There's nothing about sleepless nights, changing diapers, or lugging around ten plus pounds of meat that appeals to me.
From what I've seen, people who have kids don't even want them. They just pretend.
They put up with the screaming and the pooping and the puking because they feel like they have to. They do it because that's what you're supposed to do when you grow up.
I refuse to do something just because I'm supposed to. I want to do what makes me happy, and being child-free makes me very happy.
So, no, I don't want kids. I'm happy without them, and I know I'm missing nothing. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm gaining something by not having them.
What am I gaining? A good night's sleep, for one. Also, spare cash, free time, and a clean house. But mostly, I'm gaining peace of mind. I'm not worried about messing up another human being. I'm not responsible for another life.
I know some people will never understand why I don't want kids, but that's okay. They don't have to. As long as I'm happy with my decision, that's all that matters.
Feel free to try to change my mind. Comments are welcome.