It’s a predictable scenario that I can count on to occur. I’m an adult with a uterus, and without fail, people assume I’m a mom. I’m not.
“How many children do you have?” they ask. “I’m purposely childfree,” I always reply, emphasizing the word “purposely.” See, since the age of five, I have known that I’m not supposed to be a mommy. I’m supposed to be childfree.
I had dolls as a girl, loads of them in fact. But I never played “mommy.” My dolls were my entourage. In my imaginary land, they were young women I had rescued along the way throughout my adventures as a singer/model/private investigator and superhero. They eventually joined my forces and helped me save the government from the bad guys, as well as acted as background singers during my nightclub performances. But they were never my children.
I felt odd, because all my friends played “mommy.” When they invited me to play along with them, I always requested to play auntie or nanny to their doll children. That seemed more authentic. Testing my normalcy one day, I decided to play “mommy” on my own, even going through the motions of giving birth. And it was during that playtime, laying on my back, legs spread as I pulled my favorite doll out from beneath my dress that I felt abnormal. Something was wrong with what I was doing. Dropping my doll, the words filled my head, “I’m not supposed to be a mommy.”
The feeling felt strong, and I made a promise to myself to never forget it. I needed to hold onto that. It was a self-defining moment that I knew was too important to not acknowledge. As young as I was, I knew I had discovered something important about myself – something that I was meant to accept and embrace. And I have ever since.
I believe I was born without the desire to be a parent. Just as it is in the nature of parents to procreate, it is in my nature to not. That’s why I don’t simply claim to not have children. My not being a mother is intentional, not happenstance. It’s not as though I forgot to have children, or it just didn’t work out for me. Rather, I am unequivocally, purposefully childfree.
Because I look young, people think I will change my mind. I’m 45. I’m at that age when I know what I want, and I live my life with intention. If I wanted to have kids, I’d have them by now.
Now, once people realize that I don’t want children, and combine that with the fact that I’m a very likable person, they often need assurance that I’m not a monster, that I don’t hate children. Well, to be honest… I’m not a fan. I prefer the company of adults, and only adults. But, I’m nice to kids. It’s not their fault they haven’t achieved adulthood, yet. The funny thing is, kids LOVE me. I mean, they really LOVE me. The universe is interesting that way.
Another thing to consider is that I’m also somewhat of a control freak. I like peace and quiet, and a tidy household with everything in its place. I like my money. I keep it all for myself. Having children just wouldn’t allow for all that.
My life really is my life. My time is mine, as well. I don’t have to share that with another human. An ignorant person would label me as selfish, but selfishness isn’t living how one chooses to live. Selfishness is expecting others to live as you want them to live. Believe that.
While many folks need to be a parent in order to feel evolved or complete, I don’t. I never have. My life is whole, because I’m living it authentically. I’m not forcing situations, nor do I have to contend with situations forced upon me. Luckily, I (unlike many other women) have access to birth control. So, I can remain childfree, stress-free, and in control of my quiet, tidy life.
Another question people with children ask me, “But who will take care of you when you’re old?” And I say, “The US government.” Ha! Just kidding. Like our government cares about old people, or anyone in need of assistance. Nah. When I’m too old to take care of myself, I’ll just move into a senior citizen home and live out my last days with other old folks. My high school friends and I have a pact that we’ll all move into the same one together and recreate Spring Break 1989. I’m down for that.
Being childfree does not make me selfish or a child hater. I will not end my days as a crazy cat lady. I am not lonely, nor will I ever be. I am not an incomplete woman.
I am whole. I am free. I have a choice in the matter, and I am truly grateful for that. I am not supposed to be a mommy. Instead, I am supposed to be childfree. And I am glad I have remained true to that.