I will never experience pregnancy, give birth, or adopt.
No child will ever belong wholly to me.
(to my knowledge at least, they do) but because the desire - an innate maternal instinct - simply is not there. It was never a choice NOT to have children, it was just never an option TO have them.
I have stood firm in this mindset for as long as I can remember. One particular memory stands out from my 9th grade Life Issues class, a required course for all freshmen that dealt with matters of the home, nutrition, career development, personal relationships and child-rearing. At one point, when discussing ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies, my instructor asked if anyone knew for certain that they did not want children. As my hand instantly shot up, I looked around for support from my peers, but not a single person seemed to openly share my convictions. Nine years later, at the age of 23, I still have not wavered in those convictions.
To me, motherhood is one of if not THE defining characteristic of the female sex. I think a lot of my non-desire for children stems from the fact that I have never felt 100% female. I refer to myself as a woman, but I have always been situated somewhere more toward the middle of the gender spectrum - a tomboy, if you will. “Feminine” is certainly not a word I would use to describe myself, though “masculine” doesn’t quite fit the bill either. And while I am not transgender, there are certain physical characteristics of my female body that I prefer were either completely absent or at least de-emphasized. Obviously, biological females of any gender can and do have varying opinions on motherhood, but for me, the ability to birth children is just another part of that all-encompassing “femaleness” that I have never really felt a strong connection to.
Apart from a lack of motherly instinct, there are many other reasons kids are not for me: fear for the loss of my independence and personal liberties, the overwhelming financial burden, the guilt of contributing another human life to this planet that is already grossly overburdened, the absolute repulsion at the idea of physically carrying and birthing a child - the list goes on. All, however, are perfectly valid reasons for remaining childfree, for me or for any other woman who feels the same way.
There remains in our society a certain stigma behind childfree women. The idea held by some that people born with female reproductive organs are somehow inherent caregivers, inherently nurturing, that they must inherently feel the desire to become mothers, is archaic. The idea that life is unfulfilling and meaningless for childfree women is equally archaic. I am grateful to live in an era where I can make my own decisions regarding my body and how I do or do not use it. As such, I respect every woman’s choice to do with her body as she pleases, and I can only ask for the same in return.
The bottom line is this: whether a stay-at-home mom, a working mother, or childfree by choice, no matter what labels we attach to ourselves, as women - as humans - we’re all in this together, and we’re all awesome in our own unique ways.