I Don’t Want To Have Kids

Let’s talk babies. You are lying if you don’t think they are a tiny bit creepy, especially newborns. Yes, even your own. And no, I don’t think their cone heads or umbilical cord belly buttons are cute. In fact, it weirds me out. A lot. I feel uncomfortable when you make me hold them and/or touch them, and most of the time I’m just trying not to look directly at them. (And on that note, no matter how close of friends we are, I don’t need a 3D picture of your uterus popping up on my Facebook feed. I’ve seen far too many uteri for someone who isn’t an OBGYN.)

Fast forward to when the baby is a toddler. Yes, at ages two to four, they become a little cuter. They still drool, poop, and throw-up on both animate and inanimate objects, but they are usually funny and thus good for a laugh, so I can deal. Plus they tire easily so if I throw a ball, they will keep running to fetch it and be asleep in no time so I can drink wine and watch Buffy re-runs.

Keep fast forwarding until the baby is ages five to eight. They are still funny, due to their mostly incomprehensible language skills, but now parents must prepare for the curse of elementary school teachers making kids think they are the next Picasso or David Beckham. Your child starts bringing home hideous drawings that you have to put up at on the fridge and pretend to other people that they are good. Or you have to spend Saturday mornings watching your kid try to kick a soccer ball only to have it go through her legs, ruining a perfectly good Saturday hangover. No, sweetie, that drawing is NOT pretty, in fact it is hideous, and I can’t believe I spent the money to buy you those colored pencils.

I think I was aware at a very young age how awful parents had it when they had to pretend the things their kids did were either good or enjoyable. In my third grade art class, our assignment was to make a clay sculpture of something we loved. I loved dogs, so instantly I knew what my sculpture would be. I also knew, however, that I couldn’t sculpt a likeness of a roly-poly if my life depended on it. So instead of trying, I resigned myself to my artistic ineptitude and dilly-dallied until the last five minutes, when I knew I had to create a sculpture or risk getting in trouble. Since I loved dogs, I made a clay heart, took my pencil, and stenciled “I Love Dogs” in the center. I got in trouble for blatantly ignoring the assignment and taking the “easy way out,” but at least it wasn’t ugly, and my mom has kept the sculpture to this day to remind her of her under-achieving, artistically challenged daughter.

Anyway, I digress. Fast forward to when kids are between the ages of eight and 18. Meaning that on top of being messy and awkward looking (you know it’s true, just look at your junior high photos), they now have the capacity to be smart asses and talk back to you, all the while taking up your time and money on stupid things like Color Guard or Karate.

Once the kids are all grown up with spouses and kids of their own, and the only saving grace for parents is that they get to play with grandkids for a few hours at a time and return them to their parental units when they start getting smelly, sticky, angry, sleepy, or annoying.

But in all seriousness, some people just aren’t meant to be parents. I sometimes think I am one of them. People close to me say “Oh you’ll change your mind!” or “What are you going to do if you don’t have kids?!” Or worse, “Why don’t you want kids??”

First, when did it become appropriate to ask someone why they don’t want to have children? As a friend correctly pointed out to me, one would never say to a parent “Oh my gosh, why on earth did you decide to have a kid??” So I have trouble understanding why it’s acceptable to ask me why I don’t want to have one.

Second, and maybe it’s just me, but I think the more appropriate question is “What aren’t you going do if you don’t have kids??” The answer is simple: Nothing. I am going to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I am going to leave the country on a two-week long vacation to Southeast Asia and not worry about where to leave my children. Just as parents see such value in experiencing life with children, I see value in experiencing life without them. There is a social stigma surrounding couples, and mainly the women in those couples, that decide not to have children. At the close of conversations with people regarding my lack of desire to procreate, I leave feeling as though I was defending myself against One Million Moms.

From my experience, parents with children often lose bonds with their childless friends and strengthen bonds with other parents, finding common ground over daycare, playdates, diapers, and babysitters. Childless women who have circles of friends that become mothers are sometimes ostracized from those circles, most likely just because that’s the natural order of things. It’s an interesting phenomenon that I’ve only recently encountered, but will most certainly encounter more often as so many of the women I grew up with start to have children.

At this point in my life, I do not believe having a child is the path for me. That’s not to say I won’t change my mind, or become even further convinced of my decision. But it’s a decision, a choice that I’ve made. We have made strides towards refraining from passing judgment on women who don’t want children, but a look at the latest GOP agenda shows the archaic notion of women as baby-making machines is rearing its ugly head again. TC mark


image – Artful Magpie


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  • diane

    wow, you really have some strong beliefs for someone who may change their mind eventually. pointless article.

    • Savannah

      then why did you read it? or should I say, why did you waste your time commenting here?
      pointless Diane.

    • H

      Would you tell a homosexual man or woman that they may change their mind about being homosexual? No.

      • Jessie

        Exactly! It’s so condescending and paternalistic to say, “You don’t know what you want. You’ll change your mind when you’re older.”

    • J

      Even if she does change her mind about having kids, I doubt that suggests she’s going to change her mind about ridiculing or judging those who don’t, that was the point of the thing, a comment on the stigma of not wanting children. You obviously missed it entirely.

      • Tyrone

        Silly Diane. Probably a single mother who’s kids have all left the nest and realises its now too late to do all the things she’s wanted to do all along. Nothing worse than too late Diane, nothing worse.

  • brandon lemon

    I must say sir I myself am in the same boat as you are I have stood fast even in the face of everyone around me trying to convince me that I one day shall want kids well as I look back now as a 27 year old. Had I settled for kids I know I would have been unhappy.

    So from one man to another your not wrong hell if anything everyone else is wrong and just trying to conform.

    • Alexis

      Maybe I’m being nitpicky here buttt the writer is a woman, not a man (re: “from one man to another”).

    • http://ladaysandnights.wordpress.com ladaysandnights

      the person who wrote this essay is a woman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/monicalups Monica Luppi

    Thanks for this. I really enjoy the comparisons you make. It’s true that as a 37 year old woman, other women I work with either knowingly look at me like “oooh, yeah, give her time she’ll change her mind” or else subtly or not so subtly imply that I cannever know what it is like to be a fulfilled human woman unless I have kids. It’s totally insulting.
    I sometimes think they are jealous of my freedom, but I can’t be sure… in any case it’s a terrbile and antiwoman attitude that is mostly held by women!

  • Joanna

    I LOVE this! My thoughts exactly. We’re overpopulated anyway; those of us who choose to remain childless are doing the rest of the world a favor.

  • Brooke

    This. All of this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ourstoriesfitintophones Claire Kooyman

    To Brandon- did you check to see who wrote this? A WOMAN wrote this! LOL.

  • http://properblog.tumblr.com Jennifer

    Although I don’t agree with everything that is said in this article, I also do not want children and I believe this was a well written personal perspective on it.

  • http://gravatar.com/misskristina misskristina

    You clearly know NOTHING about actual children. Incomprehensible language skills from ages 5-8? Yeah, no. By age 8 they are in 3rd grade and can multiply for god’s sake. If you don’t want to have kids, that’s fine, but don’t make parents out to be idiots or children out to be something gross/stupid. It’s immature and pointless.

    • Alex

      Parents are idiots. I’m sick of listening to my sister telling me about her son’s pooping schedule. If I talked about mine, I would be branded an idiot.

    • Guest

      TRUTH. It’s fine to not want kids but this article is all the hell over the place. Get one argument and stick to it. And please for everyone’s sake, let it be a little more insightful than “kids are gross and awful.”

      • Alex

        People are allowed to have more than one reason for wanting/not wanting something. People who have kids are allowed to say “I want kids because they’re so cute”, so why can’t people who don’t want kids say “I don’t want kids because they’re disgusting”?

    • Joanna


      proof that people become obnoxious and dumbed-down versions of themselves when they have children. children are definitely gross, and most are pretty stupid.

    • JR

      This wasn’t a WEBMD article aiming to be accurate about the developmental stages of children, just some good old-fashioned hyperbole. And children can be gross. And stupid. That’s why their children. Most Moms I know would, and have, used both adjectives to describe their own children at some point or another.

      • JR

        *they’re children. Not their children. Grammar fail.

      • misskristina

        Doesn’t matter if it’s WEBMD or not, get your facts straight or the rest of your argument has no legitimacy. I’m not saying nothing gross every happens with kids, but I have never used those words to describe my kids. I question the kind of mothers who would call their own kids stupid. Those are the people who don’t need to be having kids in the first place. Weren’t you a kid once? How do you feel about your parents?

      • Kate

        Why have you even bothered to read this article if you have kids?

    • http://lifeisnotamovie.net Robin

      Kids can be quite gross, it’s a fact and every parent I know knows this but love their kids anyway. No need to get defensive.

  • Nope2012


  • A.


  • Guest

    It’s unfortunate that people in the world who are least fit to have children are having them (and often not providing for them) at alarming rates. Smart people are going to have to start having kids again. To save the Earth. A 33 year old in m home state of Tennessee has 33 kids and makes minimum wage. We can’t let this gene pool win.

  • http://ladaysandnights.wordpress.com ladaysandnights

    the 3D pictures of the uterus on FB!! THIS.
    why why why?!?! why to expectant mothers find that necessary? i wanna get an ultrasound of my unoccupied womb, post it and see how they like it.

    • H

      Ha that’s a great idea!

  • http://gravatar.com/bobbiesocks bobbiesocks

    I think this is great and I used to be one of the ostracized women. I could have written this same article.
    Then I had child. Just like friends before me, I also fell off the face of the earth for a while. I still feel guilty for some of the similar thoughts I had – getting angry and resentful that my new child-having friends no longer wanted to spend time with me and that they could talk mostly only about their children and had no other cultural, political, worldly events to talk about. Then the other shoe dropped and there are many times when I yearn to have the childfree lifestyle back, and I also now completely understand why my friends “left.” Energy. Sleep. Time. Priorities that had to shift. One isn’t better or worse, it’s just another life change where both sides of the relationship really, really struggle. Before, I thought it was just me, the childless friend, that struggled. It sucks on both sides.

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  • DL22

    All of what you say is true, kids are tiring and they take over your life. And I definitely think that a person who knows they don’t want children should not have them. But what you failed to recognize is that parents actually love their children. (I suspect your own parents loved you and your sculptures very much) Sure, a lot of the activities are mindless and boring but most of the time, we want to watch our kid play t-ball or the violin because we love the hell out of those tyrants. Imagine the love you feel for your dog or cat or best friend and multiply that by about 1,000. Yes, raising a child will not win you awards or prestige, will not make you ‘different and interesting’ but it is extremely difficult (more so than grad school and hiking mountains, and all the other difficult things I can think of and have done myself) and rewarding in its own way. When we are gone, someone will need to run our society and it will be those ‘creepy’ kids.

    • http://twitter.com/imwithdband Eri (@imwithdband)

      But who says our society must exist forever? What if we come with an expiration date, to put it in a simple way, and realizing ‘kids’ aren’t what we really want takes us there?

      I hate when my family talks about this with me, like my existence is only worth it if/when I have an offspring? No.

    • Kate

      Anyone who brings children into this ‘society’ that we have is incredibly selfish. The world is in a complete mess, I couldn’t think of anyone worse than inflicting all this shit on even more people.

      • Kate

        *think of anything

      • DL22

        Look up aged populations in Europe and Japan. Yes, society is a mess but it is even more of a mess when a population becomes too old to take care of itself. Someone needs to work to support retired people. When you, yourself are old you will be living off young people. How else will your Medicare and Social Security be subsidized? Who will be the nurses and caregivers who take care of you?

      • Kate

        There are enough other people breeding like there’s no tomorrow that I don’t need to worry about that. I live in Europe and we have absolutely no problems with aging populations, in fact we can’t seem to educate our teenagers enough to stop knocking each other up. I was in fact referring to more serious society issues in the world, such as war (and civil war in Libya, Syria, Tunisia and countless other places that are ignored), genocide, starvation. I couldn’t imagine inflicting these horrendous problems on another generation.

    • JR

      You make a very good point, and truth be told never once have I questioned how much the parents I know, including my own, love their children. I know that they’d rather be doing those things with/for their kids. And I would hazard to guess that being a parent is probably the MOST difficult thing in the world. My point was simply that, from the outside looking in (and with a very healthy dose of hyperbole), this is how it sometimes seems to women who for some reason or another don’t have the desire to have kids. We are a healthy minority, I’d guess. Also I think the more important aspect that is troubling to childless women is feeling judged because of their choice. By no means do all parents do that, but in my own experience, a number of them do. Not cruelly or in a “You are horrible for not having kids” kind of way, but something much more subtle and perhaps even unconscious. The last several paragraphs are common themes I hear among my fellow childless friends, and even in the political sphere lately (women’s place is in the home, raising families, so on and so forth). I have heard people say that women who don’t want kids are either scared, selfish, stupid, or all of the above, unfortunately. I don’t think parents are idiots, either, for the record :-)

      • http://truthfullyme.wordpress.com bobbiesocks

        >> Not cruelly or in a “You are horrible for not having kids” kind of way, but something much more subtle and perhaps even unconscious.

        YES. This is exactly why we should support other women, regardless of their birth/child choices. Hold each other up. We knock each other out in these subtle (sometimes not-so-subtle) ways and it doesn’t improve the world for any of us. How about telling each other this, “I trust you to choose wisely for yourself and I will support whatever path you choose.”

  • http://gravatar.com/runningchimes chimes

    I LOVE this post. I just had some thoughts about this on my blog yesterday but you said a lot of the things I wanted to say but couldn’t because I really don’t want to deal with the repercussions of my friends who are already ostracizing me.

  • http://twitter.com/imwithdband Eri (@imwithdband)

    I absolutely agree. In my case, my brother has 5 kids already and he’s only 34. I’m 24 and have no intentions to have one, ever.
    Every single time my family gets together for Christmas or New Years, and all the kids are running around, I get asked the same old question “When will you give me a grandchild?” and If I say ‘never’ my mom makes this ‘You just killed a puppy’ face, and lectures me on how lonely I’ll be when I’m older, and how nobody’s going to take care of me if I’m sick. What makes me think that having a child is a very narcissistic thing to do, I mean… If their only purpose is for them to worship you, to see you as their hero, as their everything. To love you beyond your faults, then yeah. No thanks, if I wanted company I’d get a cat.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sherls Caity Sherlock

    kids are cute from afar. far form the drool, far from the spit up. far from the destruction that is left in their path. i don’t want kids. i don’t even want to babysit my friends kids. sorry. i can’t.

  • http://twitter.com/alisonwisneski alisonwisneski (@alisonwisneski)

    Dude, good for you. Write what you want, say what you want, and don’t let the mommies who found this article bring you down. Have an opinion, say it loud. This was incredibly well-written and just damn funny, sorry for those who don’t see that.

  • carrielizjohnston

    Amen, sister. When people say to me, “But you love kids. How can you NOT want one?” I reply, “I also love giraffes, but I don’t want one in my backyard.”

  • Mel

    Let me clearly start my comment by saying that if YOU (not your husband, significant other, mother, father, whatever) do not have an incredible burning desire to have children, DON”T! Remember, you are having a PERSON, not a baby. It starts out that as a baby, but you have to force yourself to look ahead at what a HUGE responsibility bringing another PERSON into the world is. They are (or should be) your responsibility until the day you die.

    Every parent and child is different. It’s kind of like a marriage, except you can’t divorce your child. You will always love them (that’s just inherent), but after a while, it is not guanteed that you will LIKE them.

    Be prepared for elation, heart-ache, the best times of your life, the worse times of your life and the never-ending haunting knowledge that YOU CHOSE to bring this life into the world and no matter how hard you try to rationalize it, that child is your responsibility, no matter what. FOREVER.

    I will never get people that hound other people about having kids. It is a very personal and very difficult decision to make. Mind your own business when it comes to things that personal in someone else’s life, if they want your opinion or if they want to talk to you about it, believe me, they will come to you.

  • Kathryn

    Your ignorance about child development makes me sad that you exist in the world. You clearly know nothing about children and are obviously making the right choice by not having them, since you will inevitably screw them up. I hope you never change your mind and in fact get your tubes tied. And quit insulting people wo do want and love children, it makes you hypocritical. They’re the future of our society and will be the ones to take care of you when you’re old, should you not win a Darwin award (which is far more likely than you winning an intelligence award).

    • http://twitter.com/alisonwisneski alisonwisneski (@alisonwisneski)

      Yikes, I don’t ever want you to be my mom.

      • Mel

        Wow. Kathryn was a bit harsh there wasn’t she? Although, if you don’t want children, you probably should take every precaution that there is not an “oops”. Getting your tubes tied is a sure bet you won’t have kids. I was told I could not have kids, but made an appointment to get my tubes tied anyway because I did not want to be one of those women that have an “oops” in their late 40’s. Before I got to the appointment, I found out I was pregnant. Thankfully, I wanted a child with all of my heart.

    • JR

      I don’t quite see how I insulted anyone who wants or loves children. I used humor to make a point about kids, then said I didn’t want them, and espoused on the societal pressure to have them and the judgment that childless women sometimes face. If you didn’t “get” the humor of the first part of the article then that’s ok, but telling me that you think I shouldn’t exist in the world and should have my tubes tied really makes you sound like a woman-hater.

      • Mel

        I have a child and while I will not go as far as to say I love children, but I love my child more then anything. You did not insult me at all. For God sake, why would people want people that don’t want kids to have them??? Thats just insane.

    • H

      Can we get a sense of humour over here guys? No? Oh. Saying you hope she gets her tubes tied (tubal ligation since you’re such a fan of intelligence) to someone who doesn’t want kids is such a crappy insult. Really.

      • JR

        ^What she said.

    • T

      The only thing that was insulting was your comment. I’m guessing your kids will be the ones that are “screwed up” with the example you’ve set for them.

  • Katie

    This is a fantastic article! I’ve taken grief my whole life for feeling this way. When I met my husband,
    I was very upfront about not wanting kids. Ever. And he is ok with it. It is rude to ask a woman
    why she doesn’t have kids or want them. I’m not going to create another human being (that I don’t want or want responsibility for)
    because society tells me I’m supposed to. It’s my body, and I own its reproductive rights.
    Also, just because a person has a child, or 10, doesn’t mean she/he will be taken care of in old age.

  • http://xioduckiexio.livejournal.com alexa

    high-five, girl, i’m right there with you, along with my own, additional reasons. and if you need a buddy to take that spontaneous trip to southeast asia… :)

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