As a young woman, I've heard it all as a 25-year-old. It has been hammered into my head from birth, whether that hammering has been a subconscious infiltration effort from the media or obtuse comments from family and friends. To my friends and family reading this: you have not offended me and I truly hope you take my honesty as an enlightenment if you will. In any case, a life of barren solitude is one that I have more than accepted and embraced, but have also defended.
No matter how I try to explain my position on choosing to not have children, I have always been seen as a 'weirdo', a 'phony', or 'that annoying feminist who is making a statement'. No, no statement other than my honest self who has always known to bear a child was not something I could envision myself taking on. I want the white picket fence, and the dog, and the life partner. This snapshot encapsulating the more stable part of my adult life has always played out clearly in my mind, sans children. And I will have that life one day with a man who understands and respects my decision because a man who respects a woman's right to come to a decision this important is needed in a world of skepticism and criticism. My childless decision will attract the man who is meant to be in my life. I do not need a man to change my mind merely because I fell in love with him; rather he will have the same vision that is aligned with mine.
Before, I was careful in confiding this idea with certain people but mostly open to sharing this with my family, because I was afraid of what others would think while hoping my family would support me. Everyone had the same rhetoric more or less so: "Oh, just you wait. Your *mother/aunt/great godmother/dog/cactus plant/left shoe* said she didn't want kids and look what happened!" Yes, these strong-willed, beautiful women in my life probably at one point or another once shared the same ideology as me as doe-eyed youngsters I'd imagine, but what separates me from them is that I live in a time of modern radicalization, fourth wave feminism, and how about the crazy notion that a woman's anatomy does not predispose her biological legacy. I do not want children because I have very little maternal instinct. I would be failing my child as a mother in so many ways. I am maternal towards dogs- something Jennifer Aniston and I have in common. A childless life is a lifestyle choice. Our current administration is threatening to pedal back on all of the progress our sisters worked tremendously hard to make possible for us today. The Roe v. Wade case trial settlement could possibly crumble under Brett Kavanaugh's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the face of climate change, our country and world as we know it today will be drastically contrastive by the time a child born today is ready to go to college in 18 years' time. The future is unbeknownst to every single one us; why thrust that uncertainty onto later generations?
And who can forget the state of our economy? Millennials have unapologetically built a sordid reputation of sounding like broken records whenever they bring up the wretched condition of our economic climate, but how can we not when the 2008 mortgage crisis plummeted both the American stock and bond markets into overhaul which could no longer be sustained when Congress neglected a bailout? A 25-year-old reading this today was 15 years old 10 years ago and most likely had no idea how severe the impact of that recession on our lives as young, independent individuals would be, even with Obama's stimulus plan. I certainly did not. I was too concerned with the latest Coldplay album and the Beijing Olympics. Today, investment banks have instilled the SEC, FINRA, transparent repo desks, and compliance officers to oversee the safe, honest practice of trading mortgage securities as a safeguard against another mortgage crisis. But the damage has been done and it continues to influence how Americans purchase homes with their crippling student loan debt (currently at 1.5 trillion in debt!) 10 years later.
On a more lighter note, children are wonderful, curious, beautiful little versions of the better part of ourselves we hope to see grow up and make a change for the better when their time comes. Children are hilarious, shrewd, hopeful little beings that unite families and communities in times of adversity and unpredictability. 'Children' has not been in my grammatical repertoire with intent. Perhaps one day I will consider adopting a child to breathe the second chance into their precious life but as my beliefs currently stand, to a rear a child of my own is something I cannot fathom. I am what you call a modern day, working-class woman who has put her work before her personal interests and I am not apologetically sorry for choosing me over anything else.