“I was never really sure…It just happened and bam – you were there.”
That’s what my mom said to me a few years ago. She’s a great mom and a very “liberal” one, in her own words. And despite having three kids under her belt, quite literally at one point, she was never fully certain of her need to have children.
“I guess it was just expected. Or they would say that it was ‘my time’. I never really sat down to process the weight of having a baby. The culture I was in has led me to question the confidence of my own wishes.”
The culture I was in has led me to question the confidence of my own wishes – That was the case for my mom, back in 1997. And now, almost 24 years later, in the most modern and progressive society there ever was, women are still faced with sleepless nights and awkward family gathering questions that relate to children.
People argue from a biological, social, and even health-related point of view. Should women or should they not have kids? It seems as though everyone with a social media platform and following has an opinion on the topic. Even the ones who are unneeded. On the other hand, overpopulation is a social issue that pops up whenever kids and women having them are talking about it. Since the number of women having children is statistically decreasing by the year, two things are certain:
- Women have broader freedom of choice today than they’ve had decades ago, resulting in fewer kiddos on playgrounds.
- Overpopulation could very well be avoided due to exactly this.
The bottom line should be this: No uterus? No opinion!
But since the society we live in has made it impossible for women to be vocal about their own bodies without being ridiculed, these conversations between us ladies need to be held. The truth is, we just don’t know sometimes. And that’s the toughest part, there is no official return policy for having a baby and regretting it. So if you are on the fence about this, maybe it’s best to not cross it.
“Should I have kids” this and, “do I want a baby” that…
…First things first.
Don’t Listen To Your Environment
Your mom wants you to have a baby, your grandma is patiently waiting for you to announce your pregnancy to the fam, and to top it all off, your friends are slowly crossing that baby fever fence too. And even if you’re not really interested in having kids, right now, or even ever, there’s still this pressure around whose kitchen table talks. On the other hand, women who vocally express their choice to not have children are deemed as unnatural, selfish, and even cold-hearted and crazy. When you decide to go public with your choice, it’s not just your family being brought into it, but your entire environment.
Try to remember that none of these people, directly or indirectly influencing your decision, will live your life or raise that kid. They won’t provide for them, go to all the soccer or ballet competitions for them, clean them, feed them, and very occasionally have a mental breakdown because of them, SO their opinions should not matter. The uterus or no uterus. Make sure your thoughts are your own, and not echoes of someone else’s!
Is It Normal To Not Want Kids?
A few years ago, one woman has written quite a think piece on an online confession site:
“I love my son, but I hate being a mother. It has been a thankless, monotonous, exhausting, irritating, and oppressive job. Motherhood feels like a prison sentence. I can’t wait until I am paroled when my son turns 18 and hopefully goes far away to college.”
In other words, yes, it’s more than normal to not want kids. Some women want to put their full focus on their careers, love, or even themselves. Some women just don’t want to “settle down” and take that suburbian route in life. While that does work for some, others just end up feeling chained. And there’s nothing worse than making a life-altering decision than regretting it. If you really think about it, it all originates from other people’s definitions of happiness.
“Kids really saved our marriage”.
“Motherhood really changed my life for the better”.
“You need that kind of stability in your life to be happy”.
“It’s selfish to not want kids. Who are you working for then?”
In other words, blah blah blah.
Do not allow these social norms to shape your opinion and change the course of your entire life. There are so many women out there who, although adore their children, have only after having them realized they never wanted to be mothers in the first place. A simple “I don’t want kids” should always be enough.
There are also women who’ve sworn they never wanted kids but changed their minds 10 years later. This topic is neither black nor white, but a vast shade of grey, so it should be treated individually, rather than have one norm or rule.
“You’ll regret it when you’re 40”
I’ve heard this one come up in conversations on more than one occasion. And although it can fuel some excess overthinking and stress…The odds are pretty slim to make that extreme 180 at 40. What possible reason could make up for all the cons that have been building up throughout the years? Love? Maybe. Loneliness? Possibly. Fear? I guess. Whatever the case, approach your decision securely, with an open mind and acceptance that things may change down the line. If it does end up being a regret, embrace the feelings that come with it and know that there’s a world full of women who have most likely gone through the same thing. Additionally, there’s more than one way to have a child. Think about surrogacy and adoption, because you can really change a kid’s life.
On the other hand, try not to plan out the next 20 years of your life. Be focused on what you want now, not in a decade, two, or three. After all, this regret coin has a flip side too.
Regretting Having Children
There are women who regret having kids – Today, some women are pushing social boundaries by vocally speaking on the unspeakable taboo that is motherhood, or the regret of it.
It is a huge taboo to regret the “most beautiful part of a women’s life”: motherhood. At least that’s how motherhood was marketed to us women throughout the decades. From social media explosive celeb pregnancy reveals to the Pro-life crusaders and their anti-women bullshit, it’s hard to hear your own voice in a crowd full of people shouting. So, don’t take it from us, take it from the women who’ve publicly spoken out on the not-so-beautiful side of motherhood.
“I am depressed. I hate being a mom. I also hate being a stay-at-home mom too!” – wrote another woman on the same confession website.
The book No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children by a mother of two, Corinne Maier, tells this shocking tale of why not to have kids. Released in 2007, when it wasn’t as normalized to be this outspoken about certain social, or even uterus-related issues, this book sure has sparked quite a conversation, as well as a few, raised eyebrows.
It’s a great read for both mothers and women still debating their desire to become one, as it provides more than enough insight and personal experiences. Through both comedy and a more serious tone of voice. At the end of the day, it’s not that easy to establish how to know if you want kids or not. It’s different for everyone, there’s no singular test you can do that will help solve your dilemma. This is exactly why you should do your own research, read books and speak with experienced women before deeming your life one way or another. And lastly, we’ll leave you with this: No environmental judgement is worth making a decision that will quite literally cost you a life you deserved to have.
Put you, your body, mind and heart before anyone else’s!