Childless by Choice
How choosing not to procreate can alienate
By: Cate Thompson
I’ll probably be called up by a firing squad of irate soccer moms for this, but I know I’m not the only woman out there who doesn’t have and has never wanted children.
In fact, not wanting to give birth was the only sure thing I did know, and I knew it at a very young age. Young as in 5 or 6. Sure, I played with dolls, but I also played in the sandbox with cars. The idea of playing mommy was dull and stifling. It’s not that I don’t have maternal instincts. Every so often, they claw their way to the surface, but I guess mine just aren’t as strong or developed as those of other females.
When a new mother all aglow would return to the office in which I worked to show off little Kaitlan or Justin to her co-workers, estrogen was thick in the air as all the women in a 200-yard radius would zero in and oh and ah and coo like fools into the face of the sleeping newborn. I would be the one stealing away for a coffee in the break room, or if that wasn’t refuge enough, out of the building entirely.
I have mellowed over the years. My resentment or indifference was much more pronounced in my 20s and 30s. Now in my 40s, I wonder where I’ll end up in my old age and kick myself for not donating my eggs when they were still considered fertile so that I would now have a tidy little nest egg of my own tucked away!
I still don’t regret my decision. Kids are expensive, and they have this nasty habit of being around for a long period of time. In many cases you give up your dreams, if not yourself, for them.
I don’t have the constant concern of where or what my child is doing at any given moment of any given day nor do I have to worry myself sick over who might abduct my child if I’m late picking her or him up from school. I have wondered how parents deal with it. Both spouses working, dropping off and picking up the kids from school, all the extracurricular activities youngsters seem to be involved with these days. Who has time? Do parents sleep? No wonder they’re so stressed!
I’ve sensed resentment from women because I have it “easy.” But it’s not like I won the lottery. I made a conscious decision. I also feel it was a responsible decision that I was able to recognize that it may be a mistake to bring another human being into the world if I didn’t really want that for myself regardless of what society believes is the right thing to do. I understand that not every woman is in a position to take such a stand; or they start out thinking having a baby is going to be something far different than what actually transpires.
Women who are childless by choice, however, are in the minority and even considered by some to be freaks of nature because of our position. When conversing with a group of gals, the minute the conversation turns to children, I’m completely ignored. Why include her? She doesn’t have a clue! These same women, however, insist that you come to their baby showers.
But regardless of our procreation choices, we are women too, even if our wombs have never felt the kick of tiny feet or we have never endured the pain, exhaustion and joy of labor.
Women of all races, sexual preference, tax brackets and age need to stick together and look out for one another. And although this is something I am unable to do, it would be encouraging to know that mothers are teaching values like this to their daughters and that the message will, hopefully, carry on down to future generations.
Tell us: Are you childless by choice?