Why Having Children is Not for Me

One of the most common expectations held for women is that we will all someday have children. This is perpetuated in many ways and starts early. As little girls, we are often given baby dolls and fake kitchen sets to play with. When playing house with other children, we are often delegated to play the mom. As with everything, this expectation has its roots in history. For a long time, women were largely restricted from public life. The primary way that women could make a contribution to society was to get married and have children. In fact, this was usually the only way women could contribute to society, since most other avenues of opportunity and advancement were closed to them. Now, despite the fact that are a plethora of ways that women can participate in the public arena, the expectation that we will have children remains. As with anything else, women who deviate from this expectation are confronted with a variety of responses, ranging from ignorant, to rude, to completely insulting.

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There are many reasons why I don’t want to have children; one of the biggest is the environment. In an article published by the Scientific American, the author writes the following:  “According to the United Nations Population Fund, human population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion people during the course of the 20th century. (Think about it: It took all of time for population to reach 1.6 billion; then it shot to 6.1 billion over just 100 years.) During that time emissions of CO2, the leading greenhouse gas, grew 12-fold. And with worldwide population expected to surpass nine billion over the next 50 years, environmentalists and others are worried about the ability of the planet to withstand the added load of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and wreaking havoc on ecosystems down below.”  Regardless of what some will try to tell you, humans are making large contributions to the struggles of our environment. If the Earth cannot handle the number of people we have in the world now, it definitely cannot handle more. As someone who strives to be as eco-friendly as possible in our industrialized country, I cannot justify having children and adding to our planet’s burden.

In addition to environmental concerns, there are also what are often deemed to be the “selfish” reasons. Children are loud, expensive, gross and would make me lose sleep. And quite frankly, I don’t really like children. They make me feel awkward and uncomfortable. Now, people often consider women who don’t want, and sometimes don’t like, children to be selfish, but this is something that I have never understood. Yes, some of my reasons might sound selfish, but they have their selfless flip-side too. At this point in my life, I don’t have the financial means to take care of a child. And, even if I did, I know that I’m not emotionally capable of raising a child. I lose my patience far too easily and get annoyed by the littlest things. Having a child is a huge responsibility, and having a child knowing that I can’t handle (and don’t want) the responsibility of being a mother would be unfair to myself, but mostly to the innocent child that didn't ask to be born to a mother that doesn't want it.

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My decision to not have children does not make me a bad woman or a bad person. In fact, I think it is one of the things that makes me a good person, because I know my limits, and I'm not willing to push them at the expense of a child just because society thinks I should.

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