I really loved reading Christine’s story for this week’s guest post. Passionate, honest, sharing the stigma, the doubting, the pain of thinking that something is wrong with you if you’re a woman who doesn’t want children. As much progress as there has been with the passage of time, we still have so far to come in accepting that everyone should have a choice – who they love, who they are, what they do with their bodies. As always, I’m so grateful for everyone’s commitment because it is such a personal subject to open up about. Please do read, leave a comment and share as much as you can, I’m really willing this to grow and grow so that we can help as many people as possible who may be going through something similar.
I’ve also started to build a resource list, for those of you who are either childfree by circumstance or childfree by choice. A combination of blogs, communities, individuals who are doing wonderful things in this space. Please do let me know if there are resources you use I can add.
We Are : Christine, 32 and Doug, 34
Home Is: Buckinghamshire
I Do: I own two brands, personal branding photography & family photography
Okay first off, I am excited to be writing this. Because we need to talk about this. Humans with wombs choosing to be child free has been a cause of shame my whole life, meaning it’s always been an area of my life where I felt like I was doing things wrong. Or I was made wrong.
We need to normalize people making the decision to not have children and not judge the reasons either. We are primed as kids to expect to choose a life where we have children, especially cis women. We are more familiar with sayings like ‘Tick, tock!’ and the certain knowledge that our choice will be a disappointment, and the thought that we must have children in order to succeed in life.
My decision to not have children is not a failure, it is not up for argument and it will not change no matter how many times well-meaning folks warn me of the regret I’ll most undoubtedly feel when I have more wrinkles than freckles.
I’ve never been hit with that overwhelming sense of ‘must have baby’. And trust me I’ve tried it on for size – trying to pretend I want kids – wiling the womb twitch; it’s doesn’t fit for me. I always thought there was something wrong with me for never having that feeling, like my very womanhood was…lacking. Don’t get me wrong I like kids, some kids I even love but some I am not a fan of. I don’t love or even like all people so why would I like all kids? I have nieces and nephews I adore. My friends have kids I get along with. Tiny humans can be pretty cool, I just don’t *want* one.
So, when I talk about how I want my life to be. I talk about travel, projects, adventures, and my family, but I don’t nor have ever seen children of my own in the future. A lot of folks tell me how my life would change – but I do not want it to. But then what on earth will I do with myself if I don’t have any, they (way too often) ask. Well, my purpose is not to bring more people into this already overpopulated world just because I can. My purpose to carve out the life I want to live in the years I have to live them, and I know I do not want to dedicate any of my time to raising children. I like to travel. I like to sleep. I like pouring my energy into my business. All these things, and more, make me happy and keep me healthy mentally.
Luckily, when I met my partner – we had an open honest conversation and found that we were on the same page. Phew, right? If anyone needs to be on the same page with me on this one, it is the person I have chosen to love.
Because society is most definitely not on the same page. I feel like I must defend my choice to the questioning, and oddly sometimes pitying voices. I have a womb; I am expected to bear children. I have even been told it is selfish not to. But as well as the fact that having a child is not on my wishlist, for many, many valid, sensible reasons, I am doing the world a kindness by not bringing another human into it.
In fact, I clearly remember telling my friends in high school – that sure, having a kid would be great (because I would obviously have to have one) but I would rather adopt a baby than have one, for the environment. This was my first inkling of the fact that I would choose to be child free.
It is a tough ride. In the village where I live, I struggle to make friends my age because those I have met are all in the mum clan and I often get dismissed or seen as lesser than, when they realise I have no little ones at home. I am very sure that there are women in my village who are in the same boat as me, but no one ever talks about it.
When I gave up my day job to start pouring my heart into my photography business, the assumption was that I was ‘leaving work’ to do ‘a little project’ and will probably just have kids soon. My manager even winked and alluded to it in their leaving speech. I was confused, hadn’t I spoken up and made it clear that I don’t want children? Said that I was leaving to launch a business? In fact, this spun me out so hard that I decided to do a university course, that I didn’t really need to do. So my reason for leaving the career I had been building for a decade, was one I could justify and talk about. But still, people assumed because I was working from home on my own thing, and my partner was the bread winner – I would have kids. And there’s an underlying judgemental tone if you don’t – I mean what on earth am I doing with all that time out of an office job! Just sitting at home like that with no kids. I’m running a business I care about is what I am doing.
I also struggle with the assumption that because I don’t want them, I have zero interest in people who do or have children. I love so many insanely wonderful parents, friends who are mothers, friends who have fought to have their child – and so when we catch up – I want to hear about their lives and that includes hearing about their kids. I love that they find joy and contentment in having children, and respect their choices.
Luckily I have a circle of friends who either respect my vibe or feel the same way as me.
I used to hide the fact I don’t want children. Now I speak up about my choice to be childfree. I live in the lovely countryside with a person who is a brilliant teammate in this life, a crazy rescue cat and dreams of our future dogs.
Thank you so so much to Christine for sharing her honest story as a guest poster and sharing her thoughts and views in this piece. As I’ve stressed from the very beginning, this is a warm, empathic platform for people to share their stories, hopes, dreams, fears. Please do read Christine’s story and leave a comment if you’d like to and share this series if you know anyone it could help. Together we are making changes.