At almost 37 years-old, people have finally stopped telling me that I’ll never feel complete as a woman if I don’t have kids, or that I’ll change my mind, or that I’ll love my kids and be thrilled to spend my lifetime with them even though I rarely want to spend more than an hour with someone else's kids.
Along the way there have been people who’ve come up to me quietly after watching me endure another “Kids make you complete!” talk and said some version of “Don’t believe that -- I didn’t want kids but had them anyway and it was terrible.” Still, people insisting that I create a human life against my better judgment have been far more common.
I used to ask, “Are you offering to raise the kid if you’re wrong?” Nobody ever was. It felt awful that I had to defend my choice to be childless -- sorry, childfree -- but I feel more horrible thinking about women who want kids but can’t have them and must endure endless, inappropriate, intrusive questions about when they are going to have kids.
I’m not even going to justify the idea that my completeness as a woman is based on becoming part of the stroller and sippy-cup set with a response. What I really want to know is why is this a thing? Why are we so concerned about whether or not other people choose to have children? Is there some sort of baby shortage that I’m not aware of? The cover of Time Magazine this week is devoted to an article called “The Childfree Life”, which spends a lot of inches discussing the whys and hows of choosing not to have kids and the backlash it can cause. This has sparked internet discussions and debates that ask questions like “Is being childfree selfish and narcissistic?”