Once again people in my life are talking about or having children, and since I am now married it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable question is asked ~ when are you and G having kids? Anyone that knows us well knows we are not ‘children people’, but despite that we are still asked each year. Or worse told that it’s different when you have your own, you’ll find out when you have them. I have too many problems with that sentence alone to articulate a polite response. So instead here are my personal reasons for not wanting and why I will never want children.
I'm Not Maternal
I am possibly the least maternal person you could know. Don’t get me wrong I can look after and care for children and have done. I just find no interest in it. Parents wax lyrical about the amount of joy that children bring to their lives but I do not coo over babies and find them sweet, I do not find amusement in toddlers learning to walk and I am not interested in school projects that have won first prize. I just wasn’t built to be a mum.
I can openly admit that I am selfish. I have spent a good portion of my life adapting who I am to please others, now I’m finally happy with myself (sort of) I’m not willing to change that. I am not willing to adapt my social life to include a child, my house to include an abundance of brightly coloured plastic, my holidays to fit in with the school holidays when it is horrendously expensive or my lifestyle to revolve around a child's itinerary. You may think that makes me rude but I think it’s better that I acknowledge it and accept it now rather than finding out once a baby is on the way and end up resenting the child.
I Have A Mental Illness
I have a serious but highly functioning mental health disorder. It makes daily life difficult for myself and for G. Because of my mental illness I like to do my own thing in my own time and have a child would interfere with that; the stolen nights away with the other half that so many parent's talk about would most likely come on the days when all I want to do is hide under the duvet. G and I muddle through and understand that we need to make the most of the good times – a child can’t do that. I grew up around an diagnosed mental health illness and believe that it severely impacted me. Not only would I not want that for another human being there is always the possibility that things are hereditary and believe me I wouldn’t wish this illness on my worst enemies.
The idea of being mentally, emotionally, socially and fiscally responsible for another human being for the rest of your life is damn terrifying. No one talks about it when they mention kids. It’s all about 18 years, but I’m in my late 20s and still turn to my mum for help even if I don’t live in her house. Something so important and so scary should be properly considered not just done because ‘it’s different when you have your own’.
I don’t want them
I am the one in control of my life and my body. If I say I don’t want kids it would be nice if people would just accept my decision and move on rather than telling me all about how different it is, how much joy they bring and how cute my babies would be. I am not a good patient at the best of times; take away cheese, fish, eggs and alcohol and add an alien growing in my body and there’s the chance I will lose all my friends. My babies with either be imaginary or cats – end of discussion.
Children are a big step for anyone. So many parents I talk to tell me that if they had their choice again they wouldn’t have kids – they want to know what it’s like to have their life without them. Some people love them and can’t wait, others like me will just never even attend the idea. But whatever type of person it is THEIR choice. A request, when someone says they don’t want kids don’t try and convince them they should.
Published by Hannah Graham