I’ve been surprised to learn that even friends my age have questioned why I don’t want children. I thought (and for the most part, still think) that we are in the middle of a generational shift towards not wanting children as much as past generations. It differs from person to person, but at least for me, all arrows seem to point towards no children. I mean, have you met me? I don’t think you want me bringing another me into this world, for all of our sakes. But in case that isn't enough to convince you, here are six other reasons why I don't want children:
1. There is evidence that suggests that certain mental illnesses can be hereditary.
Research into the genetics of mental illness just began in the last decade so it’s a bit too early to draw any set-in-stone conclusions. However, genes have been identified and connected to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, and scientists suspect there are more genes out there for other mental illnesses as well.
I’m not saying that I don’t want to raise a kid with a mental illness. I believe that a mental illness doesn't solely decide who a person is and that the presence of a mental illness is not that person's fault. And I think the way we stigmatize mental illness in society is disgusting and alarming. All I’m saying is I don’t want to be the reason why my kid could get mental illnesses because I know how horrible it is to live with them.
2. I want to have a really successful career and live an independent life and I know I can’t do that if I have children.
You can call me selfish all you want, but I know that I don’t want to be tied down or held back by having children. You see, I grew up in a small, affluent suburban town where the majority of parents worked full-time and made lots of money. This alone doesn't equate to being a bad parent, but that certainly was a common trend. A lot of these types of parents just weren’t around enough to be there for their kids. And they literally compensated for it by spoiling their kids rotten. However, this doesn't change the fact that these kids didn't have parental figures around, which can be really damaging and cause strained relationships. Now this is just a theory of mine, but my high school had a lot of problems with drugs and alcohol because the kids were so loaded they could afford to buy them and their parents were never around to stop them or discipline them. It was (and still is) a cyclical, destructive pattern.
Not just from my town as a whole, but also from friends of mine I’ve observed mistakes made in parenting because the parents aren’t fully committed to being there for their kids. I've learned that good parents are completely selfless, and they always put their child’s needs (even into that child’s teenage and adulthood) first. And as much as parents say they’ll be there for their kids, it's always harder to walk the walk. Especially when kids start to think they don’t need their parents around anymore. It makes the parents feel like they can ease up on parenting when, actually, the teenage years are when children need guidance the most.
I know what I want. I want to have a successful career. I want to see the world. I want to have all of these experiences throughout my whole life that I simply won’t be able to have if I have children. I’d rather not have children in the first place than risk being a bad parent.
3. I don’t want to get pregnant and experience all the symptoms and damage it does to a woman’s body.
Ladies, you know what I’m talking about it. And fellas, you’re about to. The side effects of pregnancy and childbirth include but are not limited to: a failing bladder, loss of hair, you sweat more, your breasts can leak milk for years after childbirth, damaged eyesight, a whole bunch of fun skin issues including spots/blotches on the face, spider veins, stretch marks, etc, weight gain on your stomach and hips, gingivitis, a lower sex drive, need I go on?
Also, childbirth is hella painful. Don’t believe me?
4. We’re overpopulated as it is.
Having children used to be necessary to advance our species. Pretty self explanatory right? But now, we’re having a huge overpopulation and resource crisis. Being the science nerd that I am, I would feel bad having a child when it’s going to hurt our world more than help it (from a strictly scientific point-of-view). Childbirth used to be a basic survival mechanism, but now it’s both unnecessary and unneeded if you don't want them to begin with.
5. I don’t want to bring kids into society right now with the direction we’re headed.
Let me just start this point off by saying that America is great and we are much better off now compared to 50 or 100 years ago. However, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t facing a lot of really scary issues right now. From soul-crushing student debt to gun violence to our blatant ignorance about the environment that will come back to haunt us in the next century, I don’t want to bring a kid into the world and have to worry about what’s going to happen to them and their kids after I’m gone.
6. And last, but not least, because I just don’t.
I don’t want to spend my life raising kids. It’s just not appealing to me. Kids annoy me. They’re loud, impatient, obnoxious, and gross. And then they grow into teenagers and they’re angst-y, angry, “too cool,” rebellious, and ungrateful. Seriously, who wants to deal with that?
My sister wants to have kids, which is great, because I’ve fully accepted and embraced my future as the Cool Aunt. My mom and I are already plotting to visit Tiana (my sister) all the time, especially when her kids are babies, and tease her when we get to leave and have freedom while she’s stuck with crying babies and dirty diapers. I mean, I’m sure it’s worthwhile for some people, but just not for me.
However, if I were to change my mind when I’m older, I’d adapt, because one, no genetic problem, two, I don’t have to get pregnant, three, I don’t contribute to overpopulation because, four, the poor kid is already in this world. However, even this is a very small possibility.