Children are great.
They’re cute, curious, innocent little bundles of joy.
But that doesn’t mean I want one.
And this decision is somewhat baffling to many around me.
Last November, I turned 30. The big 3-0. Needless to say, the prospect of leaving my twenties wasn’t thrilling to me. I knew that with this arbitrary milestone birthday comes certain expectations. Expectations that I don’t know if I’ll ever want to fulfil.
When I was in my teens, I was convinced I’d be a married mother-of-two by the time I was 25. I was sure of it. I’d have a boy and a girl (boy first), I knew what their names were going to be, how I would decorate their nursery, what style of parenting I would undertake… yeah, I was a fool.
Because the truth of the matter is I’d never really thought about it. Not properly. I’d never considered what having children actually meant – the impacts on my life and what it would mean for my future. I never considered if kids would actually want me.
I’m a complex being.
I’m a chronic overthinker. I question everything; especially myself. I have battled with mental illness in the form of Borderline Personality Disorder, anxiety, and depression since I was 12 years old. I’ve had a few intense (and ultimately damaging) relationships. I’ve lost people; to death, and to new lives.
I struggle to trust. I overshare.
I overcommit. I don’t commit enough.
I’m an introvert who craves social connection.
I am a paradox.
But what does all this have to do with children?
Well, the point is, I’m not really sure who I am. I don’t know what I want or where I’m going. My purpose in life alludes me thus far, but all I know is that adding children into the mix is a seriously bad idea.
I like children. Their inquisitive nature, their ability to learn and grow, their goofy, gappy smiles where a baby tooth has fallen out.
But is liking children a reason to create one?
If you’re asking me, I don’t think so.
One of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder is a lack of sense of identity. I’ve already said I don’t know who I am, and I have this pesky habit of becoming whatever the person I love needs me to be – despite how counterproductive it is to my own self-actualisation.
If I had a child, I believe my entire world would become about being a mum, and my happiness would be dependent on that child sticking to my “script”. That’s a burden I just can’t inflict on an innocent child. It’s not fair. Children aren’t born to be moulded into mini versions of us or what we need them to be – they’re born to create their own identity; to experience the world in their own unique and brilliant way.
I’m not saying I’ll absolutely never have kids (even though time and biology may make that decision for me). But right now and for the foreseeable future? No.
I need to figure out who I am before I even think about creating, raising, and guiding another human through life.
Maybe I’m selfish. Maybe I only think about myself.
Or maybe it’s the most selfless decision I can make.
Are you childless by choice? Tell me about your experiences and thought-processes in the comments.