As a young woman, I was pretty certain children were not going to be a part of my future. I have always been a worrier and a bit neurotic, and I knew that children were a commitment I wasn’t prepared to handle. I was told over and over that I was young and would change my mind, but at 32, I still have no plans to have children of my own. I have chosen to be child-free.
In a world where everyone can be offended by just about anything, my choice to be child-free goes against the stream of what we understand a woman to be, and has been considered offensive by those women who struggle with IVF or cannot have their own children.
Why would I choose to not have children when I am a healthy, young woman with the capabilities to bear a brood? For me, it was a conscious choice, but being child-free leads to many misconceptions and assumptions. First, I am actually very maternal. I love babies. I love my nephews, and I love my adopted nieces and nephews. I am a first class aunt. Second, being child-free is a choice to reinforce my own mental fortitude. I’ve always had issues with depression and anxiety, and I cannot imagine adding a child into that world or passing it on. Third, I am still able to feel fulfilled as a woman. Women are essentially rearing machines. It’s been our purpose since the beginning of humanity. With the advances we have made in society, I don’t feel that I am less of a woman for not having raised a child. I have a fulfilling life that allows me the freedom and independence I appreciate and want. At this age, practically every woman I know has had, is having, or hopes to have a child, but I stay out of the conversation entirely, and I hope no one assumes the worst of me for it.
Rachel Laurie works in Lansing, Michigan as a Medicaid advocate. She has a Masters in European History and is a self-professed nerd with an interest in comic books, video games, and all things internet related.