Don’t Listen To What Folks Say: 15 Reasons Why It’s Not ‘Unnatural’ To Not Want Kids

February 12, 2013  |  
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A married woman without kids is often referred to as a “childless mother.” Have you ever thought about that? Whether or not you were even trying to have kids, you are defined by your success at having them. And surely you’ve had those friends, nursing babies, tilting their heads and looking at you like some odd specimen asking, “Don’t you want kids?” In general, if you don’t want children, you’re treated like you’re defective or “unnatural.” But here’s why that is a mother load of—you know.

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It’s normal to want to develop yourself — before raising someone else

Many women, who are still missing that urge to procreate, are still figuring themselves out! And today, when women are encouraged to have careers of their own, it’s perfectly normal to still be establishing yourself, even into your thirties!

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It takes time to be successful

If attempting to start her own business, or climb to the top of a company, what woman has accomplished that in her twenties? Very few. Pretty much only prodigal children. It’s not practical for a woman to be making new little lives in her twenties, while she’s working long hours, going to networking events at night, and even going in to the office on weekends.

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A job well done

It would be a little selfish to have a child when you don’t have the time to commit to that child. Some women, no matter what job they do, want to give it their all. And if they can’t do that as a mother right now, they’d rather wait. And perhaps, if the thing they truly love in life—the thing that fuels their soul—would make it impossible for them to be a dedicated mother, they just prefer never to have children.

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How can you teach life lessons if you’re still learning them?

If you do have children, they will inevitably grow up and face hardship. They’ll want to go out into the world and make their own mark. And you’ll want to advise them. You’ll want to have been there. You’ll want to have experienced every phase and emotion and impulse that comes with trying to forge your own way in life, and in your career.

 

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How can you teach what you don’t know?

It’s completely normal for a woman to want to put off having kids until she’s had the experiences that will allow her to advise and empathize with her children when they reach adulthood. Essentially, many women feel a responsibility to experience all the things their kids will one day experience, before reproducing, so that they can—as parents should—be an authority figure on, well, life.

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The harsh truth

The harsh truth is, if you had kids right out of college, for example, and never went on to have a career, your own personal development (sorry to say) became a bit halted at that point. So, you can advise your kids on how to deal with life through college. But then, you’re sort of out of advice. Or at the very least, personal stories to draw upon.

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You didn’t buy into the myth

We love the women who wait to establish themselves before reproducing (or in lieu of it) because they don’t buy into the myth that, if you haven’t “made it” by a certain age, you have to just give up because it’s time to have kids. Too many women have to stop short in their tracks of their goals because their biological clocks are ticking and they say, “Well, I guess the ship has sailed on my career. I only had so much time, I didn’t make it, and now I have to move on to having kids.” They’re tied down to this timeline, and within that timeline it’s nearly impossible to reach their own personal goals. We love that women who put off or forego having kids say, screw the timeline.

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Many parents regret having not waited to have kids

A sad truth is many parents who had children young regret that decision. They’ll tell you if they could do it all again, they’d wait 5 to 10 more years so they could have finished their education, or started their own business, or mastered some craft. While it’s not impossible, it’s very hard to do these things later in life, when a whole new generation of twenty-something’s, with the most updated education and no children hindering their schedules, are your competition.

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You don’t set your kids up to be resented

It may only be subtle, but parents who forewent their own adventures, successes and experiences to have children can end up resenting their children (particularly on those days when those kids are being ungrateful). Many moms who don’t want to have kids, or at least not yet, don’t want to put those hypothetical children in a position where they might be resented. That’s not fair to either party.

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The whole “being a mom is the most fulfilling thing in the world” feeling doesn’t last forever

New moms, cover your ears here. That glow that parents feel from the day their babies are born until the day they hit 18 or 20—that belief that “being a mom is the most fulfilling thing in the world”—that doesn’t last forever. It’s a phase of ecstasy, but it wares off. And then, once your kids are grown and don’t need you as much, you can feel like you’re fishing around in the dark for other forms of fulfillment. Why? Because you had children, partly, because it was easier than going out in the world, and discovering what else might fulfill you.

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You can end up leaning on your kids too much

Typically mothers without careers or passions other than being a mom can become codependent on their children. Their only feelings of being valued, of being skilled, of being important can be drawn from their children. And that’s a lot of pressure to put on kids, and can often be what puts a strain on the mother/child relationship—no child likes to be smothered. Some women want to put off having kids because, while they of course hope to love their kids, they don’t want to depend on them as their only source of affirmation.

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Who wouldn’t want to extend the honeymoon phase?

Any set of parents will tell you that having kids does change your romantic relationship. Perhaps, dare I say, harm it. Some couples just don’t want to do that. Some couples truly are happy being just the two of them. Instead of (as many couples do) having kids because “that’s what you do next”—out of simple inertia—they pause and ask, “Well wait: aren’t we perfectly happy as we are?” It’s not selfish to acknowledge that. That’s just a deeply fulfilling relationship!

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You can always enjoy your friend’s kids

Finally for the women who feel almost certain kids aren’t for them, but love kids, just remember this: you can always enjoy your friend’s kids! You get to be there for all the fun stuff, without any of the stress on your romantic relationship, or any of the physical, emotional, mental and financial responsibility. Essentially, you get to experience the parts of having children you’re sad you’re missing out on, and get to avoid all the things that are the reasons you decided not to have children. Pretty sweet deal.

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Why should you just stop wanting freedom one day?

There is this odd expectation that one day—particularly in your twenties or thirties—you’re just supposed to stop craving freedom. You’re just supposed to be over it, and enjoy sitting at home at night, going to bed at 9 pm and getting up at 7 am. But, it really doesn’t happen like that. Some women are just a wilder spirit, and live for that freedom. Having to pass up on moving for an exciting job, or a trip to a foreign place, or a spontaneous road trip is too big a sacrifice. That’s not selfish. It’s a good thing to know about yourself.

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