I Just Don’t Want A Child

Deciding not to have a kid is like saying one big no and a million little yeses

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Lately, I’m really getting how much energy it takes to not do something. And how much of not doing things I’ve done and sometimes not done. Not eating. Not smoking. Not becoming my mother. Not not becoming my mother. And, most pertinently here, not having kids.

Not having kids is saying one big no. No to the same thing over and over and over. So that you can say yes to everything else.  I picked one big no and a million little yeses. I didn’t want to have to say no all the time. I’m already such a negative person. Cheerful, but negative.

If you don’t believe me, maybe you will believe Greg. Greg is the man I didn’t have children with. Some women meet a man and think This is the father of my children. I met Greg and thought, Now here’s a man I cannot have kids with.

I thought about having kids, of course. But on a gut level, I just didn’t want to. I thought maybe I should anyway. In fact, maybe I should especially because I didn’t want to. Like the way you should exercise especially when you feel lazy. But having kids especially because I didn’t want to? It didn’t seem like bringing another person onto the earth as a contrary action to my character flaws of selfishness and fear seemed wise. Or fair to the kid.

Plus, I just didn’t want to.

(POLLWhat Do You Think of the Childfree Life?)

As a grown-up, I’ve met plenty of women who have had careers they loved and also had kids. But I’ve also met plenty who’ve made too many compromises. Plenty of guys who have done the same. I had no dreams of family life. I had a dream of an art life.

Somewhere right around the time I was thinking maybe I was wrong about not having kids, a yoga teacher did an adjustment on me. After the adjustment, the sound of ripping.

“Is that your pants?” he asked, adding insult to injury.

In the following months, I tried to heal the hamstring with every combination of heat and ice I could think of, including whiskey on the rocks. Finally the teacher sent me to see Mimi and Moses Yu. A husband-and-wife team of acupuncturists who ran a low-rent clinic in East L.A. The luck of the draw assigned me to Mimi. She had me pull down my pants and lie on the table. It didn’t not hurt. It didn’t not hurt so much I started to cry.

“You can’t take the pain,” she said. “Jewish girls so spoiled. You better never have baby.” Is that even legal to say?

You don’t notice the absence of pain until there is pain. In the same way, you don’t notice the absence of children until there are children. I like children by the way. It was never that. And they like me. Liking has nothing to do with it.

Because Mimi Yu told me I shouldn’t have a baby, I started thinking about having a baby. I started to want to experience childbirth. Just so I could prove that I could take the pain. I couldn’t really take the pain though.

(MORELife Without Kids)

I started thinking maybe there was a way to not have a child but not not have a child. Had no idea what that would be. I’d always said I’d have a daughter if I could have an eighteen-year-old. Ha ha.

And then one day the phone rang.

“Do you ever have interns?” asked a sweet girl on the other end. We never had, but we could. She said she came to our show, The UnCabaret, quite frequently, and really loved it. So she was smart enough to open with flattery. I liked that. So I said come over. We sent her on a Xeroxing run, and she did a good job. I asked if she was hungry. She looked hungry.

“Yes, I’m always hungry,” she said. So I made her some chili. And that was that.

I got to be a mother to an eighteen-year-old. Not a mother mother. Not a stepmother. Not a surrogate mother. Not a foster mother. But what I came to think of as a pseudo mother.

Her name is Jaime. Like J’aime. I love.

I got to be a pseudo mother without tapping into my deep well of negativity. Yes, she could drop out of college for which she was accruing debt to major in a field she was only studying to please her parents who weren’t paying for it. I got to tell her yes she could work for my radio show. I got to tell her yes it was okay to start having sex. And yes to quitting her job so that she could go back to school for pre-med and yes to med school as an older student. And then one day, she was driving away in a new car that her on-again, off-again, big-time screenwriting boyfriend had given her.

I hired her, I encouraged her, I fed her, I gave her clothes. Now I only see her on Facebook. And maybe I will hardly ever get to see her again. But I love her. I love her in that way that isn’t a friend or a lover or anything besides a child. Even though she’s not mine. And maybe for me that was the most important part of not having a child. Learning to love and not want to possess. To put away no and start saying yes.

Excerpted from No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood edited by Henriette Mantel. Available from Seal Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright 2013.

To read the full TIME cover story, “The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means Not Having Children,” subscribe here. Already a subscriber? Click here.

177 comments
jlynn
jlynn

I have a dog... that's close enough.

ElyseLusk
ElyseLusk

For my husband I its child care thats stopping us we dont make enough to pay child care and a mortgage groceries

calvinnme
calvinnme

Being a social outcast as far back as I can remember, I had a tubal ligation at age 23. I could see the future even way back then. I had no trouble getting laid, but nobody would ever embarrass themselves by having me as a wife. So motherhood would mean single parenthood of a child that would be a product of someone who saw me as a booty call (insert name of any male I've ever known) and somebody I dislike intensely (myself). I've seen other threads about HOW HARD it is to get a doctor to agree to do this operation on a single childless woman. I had no trouble. The first doc I visited said OK. In Texas 33 years ago. I know I made the right decision - socially backwards ugly people such as myself should have their gene pool die out.,  especially if they ardently agree with society's  verdict. So you other folks that are concerned about bringing a child into a  terrible world or overtaxing the already overpopulated earth are better people than me. My reason for being childless was all about me.

Ang.1
Ang.1

I am 23 yr. old. My boyfriend of 6yrs is only 24yrs old. And he said "You better get ready because by next year I want a baby!"...I guess the thought of him wanting a family with me makes me smile but I had to be honest with him. I told him clearly that I have other plans in my life and it does not include committing to spending my life raising another human. I explain to him that this is my choice an he should respect it as much as I can respect his. The conversation got deep. I told him that it would suck to loose him because I don't want a baby, but I will set him free if that is something he really wants. I explained to him that I do not want to come out as selfish and I love babies( who doesn't?) but I do not think is for me. Not now and not ever!


I did think about what I would be missing out on if I don't have at least one. Even though I will not know how good or fun of a mother I could be, or have a little me running around and telling us it loves us, and even caring for something that blossomed from our love and that I would have felt inside of me moving and kicking, and even the exiting part, getting ready for its arrival, I still believe that is something I can live without. He said he was fine with my choice, I guess he is committed to persuade me. I told him if by next year if he still feels the same then I will let him know if I still feel the same or If I have open up the crazy idea of having a baby. But to be honest, I don't think that I will change my mind.


I also thought about the life ahead of me if I chose not to have a baby. To begin with, I can focus more on my career, also I can live in my own luxury, I can travel, I can stay out, or I can sleep In quite and peace environment. I can have more time to spend and focus on my partner, and I will have extra money to spend as I pleased. The down side of going down that path would be that I will have to make new friends. Most of my friends already have children. So I get a lot of questions of when am I going to have one? I think that in time by me not having a baby, our friendship will change as they get more into there busy schedule that they are force to live. And they will not have much to talk about, except there kids and I probably would not want to hear them brag about how good or hard it is to be a mother.


So tell me, what made you want to become a mother? was it something you planned or did it just happened?

And vise versa, what made you not want babies? and what kind of accusations do you get from people who did have children's?

Caren22
Caren22

My fiance and I kept on getting into fights all of the time. We were close to breaking up a few times. I knew that we needed something to stay together because he was pulling away from me day by day. I contacted drstanleyspelltemple@hotmail.com who really helped us stay together and become a closer couple. She did a love binding spell that worked perfectly! He started making more of an effort to talk to me about how he was feeling which helped us work through our problems so much better. My fiance tends to shut down whenever there is conflict and this spell helped him communicate with me. I can also tell that he is more attracted to me because he keeps sending me flowers at work and is always trying to touch me in some way. It's actually really nice and I am very grateful to drstanleyspelltemple@hotmail.com for all that he have done for me.......Caren

AudreyMiller
AudreyMiller

We still live in a society that heavily associates adult females with motherhood. Motherhood is still associated as an expectation, a rite of passage, a large portion of a woman's identity. In addition, marriage is still associated with the bearing of offspring. When people defy these rules, we chastise them.

No matter what my opinion is on this matter, it is not my business nor anyone else's whether someone has children or not, whether they DECIDE to have children or not, and whom they marry are simply NOT MY BUSINESS. It's not my place to tell someone what they should do in their private lives when #1 It doesn't concern/affect me #2 I don't know the entire story. For all I know, the couple could WANT children but are struggling to conceive, are unable to have children, don't believe children will fit into their lifestyle, etc. Whatever the reasons are, they are highly personal. I think if someone decides not to have children, they've thought about the decision long and hard and know what they are doing is best for themselves and/or their partner. Who are we to judge?

People need to stay out of people's business, but it doesn't seem like society and human nature will do that.

Jaycee1
Jaycee1

I don't know anything about magic or how he does it, but ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com is on the top of my personal list of "go-to people" when I find myself in a quandary or a disappointment regarding my love life. That is the most important part of life, in my opinion, and I was really going through a tough time with my husband of 5 years. It was really rough-going for several years before I finally got the kind of help I needed. I never would have thought I would have gone to a necromancer, but Ekaka is more than just about "spells": He is a caring, deeply evolved human being with great sensitivity, and if it were not for him, I am totally certain my husband and I would be each other's "ex" on this very day. I love Dr Ekaka


Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/01/i-just-dont-want-a-child/#ixzz2hmx31IuL

WimpyPete
WimpyPete

I found this article interesting in a strange way. By the title and initial feel of the article I thought that she would make the typical argument of not wanting to have kids in order to free herself for other things in life like her career. And in fact she mentions wanting a life of art. I thought her point was going to be how much this decision satisfied her. But though she never says one way or the other, the conclusion I got is that it didn't really make her happy because this thought of having a child continued to weigh on her. In the end she goes through the whole thing about finding this girl and loving her, which is great. But what it seems like comes out in the end is the fact that from the very beginning she has been hungering for a meaning to her life deeper and greater than just herself and she points to this relationship as helping her find some of that. But then it seems like she ends up affirming the fact that having a "child" at least in some sense is a fulfilling thing, and that love of another gives greater fulfillment than individual success etc. The only thing that it seems like in the end she didn't want is the responsibility of having her own child and long term commitment, which I think ultimately harmed her because she has no lasting relationship with this girl. So I guess my question is, why not have kids of your own?

Jaycee1
Jaycee1

I don't know anything about magic or how he does it, but ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com is on the top of my personal list of "go-to people" when I find myself in a quandary or a disappointment regarding my love life. That is the most important part of life, in my opinion, and I was really going through a tough time with my husband of 5 years. It was really rough-going for several years before I finally got the kind of help I needed. I never would have thought I would have gone to a necromancer, but Ekaka is more than just about "spells": He is a caring, deeply evolved human being with great sensitivity, and if it were not for him, I am totally certain my husband and I would be each other's "ex" on this very day. I love Dr Ekaka

IsabellaWright
IsabellaWright

Maybe you women need to WOMAN UP, and start acting like a REAL WOMAN again? And that means COOKING, CLEANING, and RAISING CHILDREN!

bachcole
bachcole

I love every child as if they were my own.  I see absolutely no reason not to.  I do see a reason why a man might not want to show it, since we have this insane and reasonable hysteria about child molesters.  But such is very unfortunate.  Some scum-bags make life more difficult for everyone else.  But every child is streaming glory from having just returned from heaven.  Their egos are not fully developed, yet.  They are usually sweet and adorable.  Yes, anyone who understands the real purpose of life will love every child.  It is good practice for being able to love adults, including our so-called enemies.  If you can't love a child, how in the world are you going to love other adults and expand your sense of self.  Or do you intend to just wallow in your little finite self forever?

bachcole
bachcole

@LittleMsHaldol  I trust you.  NO where did I say that people should have children even if they didn't want children.  I said that if you don't see the adorable beauty in children than you are not connected to your heart.  My niece is looking down the barrel of some pretty bad genes and has decided to not have any babies this lifetime.  I support her decision.  But if she hates children as some people have said here, then she needs serious help.

jsandusky
jsandusky

selfish for not having kids? bringing a life into the world because you want to no that is totally unselfish. people with kids should be happy some of us do not have or want kids. why? we pay higher taxes so you don't have to. our higher taxes pay for your child tax credits. so to each their own just don't call me selfish for not having kids

ShefaliO'Hara
ShefaliO'Hara

Children are a HUGE commitment. I don't have children, but I KNOW that you have to be totally unselfish, totally giving, etc. Because children deserve no less. If you cannot or do not want to give that, you should NOT have children. That's not being selfish, that's being responsible. Because having a child and then not giving that child what he or she needs is wrong. God bless the people who are wonderful parents - we need them! And for those of us who do not have children - we can support those who do! I mentor a couple of my neighbor's daughters and the parents really appreciate it. Sometimes we'll give them gifts for the kids they have a hard time affording themselves, or help out in other ways. I do love children but I would not have been a good parent for a variety of reasons. However, I am a great aunt/mentor!

nicole.monday
nicole.monday

I don't understand why whenever this debate crops up people get so judgmental and attack each other. Seriously! Surely having a child or not having a child is a personal choice dependent on individual beliefs and circumstances? Why the need to tear each other apart?

PattiPokorchak
PattiPokorchak

tThank you! 

I"ve just become an ex-step-monster mom granny and finally get this 'baby thing. Still don't want one 24/7 but I get it. My grandkid is perfect, adorable and cute - still don't want one 24/7!! Not all of us are meant to have kids or should have kids! All of my staff, mentees and some younger friends are my 'kids' in a way.  That's good enough.

PhiloBeddoe
PhiloBeddoe

Time's attempt at promoting birth control.  Congratulations. 

Time is officially a low level personal blog.


The last thing you want to report on is IRS investigations, Benghazi, NSA, America- the part time job country or even why female mantis' kill their mate. These subjects would be to deep for your readers.


bachcole
bachcole

wristactionblog, that is really a chuckle.  In a vacuum you speculate sex.  It tells everyone where you head is at.  I was thinking of EFT, homeopathy, a spiritual counselor, yoga, tai chi, Bach Flower Remedies, etc. etc. etc.  Sex would sort of be the opposition direction that I was thinking.

sparrow
sparrow

the next generation will want to have kids, because it will be their clones.

eudaimonia
eudaimonia

Sometimes, the act of explaining why one doesn't want kids provides the clearest explanation of why one shouldn't have kids. 

A child shouldn't be subjected to a parent who can only view offspring in regards to the effect it has on one's own narcissism.

DanielMurray
DanielMurray

she's troll.... look at her comment on this thread, her profile.... and the ridiculous comment in this HR sexism thing. the contradict each other in all ways except the are both things that are negative for women.

Allie
Allie

@IsabellaWright What? Just...what??? The 50's called, they want their stereotypes back. 

amandatroyes
amandatroyes

@IsabellaWright Maybe you need to learn to respect other people's choices. How rude you are! I advise you find a hobby of some sort, maybe you'd see for yourself that being a woman can be many things. Also, does that mean that women who can't have children are not real women? That's just insulting. 

dgdoesstuff
dgdoesstuff

@IsabellaWright If that's what it means to be a "real" woman--I'm completely fine with being fake/virtual/unreal. Sounds like a much better option. 

andyrwebman
andyrwebman

@bachcole ".  If you can't love a child, how in the world are you going to love other adults and expand your sense of self. "

Probably because adults are more lovable and less selfish than children. There are times when I smile at a child for a moment, but they are the minority. Mostly I find them annoying or at worst revolting. Less of a problem when they are older, though - when they speak coherently and are simply small people rather than "children". It's 5 and under I find awful.

I think some of us just have sensitivities that predispose us towards the developed, the complex, rather than the dull non-intellectual appeal of children. And the most wonderful time of life, in my opinion, is those years of freedom and connection with your lover as vibrant young adults.

To me, adding children to that reduces that fine harmonized meeting of minds to a life of mutual drudgery. Like adding the sound of a kit beating on a saucepan to a fine piece of classical music.

Perhaps someday humans will find the means to reproduce without going through the obnoxious child phase. Until then, it's not for me.

TinaLynnCakeAshbourne
TinaLynnCakeAshbourne

@bachcole @LittleMsHaldol Just because someone does not want children does not mean they hate children.  I do not want to ever be a mother but I still love kids.  Three of my favorite people in the world are under the age of 7.  So your statements are wrong.

ObsessedAmerica
ObsessedAmerica

@jsandusky 

Exactly. It is not selfish at all. It is a very thoughtful and responsible decision of a mature adult. In kid-obsessed America it's people with kids that are selfish by imposing their obnoxious, rude, entitled and self-centered offspring on everybody around them.

http://kidobsessedamerica.com/

 

TinaLynnCakeAshbourne
TinaLynnCakeAshbourne

@nicole.rimensberger We are taught from birth to have kids.  Little girls are given dolls and play wedding all the time.  People think that that is all there is to life. There is more.

JasonKarov
JasonKarov

@nicole.rimensberger  

One reason that people judge or attack each other over the issue of having kids is that many of the evangelical Christian sects consider it almost a sacrilege to not have them.

Having 4,5,6  or  7 kids is somehow a proof of how "faithful" you are, and those who don't reproduce at all  are seen as selfish, ungodly, and not doing their duty.

A big percentage of the USA population are some variety of Christian, and those doctrines are preached forcefully to the flock.

JasonKarov
JasonKarov

@PhiloBeddoe Birth control is a fundamental right.  


A TRUE small government conservative would favor  keeping policy and law out of our bedrooms, medicine chests, gardens and personal lives and relationships.

The article is about kids, not your Fox news blovation talking points.


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wristactionblog
wristactionblog

@eudaimonia Please don't ever bore me with tales of your child's bowel movements then. And especially don't send me any links to videos of your child's dance recital. 

Expecting me to be interested in such things because you contributed your DNA to it - in the same manner as cows, pigs rats and such - is a level of narcissism somewhat beneath what you ascribe to the individual who is confident in her ability to achieve her aspirations without extending herself through the reproductive act so she might dump the weight of the dreams you're too afraid and weak to realize for yourself onto an unwitting baby. 

bachcole
bachcole

TinaLynn, You miss read my post.  I said that anyone who does not love children is spiritually ill.  I did NOT say that everyone should have child.  I did NOT say that if you don't want to have children that you hate children.  Is that clear?

shewasavisitor
shewasavisitor

@ObsessedAmerica @jsandusky yes, wouldn't it be nice if people could actually start disciplining their children again, instead of treating them like they are little adults who are entitled??  yep, parents, you might have to offend your child.

ldenton
ldenton

@wristactionblog @eudaimonia Period, anyone? wristactionblog, I understand that they no longer teach grammar in school. However, the internet is a great tool. Why don't you use it to improve your written communication skills? The rest of us would really appreciate it.

andyrwebman
andyrwebman

@bachcole That's insulting. It would be equally insulting to say that anyone who loves children like you do is guilty of obsessing over life's least intellectual and most banal phase and is therefore an imbecile. Good job I didn't say it, then.

andyrwebman
andyrwebman

@Allie @nicole.monday @JasonKarov 

Good for you for sticking to your guns. I personally think that if the world had been created, rather than evolved, a kind creator would have made the whole business less painful, less tedious, and less damned frustrating.

You ought to say back to them "so you worship a god who sees intelligent beings like animal stock, then?"

Allie
Allie

@nicole.rimensberger @JasonKarov Maybe, but it's the truth. I live in an area which is dominated by the Christian Reformed church, and I've been called selfish many, many times for not wanting children. I've been told that it's my "duty" to have children, that it's what I was created for. It's really sad to me that people think all I'm good for is procreation, like I'm just a walking uterus. 

Evonne77
Evonne77

@ldenton Made perfect sense to me. Perhaps you should use the internet to practice your reading and comprehension, SMH. 

Allie
Allie

@ldenton There really was nothing wrong with that sentence. 

JaimeWissner
JaimeWissner

@ldenton @wristactionblog @eudaimonia Actually, that sentence was completely grammatically correct and made sense. The internet is a great tool to learn critical reading as well. Let me translate for you. Having selfish pride about your children, simply because they're your children, can be placed as narcissism that is worse than what eudaimonia said women who don't want children have. Those women have the confidence and common sense to follow their goals without feeling the need to pop a baby out simply to have something to push goals and visions that they are fearful of onto.