Childfree by Choice

Childfree by Choice

grumpy cat
This is how I feel about kids.

I’m not sure if you could say this fits fully with the theme of my blog. I suppose it does because for me to get pregnant would mean having to get off most of my bipolar medications. Some bipolar medications are safe, like Lithium, but Lamictal isn’t safe, so I’d have to get off that. The research for pregnant, bipolar women is, well, depressing. Your depression worsens during pregnancy and worsens after pregnancy. That’s one reason for me to NEVER have kids.

Depression sucks. Big time. Not only would I have to be dealing with pregnancy, which seems like it sucks, but I’d have to be dealing with a depressive episode while still being expected to function. And then I’d have to deal with an even worse one after! I admire women with bipolar disorder who can push through the pregnancy and post-pregnancy part.

In any case, a lot of articles about childfree lifestyles have popped up on my newsfeed, so I finally decided to discuss why I myself want to remain childfree–and how annoying it is to deal with people who find it strange that I want to remain childless.

I don’t want kids. I have known this since I was 7, but only because the thought of being pregnant terrified me with all the screaming women on television, giving birth to alien-like creatures that I don’t understand how people can even say are cute. I’m now 24 and still receive flack for not wanting kids, both by people I know on Facebook and some co-workers around my age who have kids–or those whose kids have grown and are out of the nest.

I used to be good with kids…when I was a kid. Now that I’m no longer a kid (technically, though people older than me still consider me a kid), I have come to the conclusion that I-just-do-not-like-kids.

They are annoying. I have people who tell me I’d probably feel differently if I had my own kid, but this one woman has a child and finds her own toddler annoying. So, no, I most likely will not feel differently if I had my own. I wasn’t wild at all about my nephew at the infant stage. I couldn’t stand his screeching crying in the middle of the night when my brother would stay at my parents’ house with him. I felt awkward being around him because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with an infant. Apparently I have selective maternal feelings, as one friend put it, because I gush about cats but am absolutely ambivalent about infants, toddlers, and children in general. My co-workers will gush over cute babies and toddlers in the mall. While I find babies cute once they hit a certain month and toddlers as well, I don’t turn into a pile of stupid mush like I do for my own cat.

No, I find them downright annoying, especially when they open the door to the Fiat, want to climb inside, and mess with everything. There are two things broken in the Fiat already, probably because of careless parents letting innately annoying children screw around with everything.

Weird, right? I suppose I enjoy my cat because she’s largely self-sufficient. All she wants is my attention, which can sometimes be annoying, but her meows, even out of distress, are just too adorable for me to be annoyed at her for long. Plus, she’s absolutely sweet, comforting, and completely non-judgmental.

Once my nephew hit a certain age where I actually could begin to play with him, I began to feel less weird around him. I’m still not at that stage of being a fully involved aunt, but I do make it a point to play with him…just a little bit.

He’s 4. I have to admit it has been incredible watching him grow up, just viewing the marvels of how fast children develop; it really is amazing. One year they’re not talking, and then the next they’re absolute chatterboxes, talking about everything and anything. One year they have no idea what to do with the toys you give to them, and the next they’re playing with those toys and using their wild imaginations. One year you have to do everything for them, and the next they start to dip their toes into the waters of self-sufficiency.

Even so, I still don’t want kids. I’m absolutely happy being an aunt because I don’t have to be the one to parent my nephew. I get to have fun with him. As I’ve said, I’m not a fully involved aunt because his parents are divorced and he’s primarily brought over when my brother has him, and I’m generally at my fiance’s house when he comes. I tried to find balance about two weekends ago between fiance and nephew, but it didn’t work like I hoped it would. When I came over Sunday to spend time with my nephew, my brother and his girlfriend (she’s so wonderful to my nephew) decided to take him out to eat, so there went that! I wanted to wait until dinner, but the stress of needing to finish schoolwork ultimately won.

One day I’d like to take him to the park and play with him; I love the park myself. Once he learns how to ride his bike, I’d like to get my own and go on a short bike ride with him. I’m young and energetic, and so I’d like to do energetic things with him, not passive things, like playing with his super hero toys and all that. Once I do become more fully involved in his life I might have to discipline him, but I don’t have to parent him.

When I tell people I don’t want kids, specifically my co-workers, they tell me I’m young and will probably change my mind when I’m older. As far as I know, I know plenty of women around my age who don’t want kids right now but KNOW they want them in the future. Then I have others tell me they were adamant about not having children at my age but eventually had them when they met the right man in their 40s. Let’s see…I don’t want them in the future, and I’m pretty sure I’ve met the right man, and I still don’t want them. I have been with my fiance for 7 years.

I’ve read that it isn’t uncommon for asexuals to not want kids. Some absolutely do, but I think a great deal of us don’t. My asexuality probably explains my complete ambivalence toward toddlers, infants, ect., ect., ect. It probably explains why I don’t get those hormones that are supposed to make me gush over children like other women do. It’s just not in me, and it’s extremely condescending when people tell me I’m young and will most likely change my mind later.

What makes them think this? Why are they so obsessed with whether or not I have children? In fact, why on earth are they obsessed with what I do with my womb? Can they really not fathom the thought that there are people out there who live childfree lifestyles? Can’t they just accept that my choice is none of their business, and if I, for whatever reason, change my mind, they have no right to gloat? Men don’t seem to get this kind of flack as far as I know. (If you are a man who has received flack, please comment below.)

I know one woman in her 40s who doesn’t have children and never wants them! People think she’s selfish for not having any kids. What age is it deemed acceptable for people to stop telling you that you’ll eventually want them?

I also want to know why it’s selfish to not want kids. I would like to argue having kids is an innately selfish thing. In fact, here are some common reasons why people have children, and all of them are selfish. Of course, parents are necessary, as I do care about the continual survival of the human race because I love people in general. I am also glad I was born. I love my parents, and I wouldn’t ask for another set of parents. But I wouldn’t care if I wasn’t born, as I wouldn’t have the self-awareness to know that I have not yet been brought into existence, if I were ever even going to be born to begin with! So that little egg sitting in my uterus doesn’t care whether or not it’s fertilized because it has no self-awareness.

I’m not saying it isn’t selfish to not want kids. I’m saying it’s hypocritical of some parents to say those who choose to remain childfree are selfish when having children is innately selfish to begin with.

I’ve been also told that I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t! However, I do have some control over my future, and I definitely have control over whether or not I want kids. There are no outside forces that are going to determine that for me.

Ultimately, I don’t want children because I won’t be able to live the life that I want. When someone has a child, life has to drastically alter to fit everything around that child. Everything has to be about the child when it is an infant. No more going to the movies as often as you used to. No more going out to restaurants, unless you’ve been happily blessed with an easygoing child, like one of my friends was when her child was an infant. Everything just changes, and I know what having an infant would entail for me–and I don’t like what I would most likely have to change about my life if I had a child.

Some people who have children think their lives are going to change for the better, until they have one and realize their lives are not what they thought they were going to be. This doesn’t mean they love their child any less and would change their minds if they knew what parenting would entail. This just means they shouldn’t have been naive to begin with.

I have a friend who always wanted a child. When she was pregnant, she thought everything was going to be fruit from the gods. Then she had a child and realized her life wasn’t what she thought it would be. She even said that her happiness no longer matters, as long as she can keep her child happy. But she loves her daughter. I see pictures of her and her daughter on Facebook all the time, and it’s clear she still tries to have fun for both her and her child–and her husband. Can’t forget him. So she makes the best at the life she chose, which is great, because there are some people out there who never should have been parents to begin with–and I’d likely be one of those parents, if I were one. 

There are also too many young ladies around my age who have children and often struggle to make ends meet.

In reality, people should wait to have children until they are steady in both relationships with their significant others and financially stable.

I just want to say I admire parents. I really do. I’m not one of those fools who thinks parenting isn’t hard work and that parents shouldn’t complain because of how easy their jobs are. Their jobs are not easy, and parents should be allowed to complain. So, GOOD parents, you are awesome.