Why I Don’t Want Children

Slate recently ran an article about women (and men) who don’t want to have babies.  I’m one of them.  I have never wanted babies.  Sure, I used to make up fun/ridiculous baby names as a child.  I also distinctly remember thinking that the best thing about having a child would be to give it a ridiculous name and see how it reacted as it grew up.  Thinking of a child as an at-home science experiment isn’t quite what most people have in mind when they talk about wanting children.

I was told many times that I would change my mind when I got older.  And while I’ve still got plenty of good child-rearing years in me, I still do not foresee any rearing in my future. I won’t even get into how gross I think pregnancy is–especially the giving birth part.

There are countless reasons why children are a pain: they don’t sleep when you want them to, they’re picky eaters, they’re expensive, they have sticky hands.  For me, I don’t want children because they are incredibly needy.  And they’re not needy like puppies; they can’t just leave their mother after a few weeks; you can’t leave them at home while you go off to work.  Children demand crazy amounts of attention and they stick around for 18 years!  That’s if you’re lucky and they don’t end up unemployed and living at home into their twenties.

I am by far too selfish to want children.  I don’t want to take care of someone for 18+ years.  I won’t even get a pet because of the years of commitment that takes.  I would much rather live how I want, where I want and spend all my money on myself than on some sticky-handed, needy child.  I like the freedom of having no one depend on me.  I recently moved more than 1,000 miles for a job.  I would never have been able to do that with a child.  Certainly not in the three weeks it took me to quit my old job, move, and start the new one.

It may seem like I don’t like children. That’s not entirely true.  They’re okay.  I like the one’s I’m related to.  My nephew is awesome, but he’s not dependent on me for his survival.  That really takes the pressure off.  I can just be the cool aunt who sweeps into town bearing gifts.  I get all the fun of a young kid without any of the responsibility.  That’s as much child as I need.

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12 comments

  1. movingonmyown · · Reply

    That’s where I am right now. I do want kids in the future, but right now, I want to be able to go where I want, do what I want, and not have someone dependent one me (don’t want a pet for the same reasons, lol). I don’t really want to get married any time soon either. I’m having fun just exploring the world and exploring myself. Some people think that’s strange that I’m not out hunting for a husband to settle down and have babies with, like most of my friends. But to me, that’s just not right yet…if ever. It’s funny that not wanting marriage and/or babies is still so taboo…

    1. I feel you on this. I’m not as extreme as Heidi’s NO BABIES EVER stance–in fact I think I do want them someday–but I do know that there is nothing about my life right now that welcomes a baby. And probably that’s a good thing, right? Better to really think it through then blindly jump in.

      1. movingonmyown · ·

        Oh definitely! I wish more people would think it through before having babies! 😛

    2. It’s very weird that it’s still taboo to openly say you don’t want babies. I work at a university and there seem to be more people here than other places I’ve worked who don’t have kids or plans to have any. I wonder if people in academia have fewer children than people in other careers.

      1. movingonmyown · ·

        I know that people who have higher education have less kids (high school v. college v. masters v…). Not sure about those working in the academic field specifically…

  2. I’ve always said I don’t want children and I have heard that “you’ll change your mind” line so many times I could go crazy. I’ll admit, things could change for me. I could one day decide that I’m with the right person, and we’re in the right stable situation…But I don’t want children. For the reasons you wrote about and so much more. I don’t particularly like children myself. The ones I’m close to can be ok…for small amounts of time. There are just too many risks for me to have children. So much that could go wrong, in addition to the annoyances, stress and cost. I too realize that I am too selfish to bring a child into this world. I don’t want to give up my freedoms and its our right to make that choice. My mom tells me I’m actually the opposite of selfish, for realizing children aren’t for me and for not doing something because its “the thing you do when you grow up”. I’m just rambling now so I’ll end by saying thanks for writing this. It’s always nice to know I’m not alone.

    1. It’s great to find people who aren’t baby-obsessed! I’d never really thought of not having children as being a selfless thing because it’s what I want, but I suppose it could be looked at that way.

      1. I agree that you’re doing the right thing by the baby you don’t really want by not having kids. There will be plenty of kids int he world for you to hang out with, or buy gifts for, or love. That doesn’t mean you have to want them living in your house!

        Also, can I say how much I hate the “You’ll change you’re mind when you’re older” stuff? No one says it about other things you might change your mind about. No one says, “Oh you’re getting married? You’ll change your mind when you’re older.”

  3. Hello there! 🙂

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  4. I don’t know if it’s always such a “choice”. Sometimes it seems more like a natural instinct or something. How the human species keeps going… Not because we each think “yeah sure I want one” or “no thanks” but because there is some animal urge. I don’t think people choose to be baby-crazy. It just happens. Just like some people have more of a maternal instinct? I don’t know… just some thoughts.

  5. […] probably true. It certainly was (and is) for me. Sure, I understand why people don’t want kids (Heidi did a great job of explaining why she is choosing not to in her blog post), but for me, there was never any doubt in my mind. It was a topic discussed with boyfriends as […]

  6. […] Heidi wrote about why she doesn’t want to have children, her arguments seemed to boil down to being too selfish to be responsible for another human being. […]

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