10 Things People Tell Me When I Say I Never Want Children

Image from respectwomen.co.in

Image from respectwomen.co.in

The day I become pregnant is the day I consider myself an unfortunate character trapped in a horror film. As a little girl, I was told that someday I would (inevitably, according to everyone) have kids of my own, have a husband, and own a suburban home where i’d make a comfortable living as a teacher and sing Disney songs as I make cupcakes in the kitchen. Now, as a 19-year old female, I see women my own age doing just this, and it reminds me of how, despite what everyone has, and continues, to preach to me, I never want children. To everyone out there who refuses to trust me with my own sexual organs and to women everywhere who are tired of hearing how selfish and wrong they are, here are a few things i’d like you to stop saying to me when I say that my choice to have a baby is out of free will and not of predestination:

1. “You’ll regret it”: People are under the impression that they know you better than you know yourself, also known as a the false-consensus effect. Believe it or not, different people have different personalities, viewpoints, and likes/dislikes. Shocking, I know. But when I hear this phrase in particular, all I can think about is the teen moms who were impregnated at 15 and remember crying themselves to sleep at night in fear of both them and their baby’s future. When I think about “regret,” I think about my parents who complain about how I took away their young adulthood and filled it with sleepless nights and loaded diapers. Considering there are over 397,122 children in the United States living without permanent families in the foster care system and an estimated 153 million orphans worldwide, adoption is an amazing option for women who “regretted it” or families that want an addition to their own.

2. “You’re being selfish”: Because as we are all aware, women do not own their vaginas: the government does. Because women are able to produce children, all women must have children, right? Wrong. There is a word called “choice,” and how that word relates to a woman and her body is that she has a choice to what she does with it, and maybe not having children is one of them. And while this argument is used against virtually every women in existence, it’s also offensive to women who cannot biologically have children, as well as lesbians. So while the moms on Toddlers & Tiaras are super selfness, not overbearing, and not sexualizing their children at all, I’d like you to real back in the “selfish” insult when taking about women who choose not to bear, manipulate, and abuse children because a woman who chooses to live her life how she wants doesn’t apparently deserve one. This isn’t the 1800s anymore.

3. “Having a child is the greatest love/joy you will ever experience”: So dragging my 3-year old out of a Home Depot screaming and having a mental breakdown will be the greatest joy I will ever experience in my whole existence? That sounds depressing. You probably mean well when you say this, but you also sound extremely uneducated and full of yourself. Believe me, I can find a way to keep myself occupied without getting knocked up. To treat having a child as some sort of adventure or cool new toy is irresponsible and further contributes to the millions of children that suffer without a home around the world. I refuse to have a child so I can show it off like a diamond necklace to my friends or parade it around as a symbol that my uterus produced it; I honestly don’t need that cheap validation. As a side note, I doubt the father of the Newtown shooting and Andrea Yates, the mother who drowned for five children in a bathtub, agree with this ignorant mindset. Having children isn’t for everyone, so don’t assume it is.

4. “…but who will take care of you when you’re older?”: More words to learn today is “retirement home” and “home care assistance.” Many children choose not to take care of their parents anyway and choosing to place their parents in either a home or hire someone to come to their own is arranged once their parents can no longer live solidarily.

5. “…but what will you do with your life?”: Not wiping infant puke off my shirt, not being slapped in the face by an angry 14-year old boy when I come between him and his video games, and not paying for college tuition, that’s what. I’ll be following my career, wishes, and goals, and I personally think that’s pretty noble whether or not my society views it the same way.

6. “Life has no meaning without children”: Tell that to Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Helen Mirren, Betty White, Condoleezza Rice, Katherine Hepburn, Queen Latifah, and Jennifer Aniston. Still think life has no meaning without birthing flesh mutants? Then I honestly feel sorry for you.

7. “But you’d be a great mother!”: I know I am, and it’s because I already consider myself one: to my two cats. Just because I’d be a “good” mother, according to your subjective use of the term, doesn’t mean I have to be one. Besides, how will I have time for a human baby if I have 9 cats to cater too?

8. “But what will you spend your money on?”: First of all, is that a real question? Second of all, that can’t be a serious question. Third of all, not kids. For some reason this is a difficult concept to understand and human beings cannot fathom why anyone would rather spend money on a new apartment rather than a child’s private school tuition. Why is that parents complain about paying for your college tuition yet urge you to reproduce before the age of 30? Let me enjoy my life before making the decision to pay for someone else’s.

9. “The experience of being pregnant is unreal”: You know what I call the ability to drink alcohol whenever I want, get up from the bed in the morning without passing out on the floor in my own vomit, and walking through the streets without having creepy strangers come up to me asking about the situation with my stomach? Awesome.

10. “But your body is capable of it!”: This is the worst thing you can ever tell a woman regarding child-bearing. Women are human beings, not baby incubators. Again, some women cannot have children and this argument is offensive to the ones who are told they aren’t really women because of a female health condition. Just because I have a vagina doesn’t mean I am required to push a baby out of it, because believe it or not, some women exist for themselves and not others. The choice to have a baby is a personal one, and forcefully impregnating me with your arrogant and narrow-minded statements isn’t going to change my mind.

When you tell young girls, young adults, and middle-aged women that their existence relies on birthing and raising children, it’s an extremely ignorant and sexist way to view the world. Women are not solely defined by their vaginas. Next time you feel the need to police another woman’s genitals maybe you should take a step back and start policing the opening of your mouth.

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