When I was 16 I stood on the corner of the road of my childhood home and proclaimed to the universe that I didn’t want children. Fast forward 12 years and I was pregnant. Not a bad age to be pregnant and I was with the father, my then fiancé (and now ex-husband – but that’s another blog post altogether!).
However, and given the title of this post and my 16-year-old proclamation, there was a catch to the being pregnant thing. I wasn’t just pregnant; I was very very ill. It turned out that the extreme pain I had was not at all normal for a pregnancy but that I had a nasty infection, which, if left untreated, could do long-term damage to me, but if treated would certainly cause problems for the pregnancy due to the type of drugs required to treat it (safe antibiotics wouldn’t have worked apparently). So, long story short, the pregnancy did not go full term. End of story.
I went through many of the emotions and hormonal weirdness that it seems many women who have chosen to be childfree go through following that experience. I was married, my husband was easy going on the topic of children, but occasionally I would have these weird “I should have children” twinges. I think I felt a bit of a failure because I simply couldn’t maintain a pregnancy and after 6 miscarriages and several failed trips to the hospital with gynaecologists proclaiming they had no idea why I could not maintain a pregnancy, I realised that I was simply meant to be childfree.
It really was as simple as that. I felt no significant loss, grief or concern. In fact, I felt relieved and happy that I didn’t have to go through what I always knew I didn’t want to go through.
So why on earth had I felt a failure? Probably the social conditioning that focuses entirely on women aiming to be mothers. The view that if you don’t have children you are somehow selfish, inadequate, incomplete, etc. I’ve been lucky to never have pressure from family to have children and am now with a new fiancé (soon to be husband) who shares my views on being childfree.
Being childfree is freeing. That is why I prefer the term childfree to childless, childless infers loss and I feel no loss. I don’t deny that the majority of parents love being parents. But it’s also just as valid that the majority of childfree people love being childfree (I am also very aware that this is not true for all women who like me are unable to have children). To me, whatever life choice you make should be a celebration.
So here is my top list for reasons why I LOVE being childfree:
- I can have a lie in on the weekend if I want to. Yup, sorry parents, but the only thing waking me up on a Saturday and Sunday morning is my other half with a cup of coffee. Even the cats know to leave me alone on those hallowed rest days (they bother the other half instead!)
- My weekends and evenings are my own. For the most part. We still have demands on our time from family and friends (all welcome by the way). But what we don’t have to worry about is ensuring anyone else is entertained, taken to training, extra-curriculum activities etc.
- I can have a full-time job without having to worry about childcare, ideally my full-time job would not involve commuting into London, or ridiculous hours, but this is unrelated to being childfree and because I am childfree something I can aim towards
- I can go to the toilet on my own – apart from the cats, they always seem to want to join me
- I can have a bath on my own – if I want 😉 and apart from the cats (see above)
- I do not have to answer inanely annoying questions every five minutes and can hold a conversation with friends without being interrupted, all the time
- I can do what I want, when I want. That is whatever I want, whenever I want – and I do!
- The money we earn is for us, all of it (apart from taxes of course!), so that means when I am saving I am saving for my future, not someone else’s and I have more disposable income
- The only sick and poo I have to handle is my own, when I say handle, obviously, I don’t handle my own poo, that’s just disgusting. Occasionally I might have to look after the other half and as we get older who knows, but no poo/sick/yuck in nappies for me
- I can travel without having to take 3,000 additional bags and a screaming child
- No screaming (other than my own)
- I never have to watch Peppa Pig or any other such nonsense, unless I want to. I have never watched Frozen!
- I can swear as much as I want to and wherever I want to – and I do!
- I never have to visit the headmaster ever again (I saw him enough first time around!)
- I can have sex whenever I fancy it
- I have a lower carbon footprint than mothers, who apparently increase lifetime carbon footprint emissions by 5.7 times for every child (something to do with disposable nappies)
- I have time for me, my other half, my family and my friends
- I never have to find a babysitter (just a cat sitter!)
- I never have to hear the words “I’m bored” (unless I say them… or the other half says them)
- I can be and am spontaneous
I don’t think there should be an argument for whether being childfree is better or worse than being a parent.
I do know that being childfree is right for me.