Not Everyone Wants Kids…Here’s One Detailed Explanation Why
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” Joe is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
At the risk of making an obvious statement, becoming a parent is one of those events that changes you profoundly. Seeing as the vast majority of you reading this are parents, you’re likely nodding your head, at least internally. But what if we made the decision, the deliberate decision, never to procreate? What if we instead chose to devote our lives solely to seeking out personal satisfaction by our own actions, living on our own terms, being responsible for only one beating heart? Should we be considered “odd” or “self-absorbed?” Well, after posing a simple question via social media, I received an earful from a lifelong friend who, despite being known as incredibly soft-spoken and amiable, let it be known that there was a grievance she’d been harboring. I think she was merely waiting for someone to ask the question.
To those who never want to have kids, why don’t you want them?
That was the question I posed on Facebook. Since I’m writing a non-fiction book on the subject of parenting, I thought it’d be appealing to hear from people who simply wanted no part of the lifestyle. After all, in the book I discuss social barriers that are sometimes formed when your lifestyle drastically differs from that of your friends. In order to meet in the middle, we must first understand where the other party is coming from. What I read was not sad, nor was it boastful of the carefree life a kid-less woman leads. What I read was defiant, logical, yet strained.
I’ve known Dawn Marino since Kindergarten. She was then and remains now a shining light of positivity and strength. So it caught me off guard to receive a message from her that I initially perceived as defensive. Her response to the question “Why don’t you want to have children?” is as follows:
When I was seven years old, standing in my bedroom, I randomly looked at my mother and told her with firm resolution that I was never getting married and most certainly never having kids. She looked at me like I was crazy, and said I would change my mind.
I’m 34 now and not only have I not changed my mind, but I am still firm in this decision. I have always felt this way, inexplicably and intrinsically. For me, when I was younger, it made no sense to me why people would focus their entire life on this goal, and why women would so badly want children because I never felt a motherly instinct or a craving to have a child.
My relationships, my family, my friends are all important parts of my life. Just because what I consider to be “family” is not traditional, does not mean that I have less of a family than those with children.
In addition to not having that maternal spark and desire that so many of my peers seem to have, I also really enjoy my life the way it is. I am passionate about my career, and I am always actively seeking side projects, creative endeavors and means of inspiration. I relish my free time and would never want to give that up for something that I didn’t even want in the first place.
To be clear, I enjoy my friends’ children and love them like family. I pen-pal with some, mail gifts to others, and every year buy gifts for children I don’t know in poor areas for Christmas. I don’t hate kids (although I admit I do find many to be annoying and am unable to relate to them) nor do I pass judgment on others in my life for having children.
My belief is that this world is over-populated and there are too many people having children for the wrong reasons. People want to save broken relationships, so they have kids. Ultimately, nothing is fixed, but instead there are children being brought up in unhappy homes.
Also, I am sick often. Migraines, chronic infections, you name it. I have a history of mental illness that sometimes makes my days unbearable and leaving the house quite difficult. How unfair would that be to have children when I can barely take care of myself? I can’t see myself being responsible for bringing up a happy, healthy child when some days all I am capable of is hiding under the covers in the dark because I am too sick to move.
Let’s talk responsibility – I am not responsible. I can’t balance a check book and while I love my career, it is not lucrative. The cost of a child and the pressure of having someone dependent on someone like me is unrealistic.
Did I mention I love my time alone? I enjoy the quiet. I enjoy the arts. I enjoy reading on the corner of my couch with incense burning and meditation music gently playing in the background. Now, I know that parents still enjoy these things themselves despite having children. But for me, I would not.
So many mothers I know lose their identity after having a child. Every single thing they discuss revolves around parenting and their child. I, in all honesty, find it to be so incredibly boring. I know that may sound awful, but I just have no interest in any of these things. Choosing a gift for my friend’s baby shower was so hard because I had no idea what any of the items on the registry actually were!
I find that as someone child-free by choice, the assumption is that I am selfish and lazy. I am neither of those things. In fact, I work really hard and deserve down-time and vacation from the elements of my life just as much as a parent. I may not be changing diapers and losing sleep, but maybe I’m not sleeping for my own reasons. Every person is different, and it is all relative to each one’s situation.
People often can’t accept that I just really don’t want children. I even had a (well intentioned) family member once drunkenly tell me that he would love me and accept my significant other more and be happier “once I have children.” I don’t want pity; I want support and understanding. I love my life and am making the best decision for me.
To be clear, I am not including Dawn’s message in this blog for other parents to roll their eyes in disgust or to sit there, brow frozen from the utter confusion of a woman who actually chooses not to spawn offspring. I’m including this to open a few eyes for anyone who ever thought someone was being “selfish” for opting to stay child-less. As noted, it would be far more selfish to have a child when you didn’t have the means to care for one.
More than anything else, I would sincerely hope that anyone reading this would be tactful enough not to make a friend feel like a lesser life form simply because they aren’t following the same path as you in life. Frankly, I admire Dawn. Always have. And it’s mostly because she knows who she is and never apologizes for it, boldly sticking to her guns, despite what society (or even drunken family members) might force on her. Raising children isn’t for everyone. It’s been fulfilling for me. But I wish there were more people like Dawn who are able to take stock of their lives and decide on a direction that is logical, fair, and completely, defiantly normal.
We all have a Dawn in our lives. If we want to keep them there, we can’t let ourselves become the type of parent who alienates without understanding. To learn more about Dawn, visit www.DawnMarino.com.
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