I have to admit, that once upon a time, when someone told me they didn’t want children, particularly when that person was someone of the fairer sex, my eyes practically popped in disbelief.
In my head my train of thought used to follow something along these lines…
- You’re mad
- You’re in denial
- There’s must be something wrong with you
- What will you do with the whole of your life without kids?
- You’ll end up having them in the end, anyway, once your body clock kicks in
Yes I was someone who although not hugely gushy or maternal, knew that I always wanted kids when I met the right person. Before having a child, I couldn’t possibly have got my head around why someone might not what to have children, as hard as I tried…it was something totally alien to me. That’s the reason we are all here, after all – to procreate – isn’t it!?
The strange thing is that having now had a child, while absolutely the most amazing (but insanely hard) thing, I can now finally understand where people who say they don’t want to have children, are coming from.
As hugely rewarding though it is, having children is a lot of hard work. There is no getting around it and there is no understanding just how much work they are until you actually have them. And there is no off button. Ever.
Having children also presents a seismic shift in your life and lifestyle choices, when you will rarely, if ever, get to think about your own needs first, or have that freedom to do what you want, whenever you want. You will sacrifice so much, more than you could ever have dreamed of, in order to bring an offspring into this world. On top of that, you will probably soon start to realize that those dreamy visions of parenthood you used to conjure up whilst feeling all loved up and childless at the time, are not quite reality.
Having experienced this all first hand, I have now moved from a place where I think – WTF!!? how can you not want kids to…hey, you know what…I can totally understand that. It’s a lot of work, a lot of hassle, and the trade off you get – all the nice gooey stuff you always hear about parenthood which is of course, totally true, but not without it’s own challenging backdrop – is just too big for you to go there.
You’re the ones who are going to grown old more gracefully; you’re the ones who are going to be sleeping until whenever you like for the rest of your days; you’re the ones who can actually rest in bed when you’re sick; and you’re the ones who are probably going to be travelling the world, living the life of riley for the foreseeable.
And though I personally could not imagine doing that for the rest of my life (seems a bit samey to me), I can now totally understand where those who shall not have kids, are coming from. You comprehend it’s too great an endeavour, too great a responsibility, and too great a sacrifice, and you won’t go there, and for that – I respect you.