parent opinion

Neither Tenille nor her husband want kids. She's constantly having to justify their decision.

Tenille has never been keen on having kids. Nor is her husband - though some of his family think he would feel differently if not partnered with Tenille. 

"It was something we discussed as a couple very early on, because you can't compromise on the kids situation. And we were exactly on the same page," she tells Mamamia.

"I've never felt that calling. I don't think kids fit with our career goals, nor do they fit with our lifestyle, the freedom we want, and also the environmental impact — there's countless reasons why kids aren't for us."

Watch: Insight returns for another season. Post continues below. 

Video via SBS.

When Tenille shared her decision with her family, they weren't surprised.

"They knew as a child growing up, I never really felt that way inclined to have kids in the future. So they weren't surprised at all, and were even like, 'Yeah I think that's probably a good choice for you.'"

But when her husband Jamie opened up about their choice to his side of the family, there was a mixed reaction. His mother especially says she was disappointed, their story features on Insight's Baby Drought this Tuesday night on SBS. 


Jamie's mother Tracy told Insight: "I don't understand it. It's sort of part of the process — you get married, you have children. It was upsetting that they aren't going to have children. I really think Jamie would have made a fantastic father."

Tracy is a grandmother to Jamie's brother's children and adores her role. She says if Jamie and Tenille weren't together, she would be more persistent in encouraging Jamie to have children.

Tenille tells Mamamia it was a tricky conversation to have.

"You have to accept that kids are going to grow up and the dynamics are going to change. They're going to be their own person, like Jamie. So it felt a little disrespectful, I guess, that he's not getting that sort of acknowledgement of being his own person," she says.

"People definitely come across really passionate and feel really strongly about the decision to have kids — not just for themselves, but for other people. I don't get that latter part, because everyone has their own choice."

Tenille and Jamie. Image: Supplied.


Tenille has also faced the challenge of having her choice questioned in medical settings. 

"I was quite fearful of falling pregnant and I also didn't respond well to hormonal contraception. I started asking doctors from when I was in my early 20s onward if I could have something more permanent [tubal ligation/tubes tied]," she notes.

"I had refusal, even some laughter. They would say, 'Absolutely no way. You might change your mind, your husband might die or leave you and you'll meet another guy who wants kids.'"

Tenille says not being able to make that choice for herself was incredibly frustrating, especially now as a woman in her mid-30s.

Her husband Jamie, on the other hand, was able to make a phone call, book and appointment and get a vasectomy in his 20s.

Tenille and Jamie certainly aren't the only ones deciding not to have kids. 


Australia has a plummeting birth rate, with more of us choosing not to have kids, or rather be 'one and done'

Despite the rise in people opting to be child-free though, there's still a real sense of judgement. A view that those who wish not to have kids, and enjoy their freedoms, are 'selfish'.

"I think it's interesting that the word 'selfish' is brought up so often, because what are the reasons for having children? I haven't really heard any that you couldn't describe as selfish. Most people want a mini version of themselves, or someone to care for them when they're old," says Tenille.

Tenille and Jamie love their life the way it is. They have hobbies, passions, careers they enjoy and the freedom to live on their own terms.

Tenille also owns a dog-training business and she says Jamie and her get a lot of joy from doting on their pets.

"I just want to remind people that we don't all have to have kids, even if it seems like the done thing. We all can weigh up our options and really consider the decision carefully. Jamie and I have, and we're happy with where we've landed."

Tenille will be sharing more of her thoughts and experiences on Insight on SBS this Tuesday night March 5 at 8:30pm. The topic is all about Australia's baby drought — the plummeting birth rate and why more of us are choosing not to have children, or to be 'one and done'.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Are you a parent or influencer of kids aged under 18 years? Take our survey for your chance to win one of four $50 gift vouchers!