I Don’t Want Children, and You Should Respect That

Judging or shaming women for not wanting children is outdated and inconsiderate


Illustration by Natalie Lu/SAC.Media

Women who do not want children should not feel guilty. Just because I am a woman does not mean my ultimate goal in life is to be a mom, and I shouldn’t be labeled as selfish or ungrateful.

I was taught growing up that parenthood was not an if but a when. I was constantly told phrases like “when you have kids you will understand,” but I never understood why it was always assumed that I would have kids someday. These remarks and assumptions made me feel like everyone had already planned my life out for me without listening to what I wanted for myself. In my family, it was normal for the women to have a lot of kids, so when I said I did not want children, I was judged.

The mentality that the most important goal for a woman is to become a mom is so outdated and sexist. With the opportunities that are available to women today, more women are deciding to have children later in life or not at all.

According to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2017, only 3.8 million babies were born, which is the lowest number in three decades. However, women who are vocal about not wanting children are still faced with judgement in today’s modern society.

It is also common for women to not be taken seriously when they say they do not want children.

Phrases such as “you’ll change your mind” or “you never know” are always common responses. And oftentimes, when women say they do not want children, it makes people uncomfortable. I once opened up to one of my friends about not wanting children, and they became very confused and uncomfortable, so they started to make jokes about my decision.

One of the jokes that has been ingrained in my memory is her saying she would artificially inseminate me with a turkey baster when she becomes pregnant because we have to have our kids at the same time. I found this joke very disturbing and disrespectful. It was like she wasn’t taking me seriously, and she didn’t respect my decision.

According to the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, women in their early 30s surpassed women in their 20s as the group with the highest birth rate.

This shift is due to women waiting longer before deciding to have children, and the number of teen birth rates continuing to drop. The teen birth rate has been declining continuously the past few years and has gone down seven percent from 2016 to 2017.

Women who have come to the decision that they do not want children should not be made to feel ashamed of their decision. It is worse when someone becomes a parent and realizes too late that they do not like that lifestyle. Parenthood is a big decision and should be carefully thought out. If they have really thought about this decision and have come to the conclusion that being a parent is not what they want for their lives, they have every right to make that decision.

People need to stop making women feel guilty about about deciding not to have children. The stereotype that women need to become housewives, get married and have children right away needs to stay in the past. There are so many opportunities for women in today’s society; just because I am a women does not mean having children is my main goal in life. Whether they do not want children because they want to focus on their careers, or just because they have decided parenthood is not for them, women should not be labeled as selfish or ungrateful.