Why I'm Never Having Kids (and Why You Should Consider It Too)

Getting to know anyone new usually involves lots of questions about my life and future plans. I’ve noticed whenever I answer “Are you dating anyone?” with, “Yes, I have a serious boyfriend, and we’re planning on marriage!” I immediately then have to answer the question, “Soooo, when are you having kids?!” This question used to be restricted to my parents and grandparents as a gentle prod, like, “you’re planning on giving me great grandkids/grandkids, right?” But as I’ve gotten to what many consider marrying age, I get this question from seemingly everyone. Women, in particular, are subject to the societal expectation that we commit to one partner, we settle down, we pop out 1-10 children, and that’s just how life goes. This deep-seated expectation probably explains everyone’s shocked response when I answer that question with, “Never, actually.”

Before you ask, yes, really never. No, I don’t want to have kids. No, I won’t change my mind. Yes, my boyfriend is on the exact same page. No, I really won’t change my mind. Here’s the thing - it’s easy to reduce the decision to have children as a simple manifestation of a biological urge. "I wanted kids, so I had kids!" Viewing it that way is the reason that many people see it as such a shock that I don’t want children. Sure, I can’t control my biological urge to reproduce. If I turn 30 and start going baby crazy, no, that isn’t a conscious decision; however, it certainly will be a conscious decision not to have them despite that urge. The purposefulness of my choice is lost on the majority of people who disapprove of my decision or doubt my ability to remain childless for the rest of my life. Even if someday I do want kids, I will choose not to have them - and here’s why you should consider doing the same.  First and foremost, the mindlessness of choosing to have children has created a dangerous precedent in our society. Many would agree with the claim, “if you want kids, you should have them!” full stop. There is often no consideration given to parents’ financial situation, prospective parenting ability, or even how much thought they really put into this decision. For a something as impactful as literally creating a human life, we sure don’t seem to evaluate it much. And though I know many would disagree with me, I believe it is incredibly selfish to make that decision without serious consideration as to whether you are truly about to bring a child into a healthy, stable environment. 

Even if the parents to a prospective child are genuinely well-equipped to raise one, procreating does not exist in a vacuum. Your decision to have a child, let alone 3 or 4, has far reaching effects that most either do not consider, or consider unimportant when weighed against the generally accepted moral positive of having a child. Did you know that having one fewer child per family would reduce "an average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year”? I know many incredibly intelligent people who vehemently agree that taking action against climate change is necessary, but turn a blind eye to the environmental impact of bringing another human into this world. We can’t keep saying we inherently deserve to have children despite the havoc overpopulation continues to wreak on our earth. As is with other issues like voting, reducing meat consumption, and recycling, you are not the exception. Your impact matters, no matter how much you want to conveniently ignore that fact in this situation. 

You may not personally feel the negative impact you may have on a child or on society is worth not having children, there are plenty of perfectly selfish reasons being childless may be the wise choice. It’s difficult to fully understand how much of a commitment children are until you have them, and everyone thinks they have a grasp on it, but very few likely do. Just from a financial perspective, raising a child, on average, costs $233,610. That’s excluding the cost of college, and assuming no major crises like significant medical problems, for one child. Many prospective parents want 2, 3, 4, or more. This is, of course, not considering the time cost that goes into either taking time off of work to raise them, or paying thousands of dollars for daycare. The emotional labor, of course, is unpaid. The idea of having a smaller, cuter version of you to hang out with is enamoring, but in reality, can be painful, difficult, and unrewarding. Your free time is essentially being given up to a being that won’t understand the “sacrifice” you made for them – and I put sacrifice in quotes because it isn’t one. You willingly and excitedly made that choice.

Though I’m happy to go on and on about the benefits of being child-free, this isn’t to say that I hate children, am soulless, or just “don’t understand” like many would like to say. I do believe that there are good parents out there, but if you’re not willing to raise a child with disabilities, mental health issues, different beliefs than you, or one that simply isn’t the perfect little mirror image that you envisioned, you won’t be one of them. If you are truly willing to raise a child with love and kindness regardless of how difficult it is, you’ll be a great parent, and I genuinely mean that. Just don’t expect to see me in your mommy-and-me dance classes!

Image 1 Source: Christen Reighter

Image 2 Source: families.media

Image 3 Source: Pinterest