I’ve generally taken a “Never Say Never” approach to children, because I am aware that there are hormones and psychology involved in this shit, and therefore there was always a possibility that I would reach a point in my life where I would change my mind.
Well, I’ve just turned 37, and I have not changed my mind. I have never wanted children in the past, and I still don’t now. I have an absence of desire for babies. I understand that to ensure survival of the species, animals have a drive to reproduce. Well, humans are not just animals anymore, and I do not have that drive. Most people seem to feel that there is a child-shaped hole in their lives at some stage, and look forward to having a mini version of themselves running around; I genuinely cannot think of anything I want less for my life.
Since we in general are no longer in the position of running our own little farmsteads and having to raise a swathe of children as a) unpaid labour and b) someone obliged to look after us when we’re old, we no longer need to have families. These days, there are hundreds of reasons not to have children, and only one reason why you should – Because You Want To.
And you know, that’s cool, if you do want to. It’s… like… science. I just really don’t. There are a plethora of reasons for that – many of which are aptly demonstrated by this instagram account – but the biggest ones are probably;
- I don’t like children. They are loud, demanding, unreasonable, emotional, unpredictable idiots. Incidentally, I dislike those same characteristics in adults too.
- I REALLY don’t like babies. Not only are they completely incompetent in a way that the young of most other species aren’t, but they do that funny thing with their mouths that turns my stomach. They move in weird ways, and when they cry, it makes me ANGRY. I know there is a biological imperative that makes us respond to children’s cries, but it physically makes me feel aggressive. Red mist stuff. I genuinely do not trust myself around crying infants.
- I find the idea of pregnancy and breastfeeding physically revolting. I feel about gestation, childbirth and nursing the same way other people feel about maggots and gone-off milk. I am actively repulsed. Your body is taken over by a foreign entity that grows and grows until it smashes its way out, in many cases leaving you physically scarred for life, and then sucks its nourishment out of that same body. I mean, come on; that’s just grim.
- I like my life how it is. It is quiet, and peaceful. I spend most of my free time alone, and I earn enough money to do what I want, when I want. I choose my activity according to what will make me happy. I plan on keeping things that way.
Now all of that said, I do love reading blogs and watching vlogs about families who are doing their best to do things right by their kids. I like to see children that are happy, but I approach it more like a research project, a curiosity, and certainly something that happens at a distance.
Interestingly, kids seem to like being around me (…probably because I act like a child a lot of the time…) and I have in fact experienced isolated moments of enjoying the company of children. Watching my friend’s 3 year old son rocking out quietly to Bat Out Of Hell in the kitchen was hilarious and cute. However, I have also heard the stories about the same child melting down over ridiculous things, and for me there is not enough ‘cute’ to outweigh the ‘demon-spawn’.
Also, in order to be supportive and encouraging of a child’s growing mind and sense of identity, there’s loads of Not Being Honest that comes into play. And I’m not very good at that. I may be largely ignorant when it comes to dealing with kids, but even I know that “I heard you the first time – I just don’t care” is an inappropriate response. I am filled with inappropriate responses and no real desire not to use them.
When I was a child myself, I always just assumed that I would end out being a single parent – like the family environment I was raised in. It was only when I passed the age that my mother was when she had me – 20 1/2 years old – that it was like my ears popped, and I suddenly understood that it wasn’t fate, it was actually my choice (…I like to think that I am a smart person, but there is honestly no accounting for the conclusions you come to when you are younger.)
I started taking contraception seriously at college because hello, COLLEGE. The Pill was never a realistic option for me because I have the worst short-term memory, so I ended out having 3-monthly Depo Provera injections. It felt GOOD, knowing that there was something permanently in my body that would stop babies happening.
When I was 23, I got married. Seriously bad decision making, and worthy of a dedicated blog for another time. My then-husband started talking about having children and I freaked the absolute fuck out. I was horrified that there was an expectation that I would have his babies. We had never talked about children; me, because it never occurs to me as A Thing, and him I guess because most people just assume everyone wants kids. I went to the doctor for my Depo shot just after that, and they told me that they had run out. Instead, they offered me an implant, which lasted either 1 or 3 years. I went for the 3 years, and told my husband I had gone with the 1 year one. Yay for honesty in relationships…
Anyway, I have never looked back. I am on my 4th 3-year implant and I would never dream of not having it. I honestly think that I would be scared if I had to have it removed, it has become such a safety blanket.
This is me. This is who I am. There is nothing wrong with me, and there is nothing wrong with any other man or woman who – for whatever reason – makes what is actually the only logical choice about having children, when you think about it.
For my money, it’s the people who do want kids that are the weirdos.