Thursday, 1 June 2017

I Don't Want Children, And That's OK

It's been almost a year since Stu and I got married, and one of the questions that seems to pop up more and more since we hit that 6 month mark is, 'When are you having children?'. There are whole bunch of reasons that asking people this is problematic, and why we should stop asking this question. 

So, first things first. I hate this question. It's invasive and it makes certain assumptions. It assumes that we want children, and it assumes that we are physically able to have children. I have no idea if I can have children or not, I've never had any desire to try to have one and I've never been pregnant, but I do know a great many people who have tried to conceive and have been unable to, or have struggled to. I've seen the pain in people's eyes when people have asked them about babies, and seen the hurt those questions have caused. I can't speak about other people's pain, but I can suggest that asking very personal questions about people's ability to conceive is certainly not going to help. In the future I hope people stop asking what I consider to be a very private question, that is really only a subject to be discussed between partners.



I don't want children. I've never been filled with the desire to have them. I'm not someone who is filled with delight at babies. I've never been that way. There's nothing 'wrong' with me, despite what people have suggested over the years, it's just not for me. I have 3 awesome older step children, and I know some great kids, I'm better with them once they are a bit older. I'll make a fantastic bad influence of an Auntie once your kid starts getting an interest in music! People talk about the 'maternal instinct', whether it exists or not is a different debate entirely, but I know I don't have that feelings others seem to have when they see a blooming pregnant belly or a baby bouncing in a pram.


I've heard all the usual platitudes people offer when I say I don't want children. 'You'll change your mind when you get older' (I'm almost 30), 'It's different when they're your own' (but what if it's not?), 'But who'll look after you when you get old?' (what a terrible reason to have children!) and more. I think my personal favourites are 'You're being selfish', because surely it's more selfish to bring an unwanted child into the world, and 'What will you leave behind when you're gone?', and well, I'd like to hope that people see people who have children as more than just parents. I'd like to think that I'll leave behind writing that might have helped someone, or photos that have inspired someone. And if I don't achieve that, then my life won't have been hollow and empty simply because I didn't have children.

It seems to be a question that is aimed far more at women than it is at men. I'm not less of a woman because I've made a decision to not have children, having children does not make someone a woman. What defines being a woman is simply someone defining themselves as a woman! There is a huge amount of pressure on women to fulfil certain roles in society, we are to be wives, mothers, cleaners, carers, we are to meet a man and have 2.4 children and a white picket fence and a dog. It is incredibly sexist to assume that because I am a woman, I should want children. It's not something people seem to ask men is it? I can't recall anyone asking my husband about him having children, whereas I've been asked dozens of times since we got married.


Not everyone wants the same things from life, and that's what makes the world go round! Some people want to travel the earth, some have fantastic collections they've accrued over the years, other people fill their lives with rescue animals, some want to write and others feel music deep within their souls. All these things help make us the diverse and unique individuals we are, and that includes whether or not we might want children. The world would be a very boring place if we all had the same desires.

Asking people when they are having children is such an invasive and private question. Many people want children, and a growing number of us don't, and that's OK! So next time you might want to ask someone when they are having children, just take a moment and reconsider before you do.

Much love, 
Kitty xxxx

24 comments:

  1. Hear, hear. I've got five years on you, which seems to have made a bit of a difference in that... people have just stopped asking me! Not that I'm saying that there should rightfully be a war of attrition until we are left to enjoy our reproductive systems in peace.

    I can't get my head around why people feel able to ask the sort of invasive, deeply personal questions that they do in this context, more so than any other.

    Got yr back!

    Lis / last year's girl x

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  2. I remember being asked so many times before I had my daughter when I was having kids (I had a child in my mid thirties despite having been married for many years) I was treated on more than one occasion as if my lack of of children was somehow unnatural, it was so peculiar. A woman deciding not to have children is often characterised as being deficient or to be making hasty decisions, its so backward. It seems to confound people that you can live a totally fulfilled life without having your own child, this ignorant view really diminishes other very valuable relationships as if they don't count, which as a very committed auntie and godmother always really irritated me. Many of my friends who are now in their late 40s and 50s who never had kids have never regretted their choice and live very juicy enviable lives.

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    1. Yes, so much this! I adore you and this comment.

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  3. If you as a woman are making a choice of not having a child you're almost being a treated as a second hand human and this provokes me so much.I have a friend who never want children that was even told by someone "but you're an only child and your mum has a right to become a grandmother"... Imagine that persons narrow mind!! :( Live for yourself. It's your body and your life!

    Mookieslife

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    1. This! I'm very lucky that my parents understand, but I know people whose parents have told them to give grandchildren

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  4. Thank you for writing this!! I'm not 26 but I have never really wanted children. When I was younger it was mostly because of the stories I heard of how painful childbirth Is. In late teens it was because I didn't like children very much and now I just don't really feel that I do want them all for selfish reasons but whenever I say this I get hit with 'you'll change your mind when you're older' almost as if people don't believe me. I'll through this in there too, I'm not even sure I want to get married either..(my family laughed at me when I said this one). I can't really blame them though because traditionally that is what we do in my family.

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  5. I really don't like when people go in your business and ask you such questions. My husband and I had decided that we're not going to rush into children, until we're both ready. Eventually, we both decided it's time - about 1.5 years after the wedding. So many people thought we had healthy issues and we couldn't have children! This really annoyed me - we moved country, started a new business and wanted to have a little time to ourselves. Why is anyone's business to presume children were the sole reason for us to be together?!?!!!
    Do what feels right to you both and don't listen to people's opinion.

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  6. I find it very rude of people to assume you want to have children, and even more so to push for answers on the subject. It isn't something I would ask, unless I knew the person very well. I have friends I know do not want children, and I would never dream of pressing them on the subject. It isn't a given, it isn't a must, and it isn't for everyone.

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  7. YASSS GURL damn straight! It shouldn't have to be a prerogative to have to 'have children' especially when you don't want them. Bringing an unwanted child into the world is far more selfish than choosing to not have kids. I love kids but I don't think I want kids and my family are always asking me when I am going to settle down as though it is a necessity to have kids when it isn't! x Well said x

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    1. Thank you! I wish more people would consider other options too, my husband is adopted and he was so lucky to be xx

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  8. I think its fine to not want children, I really do think some people should mind there own noses sometimes.

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  9. I think that as long as your happy and enjoying your life then people really shouldn't put pressure on you to have kids. Especially as it's not for everyone and that's ok, you have to do what's right for you x

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  10. I completely empathise and agree with everything you've said here Kitty - I find it really embarrassing when people put me on the spot and ask me questions like that, and it's like I'm made to feel like a weirdo for not wanting to conform to the norms. I think that as long as you're happy in your life, that's all that matters x

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    1. exactly, not having children doesn't mean we have empty lives, I have a house full with my zoo! x

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  11. I think it is a very personal choice but also think it's natural for people to ask the question too. I still get asked if we are having anymore and I have six!!

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    1. wow, that question literally never stops then!

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  12. I loved reading this because I am not sure if I want children either. I feel like my mum is at the age now where she is dying for grandchildren, but I don't feel in any way ready. I don't even have a partner!

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