I was having an indulgent Friday. I slept in late and was snuggling with my dog and scanning Facebook while watching Sex and the City reruns. The episode in which Charlotte leaves her awesome art gallery job was on — My Motherboard, Myself if you’re in the mood. I was in the middle of the scene when Charlotte calls Miranda and is angry about the judgement she thinks Miranda has about Charolotte leaving her job to try to start a family. Charlotte was screaming, “I choose my choice!” and I saw a Facebook post featuring a cartoon from Upworthy about a woman choosing to not have kids.
Much of that cartoon resonated with me. I do not have kids and I do not want kids. Yet, I’ve been told so often that I will change my mind. That I will make a great Mom! That kids will change my life in ways I could never imagine.
And of course that makes me think of a scene in Trainwreck when Amy Schumer’s character is told her life hasn’t started yet because she doesn’t have kids. I’ve been on the receiving end of those kinds of comments many times (see above). One person even told me that I was depriving my husband of his natural desire and right to procreate. Another asked me how it felt that was ruining my parents’ lives by not giving them grandchildren.
Geez. I simply do not want kids. I do not dislike kids. I do not judge people who have kids. I know myself and I’ve made a reasonable life decision with my spouse. And I’m happy in my life.
Yet still, I feel as though when I tell someone I don’t have kids that I have to follow up with a story to help them understand why I, a seemingly intelligent person with ovaries and a uterus, has made such an against-the-grain decision. And here is my spiel:
“Oh no, I don’t have kids. I have furry children and am a fun aunt to my nieces and nephews. I never really wanted human babies but when I met Dave I knew that I could have a family with him. But I was never so relieved when he told me one night that he didn’t want children. And we’ve checked in over our ~15 years together and are still on the same page.”
Phew! That is a mouthful. It’s all true, but nobody needs to know all of that. And I shouldn’t feel obligated to provide so much context. I shared it here to make my point that I’ve acquiesced to the societal pressure that if I don’t have kids, I better have a darn good — and specific — reason.
But as of today I’ve decided I don’t want to tell that story again. Not unless we’re close friends and we’re chatting over wine or beer about our lives and relationships.
Until then…I don’t have kids. I choose my choice! I don’t want children. Period.
Bobbi is a freelance consultant who lives in Washington, DC. When not serving as an operations octopus for her clients, she can sometimes be found watching reruns of Sex and the City, One Tree Hill, and Beverly Hills, 90210. To chat about any of these, you can reach her here.