PSA: It’s Totally Understandable If You Don’t Want To Have Kids
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage… right? Well, maybe for some of us, but for the rest of us, we're just not so sure that having kids is the right thing for us.
Back in the day, raising a family and being a mom was *literally* all a woman was allowed to do. The idea of her working outside the home or having other aspirations in life was seen as totally crazy. These days, we can have pretty much any career that we want (though, true, we'll only get paid a portion of what our male counterparts make for it), and we're also getting married much later in life because we've got other stuff to do in our 20s! We're lucky enough to have access to higher education and other life experiences without the pressure of marrying someone that we're not totally sure about just because we're getting older.
What if we're just not sure that we want to have kids at all? Even nowadays, women tend to be put into two categories: those who definitely want to be moms (the “norm”) and those who don't. There seems to be no middle ground, at least according to society. But here's the reality: it's totally okay to not have a clue what the future (and your future womb) holds. There are women who dream of being moms forever and totally want to announce their pregnancy Beyoncé-style…
…and then there is everyone else. The thing is that for a lot of us, no matter if we're single or even if we've been in a serious relationship for a few years, having a kid is basically an abstract concept. We just can't picture ourselves holding a crying baby at 2 AM or having to balance one more thing when our lives are already so busy and packed with other responsibilities. We understand why people have children. ‘It's a rite of passage.' ‘It's the next logical step in a serious relationship.' ‘It's a natural instinct to what to pass along your genes.' But it's fine if we're not really swayed by those arguments. Especially when it comes to all the other reasons why some people don't want to do it at all.
Women who say they don't want kids are typically thought of as so many things and, quite frankly, none of them are good. They're said to be selfish because they like traveling, they like sleeping in, they like not having to worry about feeding another mouth. ‘They want to spend all their hard-earned money on themselves, not on a child.' Yeah, maybe some of those things are true, at least on some level, but why should we even feel the need to explain ourselves in the first place? This is such a personal choice and it really has nothing to do with anyone else — except that when it comes to women's bodies, people love to have their say. Isn't it better to say that we don't think that we want children instead of having them just because we think that we should?
Another common thought is that every woman who doesn't want to have children of her own absolutely hates them. Because, again, there's no middle ground. We can absolutely be on the fence about having our own kids and still like hanging out with a friend's baby or our brother's adorable toddler.
The thing about motherhood is that it's really hard. It's a huge step to take in our lives and not everyone is super honest about the little moments every day that can be tough to manage. Chrissy Teigen, who always slays on Twitter, at least is honest about what it's really like:
While it's possible that later in life, if we were super in love with someone and wanted to have their baby and start a family of our own with them, maybe we would feel differently. Spoiler alert: it's fine to change your mind. And that goes both ways.
But if that never happens for us, a lot of us are going to stay here in this place where we just can't picture ourselves as mothers. And it might feel weird and awkward to admit that, even to ourselves. But here's the thing: the world doesn't really need any more children — especially not from people who don't actually want them. It's always better to listen to your head and your heart, and not to force yourself into a box that society has been putting women into for decades.