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How Being On The Edge About Having Children Has Impacted Me

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Conversations about not having children are so taboo, and personally, I don’t think they should be. The societal notion is that one must have kids and a family in order to live a full and complete life, and if you don’t there’s so much stigma around it. It kind of perplexes me; why do others care about what you do with your life so badly? It’s a hard thing to talk about, but for me, I have strong opinions that need to be voiced.

The number one thing about having children is that you must be 100% committed to dedicating your life to them, and if you’re teetering on the edge of that — DO NOT HAVE KIDS. I’m going to preface this by noting that I’m only 20 years old and my plans might change. I obviously have the same concerns as many other people in that I want to make sure I get to travel and do all the things I want to, as well as establish myself before the thought of having kids crosses my mind. That being said, those aren’t my only concerns.

Before I have kids, I need to learn how to properly care for myself as well. Like any college student, I’m still navigating how to be a grown-up and do certain things for myself without the assistance of others. Things like taxes, how to snap out of a depressive episode, finding a work-life balance, and much more are still foreign concepts to me. How am I expected to have a kid without having figured such tasks out yet? I get the saying “no parent is perfect” and they all just figure it out along the way, but I would want to be a good mother, and an even better role model to show my children how to be self-sufficient. Right now I’d be lying to myself if I said I was self-sufficient enough.

I’ve worked with kids a lot. I went to camp as a kid and then became a camp counselor. The kids I looked after for three years were always 12- to 13-year-olds though. They already knew how to do things for themselves. They were cool because they were old enough to complain with me when stuff at camp got rough. I’m not familiar with children that need to be coddled and babysat. I would be wildly mistaken to say I could have an infant on my hands with such a lack of experience.

I love my mom, but she definitely passed down some generational trauma to me that I had to work to clear from my mindset. I would not want that for my children. She gets really upset when I say I think I might not want to have kids in the future. She feels that it’s an insult to her as a mother, but really, so many other factors come into play. I try not to bring it up around her because I know she will lose her chill. It’s hard not to be able to go to such a close figure with this kind of stuff.

It’s not just my mom. There have been so many instances where people think they have the right to control my life when they very much do not. I remember one instance so clearly where I went to my neurologist and he talked about how I might have to go off my medication when pregnant because of certain side effects. I slid in “well that might not be a problem because I’m still very unsure about having kids.” He looked at me, and then looked at my dad who was sitting next to me. Now don’t get me wrong I love my neurologist, but he was very quick to condescendingly say “what, you’re not going to give your dad here grandchildren?” He said this as if I owe such an endeavor to my father. So weird and judgmental — especially coming from a medical professional. There was another time when I was talking to my friend about this and she went “good luck trying to find a husband then.” I understand what she was trying to point out, but being the loud and opinionated person I am, I went off about what she was implying. 

We need to end this cycle. It’s degrading and simply unnecessary. Let’s let people live without thinking about the consequences or lack thereof not of having children. At the end of the day, all women and birthing people have to recognize and make this decision for themselves. 

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Kate Katz

U Mass Amherst '24

Kate is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a New Yorker at heart. She is a double major in Journalism and Communication and hopes to work in the broadcast field. Kate also writes for several other UMass publications. She is so grateful to be able to share her work with such a wide audience of readers.