As I get older, more and more people that I went to school with are settling down and having babies. It can feel overwhelming at first as the societal pressure seeps in and demands a child out of me. I'll even get a kind of "baby fever" feeling when I see an infant at my work and long to hold them. Whether that feeling is purely maternal or the fact that I have the desire to hold anything small and cute, it doesn't change the fact that I do not want kids. Not now, not ever.
Don't get me wrong - I absolutely adore children. I have dozens of cousins, all younger than me, that I would hold for hours if I could. The second the child starts getting fussy, though, I'm out. I no longer want anything to do with the child and I start to feel anxious and overwhelmed. I do not handle crying children well, especially if the child is incapable of communicating with me. I just get frustrated, and I'm working on being better at communicating with children rather than forcing them to be better at communicating with me.
My brothers were all the light of my life when they were younger and they still are now. I damn near raised them and it took its own toll on me. I was young myself, barely capable of taking care of me and being forced to play the part of a surrogate mother. I hold no resentment for my siblings when it comes to this because it was simply just how things were at the time. People know this, and it's always the first thing they reference when I talk about not wanting kids.
Now, I know what you're thinking, just like others do, "Oh, well you're different. You already raised kids."
Was my situation different? Probably.
Are others still valid in their choice to not have kids? Absolutely.
If I wasn't so scared of pregnancy and so unwilling to shift my goals around, I could possibly entertain the idea of one day having children. Possibly.
But, I'm not. I'm not willing to change my life aspirations for a child. I'm not willing to fork out thousands of dollars for a child when I come from a lineage of poverty. My current life plans do not have room for babies, and I refuse to try to make room. I have no interest in staying up late trying to soothe a crabby toddler. I have no interest in dealing with a teenager's sass. I have no interest in worrying about keeping someone else alive when I can barely do it for myself.
I just don't want them. I really do not need to go farther than that, but the root truth of it all is just that I don't want them.
Is it selfish? Maybe. Am I okay with that? More than okay, actually.
I do not owe my life, my body, my goals, and success, to anyone and I won't pretend like I do to please a society that desperately wants me to have a baby for literally no reason. I'm tired of people responding with, "you'll change your mind when you're older" as if that completely invalidates how I feel now. So what if I decide later that I do? So what? What about now where I'm confiding in you that a life with children is not a life I can see having? What about me not being financially stable enough for a baby? What about my life, my goals, and everything I've worked so hard for? Why? Why should I have to give all that up?
The answer may surprise you, but I don't. My reasons may be selfish, but they are still my reasons, and they are not up for debate.