When I look at my future, I see myself writing every day. I’ll look outside of my window and see a beautiful beach or a cluster of mountains decorated with frosted tips. I see myself travelling and learning about the different cultures that make up our world. What I don’t visualise is me being pregnant and then looking after children.
Although I know there is nothing wrong with me for not wanting this traditional future, I sometimes doubt myself that perhaps there is. In many conversations when this becomes the topic, and I mention that I personally do not want my own children, people seem astonished with my words. They say to me ‘I used to feel like that too, but one day I woke up and realised that I wanted children.’ Or they would say ‘You’ll feel different when you have your own child, and learn what love actually is when you hold them.’ The one thing I personally hate is when people respond with ‘You do know some people can’t have children, how would they feel if they know you don’t want children?’
You would think the hardship that women have been through to help us in today’s society so that we have more freedom and choice with what we want to do with our bodies and our lives, would make more people have a more positive and helpful response. Of course, there are some people who respect our decision and don’t even question us. Yet, there are some people who are still baffled and do not understand why some of us do not want children.
I know that one day I might feel different, but don’t say that to me. It makes me feel that my feelings right now are not valid. Yes, I understand fully well that in some cases I will feel different if I have my own child. However, we have seen the other cases of mothers not being able to mentally look after their child and the bad impact it has on them, and if that’s the case for me, I’d rather not have a child. And I know perfectly well that there are some people who cannot have children, but if they are nice people then they will be respectful with my choice.
There is nothing wrong with me or you for wanting to focus on different aspects of our lives than bearing a child. I respect people who are having children now at my age, which is twenty-one, and thus they should do the same.
However, some might still view us as selfish for not wanting this path, and we ourselves might have an inside battle making us believe that we are being selfish. I’ve had that conflict in my head as well, ‘Am I being selfish for wanting to focus on myself and not have a child?’ No, I am not and neither are you. The selfish thing is to bring a child into this world knowing full well you don’t want children, and thus the child won’t have a great childhood. I believe women are called selfish when deciding these big decisions because we are so focused on our traditional past. Yet, why not make our own traditions of women being free to have the choice of doing what is right for them and respecting them?
Women have fought a lot for us to have these choices, and therefore we should be the only ones to decide whether or not we want to bear our own children, adopt children or simply not have any. We should not be pressured by the words of other people, instead we should be proud that we are doing what makes us happy, just like how a person with a child is happy with themselves.