“Am I a bad person for not wanting to have kids yet?”
This is a question that has consumed me for the last 2 years.
I’ve been together with my boyfriend for more than 6 years and everywhere we go or meet new people, the first questions that always seem to come is when are you two getting married? Have you planned anything for the wedding? I got used to been asked this question and at this point doesn’t bother me anymore, because I get it – people are curious and by tradition you are supposed to be married after you spend some time together. We have been engaged for more than 4 years and we do plan a traditional wedding at a certain point but it is not our main priority. Here in Scandinavia, it’s also very common for people to live together as a couple for more than 10 years, have a child, a house together and not get married, which is something I love about Scandinavia.
However, after I turned 30, it feels like as a woman you are seen with different eyes in society. Your biggest duty as a woman to the world is to reproduce. So these days, the question I get most often is “when are you two going to have kids?” Followed by the usual advice: “you know it’s harder after your 30’s to have kids, the more you wait the harder it gets”. I hear this question all the time and and I can’t help but see the disappointment in their faces when I tell them “We haven’t planned anything yet”, “we are not quite ready” or the worst “I am not sure we want to have kids at all”.
“You’ll never feel true love in your life until you have a child. The love that you have for a child is completely different than the love you have for your boyfriend, you would die for that child and do anything for him”. Those were the words of a close friends of mine. And I completely agree. When I think of how much my mother sacrificed for me, she literally did anything possible for my well-being and I am so thankful. Still, I don’t feel like I am ready to receive or give that kind of love. It doesn’t get me excited and it doesn’t long for a kid.
Last week I went to have my hair done, my usual hairdresser revealed that she is pregnant. I was so happy for her because they have been trying for more than a year, but I couldn’t help but notice that everyone around me is having kids. Lots of the friends we used to hang out with now have kids and their lives are so completely different. My previous hair dresser also got pregnant, everyone at my age in my family already have kids, and the same goes for my boyfriend’s family. I feel like everyone I used to work with are either on maternity leave or just came back from it.
So I went home and asked my boyfriend: are we bad people for not wanting to have a child? Am I keeping you from starting a family? But as in many other topics, as a couple we are on the same page. We do feel scared that when we will grow old, we will be all alone. We are scared of what a big responsibility having a child is. We are scared for our future and what we can offer a child. We are not sure Scandinavia is the place to be for us long term and personally, I am terrified of giving birth. Curious I asked a tons of women with kids how the birthing part was and everyone answered the same: it hurts like hell, you are in pain for many many hours, but then when you see the baby’s face you forget it all. I guess I can’t understand how rewarding it feels when you see your child’s face, all I can understand so far is the part with the pain.
Making the decision
The thing is that the more I read about it, the more I get the feeling that couples who chose not to have kids are labeled as selfish or anti – children, especially us women since we are the ones that are supposed to contribute to humanity.
Don’t get me wrong, I love other people’s children. In fact I consider myself quite good with them and I really like playing with them. I also admire the hell out of women that are able to take care of a child or even two and still master a career and do something with their life, that for me is a true inspiration. I also love the glow that every pregnant women has, the love they have for the unborn and the excitement in their voice for what is about to come.
Reading Paula’s post “my uterus, my business “, got me feeling more confident that I am not the only one going through this, trying to figure out whether I want kids or not. Even though I am over 30’s and my clock is ticking, I am not going to have a child just for the sake of it or because everyone around me is having one or because I’ve never experienced real love like a mother’s love to a child.
I think that times have changed. Once you were supposed to be married by 25 and expected to have 2 – 3 kids by the time you are 30. There are now so many ways you can contribute to society even if you decide not to have kids. There are so many things you can do with your life to live it to the fullest or find small joys in everyday life.
I feel a bit scared writing this post because I know that the opinions about this topic are often strong and everyone thinks differently, but I am quite happy with the decision of not having kids just yet. And if the right time or the longing for motherhood feeling ever comes to me, even if it’s when I am 35, 40 or 50, I want to do it when it feel right for me not for society. I still feel a bit guilty and less of a woman but I know this is all in my head, something that I need to work with as society should not be the one to decide what you do with your life.
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So, I would really like to hear your thoughts in this matter, a woman that doesn’t want to have kids or is not sure yet, is she less of a woman in the eyes of society?