There’s a lot to be said for having only dogs and not human children, but Gentle Reader, I am not the person to crow over someone else’s choice, the same as I ask people not the crow over theirs. Children are not right for me and DH. Enough said. We decided not to have children or adopt *at this moment in our lives* because it’s the right thing to do.
But also, I don’t know if I would be a good mother. I have so much anxiety that I worry it would affect any child I had. My dogs sense it, when I’m suffering under severe panic attacks. They freak out when I’m in a doorway, wringing my hands. I can only imagine what that would do to a child.
Also, I would have to go off my medication to have a baby, and I don’t think that’s healthy for me, my marriage, or my mental health. We considered adoption–I myself am adopted, so I certainly am in love with the idea for anyone–but we just don’t think children are right *for us*.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like children. Reader, I do, very much. But someone else’s kids. I’m a great Aunt, godmother, Nanny, friend of the family, Ms. Amy, you name it, that’s what I am. I’m good with other people’s kids (so I’ve been told). But living child-free is what is comfortable for me now, for us now.
Society has put pressure on me since birth to have children. I was told by a doctor when I was 11 that I had great “childbearing hips.” As soon as we were married, people began asking me when we were going to have a baby. And when I said I wanted to focus on my career, said people would say, “Ooohhh…” which I knew meant, “Oh, you’re one of THOSE FEMINISTS.”
Yes. Feminism gave me the right to have a baby, or not have a baby. To work, or to stay home with my children. I respect female CEOs and Stay-At-Home Moms. Because feminism gave us the right to choose, and I respect other’s choices, regardless if it’s the choice for me.
4 thoughts on “Living Child-Free”
I completely agree with anyone’s choices in regard to having children. Not being a Mom or Dad does not mean you don’t have a lot of love to give to relations, friends, pets ( which can be our children), but I wonder what prompted this post? Do you experience direct pressure from friends and family? Such as, ” you would be such great parents.” Or is it more that society see a traditional family as being the 2 parents and 2.5 kids? I seem to remember seeing other posts from you on this subject, so I thought I would just throw it out there.
My father really wants grandchildren, but it’s something I was thinking of more as a feminist, as a woman, as a woman living child-free.
I love everything about this post. I’ve been trying to get mental healthy since I was very young. I knew from the time I was 18, 100%, that I did not want to bear and raise children. It’s gotten more firm, if that’s possible, as I’ve passed through my 20s. When I tell people that B and I aren’t having kids, they either tell me I will change my mind or ask if they’re sure he’s OK with it.
As I’ve gotten older my issues have shifted and even more now, I know that having a child worked be detrimental to my health both mental and physical. It’s the former that people never think about. They just think a woman grows a life and that’s it. But it changes your brain chemistry, and it changes your being. That’s not safe for everyone. Even if I make it through the pregnancy, could I make it through the child’s life? It’s a terrifying thought that I shouldn’t have to think about or explain because society shoves motherhood down our throats.
It’s true that society rarely thinks about, or cares about, the body that births the baby. Why else would it be so up in arms about breastfeeding, for example, if the maternal body wasn’t “gross” to it in some way.
I think of Kristeva’s Abject, the maternal body always, when I think of this.