Childfree By Choice

Womanhood 8 Comments

By Cynthia Hornig – It started after college. I was dating a man who wanted to know what our future was. He wanted a future with me, but I knew he wanted children, and I didn’t. We were young, so it didn’t matter at the time, but I knew the topic would resurface again, and it did. He said he never met a woman who didn’t want children and he couldn’t really understand my choice. I was atypical, I knew it and now he did too. We went our separate ways.

When I did decide to get married, my husband and I were both clear and on the same page when it came to procreating… we didn’t want to. Well, it was clear for us, but for family, friends and strangers… not so much.

As many women can probably attest to, when you are in your 20s and 30s, people – and by people I mean everyone – feel free to broach the topic. My response became rote, “I will never say never, but not right now.” It seemed to satisfy most of the inquiries, and was much simpler than what I really wanted to say, which was more along the lines of, “I am not having children, I don’t want to have children. Stop asking me, it’s none of your fucking business.” But, I didn’t dare. God forbid I made anyone uncomfortable. But that was then, and this is now.

“I am not having children, I don’t want to have children. Stop asking me, it’s none of your fucking business.”

Ironically, I am more prepared today to discuss my childfree choice than I was when I was younger. And, now that I am in my mid-40s, fewer people ask why (my guess is that most folks probably think we couldn’t have kids and are being polite by avoiding the topic), but I wish they would!

The reality is that I have no definitive answer as to why I chose to be kidfree. I am just wired this way. I have no dark confessions, no intellectual reasoning, and make absolutely no apologies.

Although it hasn’t always been easy, I am proud of my decision, and of the fact that I never allowed myself to feel guilt or shame for choosing to not have children, despite societal pressure. Going down a different path, no matter where you are headed, is always a bit bumpy.

There are many schools of thought (rational and many irrational) on the connection between motherhood and womanhood. One argument is that a female who does not bear a child is somehow not a “real” woman. But nothing could be further from the truth, because womanhood is not contingent on motherhood, and that’s the real truth!

Oh… and if you were wondering about some of the perks of a childfree life…here they are, all in one funny video. 

Cynthia Hornig is Co-Founder and Editorial Director of Women You Should Know.

  • gargouille

    Thanks for this brave piece and hilarious video! I’m
    thinking that a “Happy Chose-not-to-be-a-parent’s Day” is in order.
    I’ve always said that some of us have to balance the rampant
    overpopulation of Mother Earth so that others can perpetuate the race.
    So, here are my two answers to the inappropriate question: “I’m just
    balancing the human ecosystem!” and “Well, someone’s got to appease
    Bastet–by mothering cats–and you are not helping!”

    • Cynthia

      Thanks Gargouille for your comment. If it’s alright with you I will start using “I’m just balancing the human ecosystem!” in the future… that’s if anyone is brave enough to ask me!

  • Angelism

    Such a simple and effective thought ! Way to go. I completely agree with you. I think saying”not now” helps a lot ! Then they just stop asking 🙂

  • julz

    I’m happy to know that I’m not alone with this. Everybody’s nagging me about having kid’s. I’m turning 28 and I’m already happy with it. I can’t even take good care of my dog, what more for a child who I don’t know if she/he want to be brought to this world….

  • Hopscotchy

    I’ve definitely felt pressure to have babies since meeting my husband in 2005, I was only 19! It’s almost as if something was wrong with me for not having a teen pregnancy. Several women in my family got knocked up at 16, or immediately after getting married, and they were all doted over. And while we have decided to have a baby now (I’m 28) I can totally understand where you and other women are coming from in your decision. People need to mind their own damn business about a woman’s reproductive decisions. If you want a baby, great…if not, fine. Worry about your own life and allow others to make the best choices for themselves.

  • Estelle

    I don’t want kids. Fortunately nobody’s pestered me about it yet, and I hope it stays that way.

  • Why do we even need a “reason”? I can think of plenty, I like my life as it is, I don’t want to be financially burdened, I want to enjoy my career and not be limited by the impact having kids has. I will happily say I am selfish, that I like my lifestyle, I like freedom to sleep in, to travel, to indulge in my hobbies.
    I have absolutely no maternal instinct at all and never ever have and have always been upfront about it. Recently I had a hysterectomy to fix my ongoing endometriosis problems and now I finally feel like I have control over my life and its fantastic. I feel more myself WITHOUT my uterus than I ever have before – instead I was shackled to this organ that ruled and ruined my life and caused me ongoing pain.

    • Mary Williams

      It is your life and your choice. Don’t
      let anyone talk you into it and you are not a bad person because you chose not too.