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"Today, I spoke to some people who think I'm a freak."

Why is this STILL a life choice that is labelled taboo?

Today, I did a radio interview that made me feel like a freak.

I knew that I was in for some tough questions on a very personal topic, but I never expected to be sitting here feeling so rattled afterwards.

Let me rewind.

I was approached to be a guest on Melbourne’s breakfast radio show Kiis 101.1 with Jane Hall and Matt Tilley as part of a series they are doing called “Taboo”.

Jane and Matt with fellow radio host at KIIS Dave Hughes. (Image via Instagram @kiss1011)

As part of this series, they have interviewed cousins who married each other and had kids. And they’ve interviewed a racist who wants all Muslims kicked out of Australia.

My Taboo topic?  The fact that I don’t want children.

For starters, that premise is shaky: Is it 1960? How can this still be considered a taboo topic in 2015?

But I get it, it’s a taboo for a woman not to conform to The Motherhood.

I have never wanted children but I was only brave enough to start saying it publicly recently.  I’m 41 years old, engaged to a wonderful man and neither of us want children.

Read more: Why is it so controversial when a woman doesn’t want children?

It’s hard to describe but to my doubters I’d just say: “You know how you just know deep in your core that you want kids? Well I have that same conviction to not have children. I just know.”

“I’ve worked in the media for 25 years. I get paid for my opinion. I’m used to being controversial. So why am I blinking back the tears?” (Image via instagram @shellyhorton1)

I’ve never felt clucky. I have never fantasised about having a baby in my arms or raising a child.  I had counselling to make sure I wasn’t repressing anything or making a huge mistake.  I think I’ve put more thought into not having kids than many people put into having them. I love my life the way it is. I’m really happy.

I explained all of this in an article in 2011, happily stating that I’m childfree by choice.

I got a lot of heat.  People wrote to me saying I’m ‘selfish’ and ‘a woman who doesn’t want kids is not a real woman.’

But I also got amazing emails from women thanking me for speaking up.  For giving them a voice and in some cases giving them ideas and tools on how to bring the topic up with their partners and family members.

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Shelly and her fiance, Darren. (Image via instagram @shellyhorton1)

It’s those letters I think about when I get asked to do more interviews on it.  I’ve done Sunday Night on Channel Seven, ABC Radio’s Life Matters, I’ve even spoken at the Opera House as part of the All About Women festival.

But still, the questions and comments I faced today left me shaken.

Comments and questions like these:

Our purpose in life is to procreate.

Isn’t it sad that society thinks careers are more important than children?

You’ll never experience true love.

You are selfish.

They even asked me what I would do if I accidentally fell pregnant.

READ MORE: Ambitious men and women want the same thing. But women probably won’t get it.

I replied honestly and said I would have a termination.  I could almost feel the hate Tweets falling out of the sky and burying me alive.  But really, what is the other option?  Have child who I know I really don’t want? No-one wins in that situation.

I’ve worked in the media for 25 years.  I get paid for my opinion.  I’m used to being controversial.

Shelly feels judged because of her decision not to have children. (Image via instagram @shellyhorton1)

So why am I sitting here blinking back tears?

I think because a breakfast radio show put not wanting kids in the same category as being a racist or embracing incest.

Because I’ve heard all all of these accusations before – these are old wounds and this conversation ripped off the scabs without consideration that there’s another side.

Because I thought a woman’s choice would count for something in 2015.

Because it scares me that I’m considered a freak.

And because it’s never comfortable when you don’t fit in.

Why do you think society is still willing to condemn a woman for her family choices?

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