Having kids is a blessing, but so is not having kids. Aside from the obvious of being able to focus more on your career, other things about women without children are often taken for granted. For example, we make the best friends because we give 100 percent of our undivided attention. We have room in our lives and hearts to take in stray animals. And on a very serious note, seeing what’s going on in the world, we can pat ourselves on the back for not bringing children into it.
However, it’s undeniable that childless women feel somewhat alienated when around mothers. Not wanting kids is a statement that provokes skepticism.
Oh, we’ve heard it all. “How could you not want children?” “People who don’t have kids are selfish.” “You hate kids.” “You wouldn’t make a great mom anyway.”
It is absurd. Having no desire to be a mother doesn’t mean a person wouldn’t make a great mom. It doesn’t mean we hate kids either. In reality, it’s often the childless woman who is the most child-like and truly loves children. She’s the one kids gravitate to at parties and weddings. She’s the one entertaining your child while you take a much-needed break and indulge in some serious adult conversation.
I am that woman; the woman who moms whisper, “Thank you” to at the end of the evening because I kept your playful little boy amused, while you and other adults ignored him.
Mind you, this article is not meant to be a competition of moms versus non-moms, but that women who choose not to have children should be equally celebrated and honored. Instead, we are often disrespected with undeserved ill comments from strangers and acquaintances.
The Reasons Not to Have Kids are Just as Valid
Sadly, because of that, I used to pretend I couldn’t have children. I soon realized being looked at with pity was just as bad as being viewed with disgust. After all, judgment is judgment no matter how you slice it. So instead, when challenged, I will stand strong and proudly share my honest opinions:
Becoming a mother was never on my “to-do list. When I was a child, I played with toy animals, not baby dolls. Many women worried about their biological clock. I couldn’t wait for mine to tick out.
I simply don’t coo over babies. Puppies, yes. Kittens, yes. Not babies. I just don’t have the baby-making gene. You can’t force that.
I never got pregnant. I feel like if things were meant to be, they would materialize. Had I gotten pregnant I may have changed my tune. But that never happened. Then again, I used triple precaution—birth control, condoms, and the WIO method. For those who don’t know what WIO is, it means “whip it out.”
And I am not alone in this. More and more women are opting out of being part of the breeding community. In a recent article in ABC Everyday, Kellie Scott stated that The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that sometime in the next decade, the number of couples without children will overtake the number of couples with. This confirms that more women are choosing not to have kids.
And in a recent article for Philadelphia City Life, Gina Tomaine wrote that even though she was perfectly situated at age 32, with a happy marriage and a home, she wasn’t sure she wanted kids. Her millennial generation had “baby fever” but in an aunt way. I hear that. Sign me up for auntie or babysitter of the year!
I used to babysit a girl named Claire when she was 9. We had a lot of fun together before I sent her off to school in the morning. We played games, sang, danced. And she confided in me. When her family was moving to another state, she really didn’t want to move. I lent an ear as she told me her concerns and fears of moving.
One of Claire’s school assignments was writing a paper on someone who inspired her. She said everyone was writing about their moms, but she wanted to write about me! A few weeks after that, she asked if I could come to her class and give a lecture on journalism. Giving a talk to a group of fourth-grade students was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life, especially at the end when the kids lined up to shake my hand.
“Would you be my babysitter too?” asked a boy. It was a precious memory I’ll never forget.
Being Heard Worldwide
In 2011, Karen Malone Wright became the founding voice and chief executive of The Not Mom (thenotmom.com) for women without children by choice or chance to be appreciated.
Wright connected women without children, from all over the world, with each other to share their stories. She had major media coverage in The New York Times and BBC Radio London. She’s also held Not Mom Summits with keynote speakers who publicly talk about their decisions to be childfree.
On Wright’s website, she lists dozens of famous Not Moms, including Katharine Hepburn, Mahalia Jackson, Louisa May Alcott, Helen Keller, Frida Kahlo, Ella Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe, Rosa Parks, and Mae West—to name a few.
The bottom line is, not having kids is your personal choice. You can still lead a happy, rewarding life without them. And it’s time for other women to stop shaming those who make these choices.
“More women are choosing not to have kids, and society can’t cope” ABC Everyday by Kellie Scott, June 17, 2019.
“Why I, Like So Many in My Generation, Can’t Make Up My Mind About Having Kids,” Philadelphia City Life February 1, 2020.