I don’t want kids—at least not now. I feel so empowered saying that.
One of the common comebacks women receive when they say they don’t want kids is that we’ll change our mind. A few weeks ago, I tried out a new psychiatrist for my anxiety and depression and he told me that everyone is scared of kids, but it’s the best way for me to find meaning in my life. I walked out and never looked back because MY GOD, is that such bad advice. Children shouldn’t give meaning to your life, but I know for so many parents, that’s exactly what they do. My best friend is a brand new version of herself since having her son; without a doubt, he added new meaning into her life.
But parenthood isn’t for everyone. For as good as I am around them, I have no interest in having my own right now. That’s a stark contrast to what I thought the tail end of my 20s, start of my 30s would look like. I hit the big 3-0 in six months and I’m probably further from wanting kids now than I was when I first fell in love with my husband and was, as my mom so lovingly called it, “playing house” while I was stuck between the precipice of young adulthood and functioning adulthood.
I think it’s easier to admit you’re not ready for kids when you’re outwardly not ready—barely getting by financially, not in a stable relationship. While there’s nothing wrong with starting a family in your mid-twenties, it’s also a time period that people are understanding of. In fact, more friends of mine who started a family in their mid-twenties were met with that ol’ suggestion of traveling more, settling down, and living their life as opposed to having kids. When it comes to parenthood, there’s technically no right answer.
But being 30—and my husband being 33—on paper, we should be parents, or at least trying to be. We should be looking for a house instead of a one bedroom studio overlooking Center City. But we’re not. We’re excited about the prospects of city living and enjoying our newfound freedom. That’s really what it comes down to with me: I don’t want a baby because they will absolutely ruin my life. Let me explain.
When I say that a baby will ruin my life, I mean that it will absolutely ruin the kind of lifestyle I want at this juncture. I enjoy booking last minute, spontaneous flights to Florida for an extended weekend. I enjoy not celebrating holidays traditionally. I enjoy being able to watch what I want, go where I want, and not worry about finding a babysitter or being too obsessed with my baby that I can’t leave. Once I become a mother, my experienced parent-friends tell me that I won’t mind giving all that up. But I certainly don’t want to yet. And that’s okay.
I’d like to know, in the comments, if you struggle with putting time constraints on your life the same way I do. I think, for women especially, we have a clear-cut vision of what our life should have been like by certain milestones. I often reflect and get angry with myself, wondering that if I don’t want a baby at 30, will that necessarily change at 31, 32, 33? By that point, won’t I be TOO settled in my ways? By the time I do decide I want one, will maintaining that pregnancy be doable? Will I adore motherhood so much that I’ll have regrets for not doing it sooner? Will they come out and I desperately miss what my life was like or feel like I missed the opportunities I’m still crafting for myself, still hoping to become viable?
I ask myself these things when I hold my best friend’s baby, when my nephew calls me Saturday morning wanting to tell me about his day, when my husband breaks down and cries in the baby section of Target, when I open up the medicine cabinet and see an expired box of ovulation trackers staring back at me. I often struggle with deciding what I want and when I want it, which is why I feel so powerful finally acknowledging that motherhood is the last thing I want… for now.
My mother-in-law joked around about a year ago that she wants grandchildren before she gets too old. My dad, several weeks ago, told me that children change everything and that if I don’t want them, that’s okay; I’m not less of a woman for not having them. These polar statements highlight the struggle I often face—knowing it’s okay to not have them, but also wanting to capture that familial lifestyle I thought I’d have by the time I entered my thirties. I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to live somewhere in the midst of both of them.
Choosing to wait on having a family says a lot about one’s character; children shouldn’t be looked at as “probably a good idea” or the “next logical step” after marriage. They should be regarded as the life-changing people they are, and the last thing I could ever want this year is one of them.