My Decision Not to Have Kids and Why

Decision Not to Have Kids
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I usually reserve Fridays for brain spewage, the personal things, the things that go through my mind and that I want to talk about and to share with you. One of the things that I get asked alot is:

When are you going to have some babies?

The older I get, the more frequently I hear the question and the more frequently I get asked by strangers if I have kids. That question is like an instant ice-breaker when you’re meeting someone new. It’s something to bond over, something to talk about, and if you don’t have kids, people want to know why not.

I am never going to have kids.

I’ve been met with a lot of different reactions to that answer. Some people tell me that I will change my mind, others try to convince me I’d be good at it, some tell me that I’m going against what I was put on this earth to do, others think I’m selfish, and my mother gets that look of disappointment. There’s such a variety of different reactions.

As a kid, I was totally into babies. Growing up I had tons of dolls, I always wanted to play house, play mommy. I picked out names, I had daydreams, and my future seemed like it would follow the path of all of the women before me. I hit puberty and something twisted grabbed a hold of me. I fell into depression and that led to a lot of isolation and a deep, deep, loneliness. I still wanted babies, but it wasn’t a childish dream anymore.

It was a way to finally be useful and to have someone that would finally love me, forever. A way to not be alone. It was that magic thing that if I just had in my life I would be happy. If I hadn’t been so shy and introverted and someone would have put a guy in front of me and told me I could have a baby with him at the age of 15, I would have done it.

Babies = a way to be loved.

My sister became a young mom when I was in high school and I saw the attention that she got from the family. I saw my sister grew closer to my mom as she got to go shopping for baby clothes, she got my bedroom because it was bigger, they had something to bond over. She was initiated into womanhood, while I still felt like a child. She was living the dream of everything that I had wanted for myself.

Babies = a way to be loved and get attention.

I went out into the world as an adult. I got a job in retail, and I lived, still depressed, still feeling worthless, as I had for almost a decade at that point. I fell in love for the first time with someone that was married. He manipulated me, he lied to me, but I fell in love anyway. I planned my future around him. He told me that he wanted a future with me too. I asked him to leave his wife and start a life with me, but he had a child, he couldn’t do that. I had to wait and be patient. (I was such a cliche, it still makes me cringe!)

Babies = a way to get love, get attention, and get someone to stay.

Eventually, I left that relationship, and I started my journey, this journey, and things changed. I didn’t have to be a mother to be loved. I could love myself, I could begin to manage my depression, I could let go of the things that I didn’t like about myself. I could embrace and nourish the things that I loved about myself, even if they were teeny tiny to begin with. I could fill up my life with so many things that would make me happy.

I could do good things and feel fulfilled. I could create a purpose for myself that was outside of my reproductive system. I could discover that I was good at things, that I had hobbies and interests and passions, and ways to feel fulfilled and happy. I was a person that didn’t need another person to define them.

Deciding not to have children is the most selfish and selfless thing that I could ever do.

It is selfish because I will not have a baby because it takes up too much time. It takes too much effort. It requires too much loss of sleep, too much sacrifice, too much everything, and in the end, it would require too much loss of self. I’ve spent twenty-four of my twenty-seven years on this earth not knowing who I was or what I really wanted. Twenty-four years of not being myself or doing the things that I wanted to do.

I finally, finally have freedom. I feel free.

I have never wanted to be a mother for the sake of being a mother.

Decision Not to Have KidsIt is selfless because I would never want to resent another human being for taking away my freedom. It is selfless because it is something that I do not truly want and that I never wanted for the right reasons. It is selfless because I do not believe that I am capable of giving another soul a life that they would truly deserve. Why? Because I am too selfish. I would not be a good mother, and I know this, and I am okay with it. I wouldn’t be a good at being a fisherman, or a good carpenter, or a good ballet dancer either, and that’s alright. I could try, and probably do an okay job, but it wouldn’t make my soul sing.

There’s a quote by Oprah that really resonates:

“If had kids, my kids would hate me, because something in my life would have had to suffer and it would’ve probably been them.”

People tell me all of the time that I would be such a good mother. That I am patient and loving, and good with children. That’s like someone telling me that I should go start planting a rainforest because I can keep a house-plant alive. I have the disposition that I have because I can sleep whenever I want for as long as I want, because I never worry about money because I only have to provide for myself, because if I want to spend the entire weekend in complete silence, I can do that too. I’m still at a point in my life when I’m mothering myself, healing myself, and I can’t imagine the energy it would take to simultaneously mother another human being.

This life that I have, full of so many things that I love, one where I can put myself first without guilt – that’s my path. That’s what fills my soul.

That’s the happiest kind of life I can imagine, and I get to live it.

I won’t ever be a mother, but I love and appreciate those that are. I love hearing their wisdom, reading their birth stories, knowing how brave and wonderful they are. Mothers have helped me to become who I am, and I am so grateful for their loving spirits.

I’m not anti-kid, I don’t judge anyone who has them, it’s quite the opposite. It’s complete awe of them because I don’t think it’s something I could hold myself together enough to do.

When I am 80 years old and looking back on my life, I can’t say that I won’t wonder how things could’ve been, or that I will be saddened by the thought that I never got to hold my own child in my arms, or carry on my legacy, but I know that I won’t regret the life I lived instead.

I think that’s really all that matters.

Have you made the decision not to have kids?

 

34 Comments

  1. Avatar October 5, 2012 / 2:13 pm

    I am on the complete end of the spectrum.  I always said no husbands, no babies.  I had seen so much dysfunction, so much heart ache, that I honestly didn't believe in true, mutual love.  I had no issue with romance and dating, but to me, they were in the "fun while it lasted" category.  And I couldn't see bringing kids into that.  Long story short, I stopped listening to my soul and ended up being a modern day Zsa Zsa Gabor.  Bad relationships, bad marriages.  It left me scarred.  It also left me with kids.  4 of them over the years.  It's hard to say I regret my choices, because I love my kids, but there is definitely value in listening to your soul.  I am in my (EARLY!) 40s now, and there is definitely a part of me that feels like I have lived most of my adult life for someone else while just drifting through my own life.

    There are different kinds of love in the world, and I wish I had taken more time to learn to love myself.  I think that is the most important one of all.  

    Your honesty and willingness to share makes my soul sing.  You refresh my heart with it!

  2. Avatar
    Kelly Bush
    October 5, 2012 / 2:28 pm

    wow thanks for sharing.

  3. Avatar October 5, 2012 / 2:35 pm

    Testify! I, also, do not want kids – I don't think I'd be very good at it and I hate being crap at things, I don't think I'd enjoy it – I'm pretty independant and selfish and i'm cool with that, there are loads of other things I can create with my life that are superawesome and there are too many people in the world already. I don't need to make more.

  4. Avatar
    Dominee
    October 5, 2012 / 3:33 pm

    You're welcome, thank you for reading! :) 

  5. Avatar
    Dominee
    October 5, 2012 / 3:34 pm

    True true true! I also shudder at the thought of so much responsibility… for 18 years or more… yikes. Maybe it's the commitment phobe, but that's an awful long time!

  6. Avatar
    Dominee
    October 5, 2012 / 3:37 pm

    Awww thanks! It's never too late to rediscover yourself and create something anew, even if you have to wait a few years to really get started, and those things that we do that are not true to our soul, but boy do they provide a shit ton of wisdom, and we wouldn't be the people we are without that.

    Hoping you find many many ways for your soul to sing! 

  7. Avatar
    Jami
    October 5, 2012 / 6:06 pm

    Thank you Dominee! I soo needed to hear this today!

  8. Avatar
    Marissa Moondaughter
    October 5, 2012 / 7:11 pm

    I really appreciate this Dominee. I am on the fence myself, but I live with my boyfriend and we have a kitty so I do have to factor their lives into mine as well. I wonder sometimes what life would be like if it was only me, and it is hard to! Your post has just got me thinkin, so I am probably rambling, but thank you for sharing your perspective. A part of me does not want the responsibility, but the other part wants that initiation into womanhood so to speak. Anywho, who knows. Love this post Dominee! xo Marissa

  9. Avatar
    Colorgoddess
    October 5, 2012 / 8:08 pm

    I loved this so much, your honesty, your decision that you obviously really thought about and took to heart and have shared this on my personal facebook page.  Namaste!

  10. Avatar October 5, 2012 / 8:18 pm

    I never made a decision about having children, and now time has, more likely than not, made the decision for me. I have had a hard time with that, especially since I've just become an aunt and see possibilities that once were, but are no more. You're so wise to make a decision now so that you never feel like forces beyond your control have made it for you later, especially because you've done it in such a thoughtful way.

  11. Avatar
    Sunfire
    October 6, 2012 / 12:47 am

    I totally understand your views on this. I've never wanted to be a mom either. I'm very selfish, like you, and enjoy my freedom. I've also seen the financial and emotional troubles it can cause, and I just don't want that. Similar to my reasons for never getting a drivers license and a car – the benefits don't outweigh the costs in my mind.

    In a way, I am sorry that you wanted to be a mom for those reasons, but I am glad you have found ways to replace the need for a child (aka loving yourself instead of seeking love).

    I am in a committed relationship with a man who wants at least one child, but he totally understands that we are not in any way able to do this right now – a 600 sq ft apartment with only one working person and no car? NOT a good life to bring a child into. If, however, someday we are in a much better, more stable situation, I might consider changing my views on it, because I do love him and want to give him the things he desires.

    It can be hard to stick to your own values when there is someone else involved…

  12. Avatar October 6, 2012 / 3:33 am

    I wrote about this exact topic myself in Jo Macdonald's awesome ebook, Dominee – I've always known that I didn't want children, and along the way, various people have given me reasons why they think I've made a bad decision.

    Here's the thing for me. I have huge respect for people who choose to undertake the parenting journey; but I strongly believe that the only reason to have a child is because you want to have a child.  Not to hold a marriage together, not because society (or family) says you ought to, and not to have someone to look after you in your old age.  To me, it feels as though having a child for any other reason than because you genuinely want to is simply unfair to the child in question.

    And when the gods were handing out maternal instinct?  I must have been missing in action. I don't dislike kids – I'm happy to babysit for friends occasionally if they want me to – but I just have no desire whatsoever to have one I can't hand back at the end of the night.

    So trust me – you're far from the only one that feels that way. Congratulations on knowing yourself, and on having made the world better for yourself and the child you might have had if you hadn't been so clear on what you wanted. The way I'm seeing it, even that selfishness is selfless when you view it from the right perspective :-)

    Blessings

    TANJA

  13. Avatar October 6, 2012 / 3:54 am

    I applaud you for living consciously and making your decision from a place of self love. I am right there with you – I've known all of my life that having kids wasn't a part of my journey. Not everyone understands that, and that's okay. We each know what is right for ourselves, and I'm happy that you are honoring your own knowing. :)

  14. Avatar
    Sibylle
    October 6, 2012 / 7:55 am

    What a brave article, sprakling with clarity. I love this, and I bow to you, Dominee, for sticking with your decision.

    I am 42 and haven't had kids. Like you I used to think that I'd have lots of kids, like you I'm good with kids and love them, and they love me. But they wouldn't fit into my life. For a while in my early 30s I was disappointed. But looking back today on the past 20 years, how I moved internationally five times, and within the same country another dozen times, I shudder to think of the impact this would have had on an innocent child.

    It can be the better decision to be there for oneself. I have mentored others, young people in many cases, and they told me how much they learned from me. How much they appreciated having an open-minded adult to talk to. I'm a teacher, just like you – and let me tell you, we might not bring up and teach our own children, but we teach lots of other people instead, all those who are open to it. Our energy is completely free to do that. That's a sacred, beautiful, important thing.

    Much love and blessings!

  15. Avatar
    Bluefrogsong
    October 6, 2012 / 2:50 pm

    I'm 48, never had kids, very happy I didn't.  It's hard to explain to people that you can love children but not have them.  Or perhaps because I love children I don't have them!  Thanks for expressing this so well.
    Sylvia

  16. Avatar October 6, 2012 / 9:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing Dominee……I thought all my life growing up I'd have kids just because that's what you did……..you went to college, worked, got married, had kids……….much of this conditioning was busted wide open in my 20's and I realized too that I really didn't want children…….I'm very content with my decision…..and luckily my husband felt the same way…..but we knew this before we got married……..I remember talking with an older woman and she asked me if I had kids, this was back when I was in my 20's, and I said, no, I'm not having children……and she said 'who's going to take care of you when you get older? you have to have children'…….I know some people who don't even talk to their parents…….I felt bad for that woman thinking that's a reason to have kids………thx again for sharing Dominee and being so open and honest……
    much love!
    gina

  17. Avatar October 7, 2012 / 12:27 am

    Hooray for you!!! My 25 year old married daughter also does not want kids. She never has. We watch Grey's Anatomy, and completely understand Christina and her decision not to have kids. My daughter plans to be a doting aunt to her niece and nephew but, as one of the most self-aware women I've ever met, she is very clear that having kids is just something she has NO interest in.
    I commend you on your bravery in putting this out there for folks to read. I'm proud of you!!

  18. Avatar October 7, 2012 / 12:41 pm

    Wow wow wow! Thank you for sharing this Dominee, the insight you have is remarkable. I'm in my 40s and childless and I HATE being asked if I have children because it's obvious when I say no that I'm never going to now, it's not like I can say 'not yet' any more. I'm fine with it for all the same reasons you are, but I still feel ashamed of admitting to not being a mother. I love that you were able to write this so clearly and unashamedly, very inspiring to me!

  19. Avatar
    Amelia
    October 7, 2012 / 12:21 pm

    Brilliant post Dominee! I love your site too! 
    My partner and I have discussed this sort of thing at length, and agree too, that for us, we like kids but aren't the clucky types. We love our sleep ins and late nights, and I love my art time! 
    We both experienced trials growing up, which did lead to our growth and finding spirituality. We both see our parents, who of course were doing the best with what they knew and had; in the light that they had us for their own benefit. Bandaid babies really.. and that's something we don't want to replicate.
    Only in consciousness and a safe environment. 
    right now as things are (and they are and will get a billion times better) I won't be bathing my babies in flouridated water :P 

    thanks again and blessings, I'll be reading more!!
    xxx
    Amelia

  20. Avatar
    Lee
    October 9, 2012 / 1:13 am

    This is wisdom beyond what most women have.  I do not think it is selfish to decide not to have children.   If it is not for you, then it is not for you.  
    As for being a good mother:   who says you have to be a good mother to your OWN children?   You can "mother" your nieces/necphews, neighbor children or friend's childfen.   You can volunteer at a school to help children learn to read.   You can pick and chooose the age group that you best relate to and best of all you can do it on your own terms and at times of your choosing.   There are so many children who need attention from someone, would could be such an influence in someone's life.   Pat yourself on the back.

  21. Avatar October 10, 2012 / 2:17 pm

    Dearest, you have expressed EXACTLY what I think and feel. I do not want to have children and I have 37 years. Not all the same I'm asking for your own designs. I want to live my life, which has now begun, and a son would be a problem. So, do not see why I should give birth to a child in order to convey the resentment of not being able to get what I wanted. At the same time, I'm happy when my friends who want to have children and I find that the Mothers are beautiful. I do not think there is anything wrong in my (our) thoughts and in my (our) sentire.Egoismo and altruism can amount to ONESTY.
    Kiss

  22. Avatar
    Jane of Ardis
    October 11, 2012 / 1:47 am

    So interesting. I, too, am not particularly interested in having children – I simply don't have the desire. And frankly, I find cats way cuter and more endearing. I also find it somewhat bizarre how as soon as the topic of kids comes up other people often seem to be convinced that they know my own mind and soul better than I do!

  23. Avatar
    Daisyalea
    October 13, 2012 / 8:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing bravely… for so many years I walked the same path as you.  So much so that at 35 I had a tubal ligation.  It wasn't until I was 38 that I entered a space where motherhood was my next step on this path. The universe spoke deeply and profoundly to me.  Time to be a mother.  Unfortunately Like so many women, I suffer from infertility… old eggs… yadda yadda.  Pain, expense, surgery, well meaning friends… These have been part of my path for the last 5 years.  I learned that I will have to have my ovaries removed… they are pre-cancerous.  I was furious!  How could the universe deceive me like that?!
    But then She whispered to me… motherhood is not just about making babies.  Its about birth, transformation, change, profound sacrifice and unconditional love.  Look around you…we are all creating, changing, transforming and moving toward unconditional love.You are doing all of these things… I am doing all of these things… We are all mothers.  Blessings. :)

  24. Avatar
    Colorgoddess
    October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    I loved this so much, your honesty, your decision that you obviously really thought about and took to heart and have shared this on my personal facebook page.  Namaste!

  25. Avatar
    Marissa Moondaughter
    October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    I really appreciate this Dominee. I am on the fence myself, but I live with my boyfriend and we have a kitty so I do have to factor their lives into mine as well. I wonder sometimes what life would be like if it was only me, and it is hard to! Your post has just got me thinkin, so I am probably rambling, but thank you for sharing your perspective. A part of me does not want the responsibility, but the other part wants that initiation into womanhood so to speak. Anywho, who knows. Love this post Dominee! xo Marissa

  26. Avatar
    Jami
    October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    Thank you Dominee! I soo needed to hear this today!

  27. Avatar October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    I am on the complete end of the spectrum.  I always said no husbands, no babies.  I had seen so much dysfunction, so much heart ache, that I honestly didn't believe in true, mutual love.  I had no issue with romance and dating, but to me, they were in the "fun while it lasted" category.  And I couldn't see bringing kids into that.  Long story short, I stopped listening to my soul and ended up being a modern day Zsa Zsa Gabor.  Bad relationships, bad marriages.  It left me scarred.  It also left me with kids.  4 of them over the years.  It's hard to say I regret my choices, because I love my kids, but there is definitely value in listening to your soul.  I am in my (EARLY!) 40s now, and there is definitely a part of me that feels like I have lived most of my adult life for someone else while just drifting through my own life.

    There are different kinds of love in the world, and I wish I had taken more time to learn to love myself.  I think that is the most important one of all.  

    Your honesty and willingness to share makes my soul sing.  You refresh my heart with it!

  28. Avatar
    Dominee
    October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    Awww thanks! It's never too late to rediscover yourself and create something anew, even if you have to wait a few years to really get started, and those things that we do that are not true to our soul, but boy do they provide a shit ton of wisdom, and we wouldn't be the people we are without that.

    Hoping you find many many ways for your soul to sing! 

  29. Avatar
    Dominee
    October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    True true true! I also shudder at the thought of so much responsibility… for 18 years or more… yikes. Maybe it's the commitment phobe, but that's an awful long time!

  30. Avatar
    Dominee
    October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    You're welcome, thank you for reading! :) 

  31. Avatar October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    Testify! I, also, do not want kids – I don't think I'd be very good at it and I hate being crap at things, I don't think I'd enjoy it – I'm pretty independant and selfish and i'm cool with that, there are loads of other things I can create with my life that are superawesome and there are too many people in the world already. I don't need to make more.

  32. Avatar
    Kelly Bush
    October 18, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    wow thanks for sharing.

  33. Avatar
    disqus_vAhFnptEEH
    February 8, 2013 / 4:07 am

    I tried for years to have children. It never took. While I have come to terms with that, I keep myself open as I have goals but I also understand life will go in directions I have never dreamed.

  34. Avatar
    Angie Bowen
    February 7, 2013 / 9:13 pm

    I've known since I was 11 years old and my little brother, my only sibling, was born that I never wanted to have kids and would probably never have the patience for kids. I've always suffered from mental health issues and I really think that no only would being a mother make me very unhappy but it would be detrimental for my children as well. I have a hard enough time keeping my own life on track and very often let it fall into disarray. The idea of having another's well being dependent on me would be terrifying.

    There's also the fact that my mother never really wanted kids but had them anyway just due to circumstances. And while she loved me and took care of me as best she could, the fact that I was never wanted was always felt.

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