I’m 37, happily married, and childless by choice. I’ve read all the related articles…the cover story of Time, “Having it All Without Having Children”, The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”, and most recently of Bloomberg Businessweek, “Later, Baby: Will Freezing Your Eggs Free Your Career?” I don’t feel the pressure to have children that women discuss in the Time article, I’ve never considered freezing my eggs, and I hold no delusion of having it all. Perhaps this confession will make me less likable or a less sympathetic character. More than once someone has incredulously asked, “You don’t want to have children?” I’ve just never taken the time to analyze if he or she thought I was a lesser person for it, or to internalize the judgment. It just is what it is.
When I am asked why I don’t want children, and everyone wants a reason, I tell them there are other things I want to accomplish in my life. This is my way of telling people being a mother is just not part of who I want to be. You go your way and I’ll go mine and we’ll both be right.
Halfway through my 37th year I’ve begun to reflect on my choice, and not because I feel the ticking of my biological clock. I’ve begun to reflect on the loneliness that may come not just from being childless, but the loneliness that comes from leading a life divergent from my peers. Amongst all my childhood friends I am the only woman who is not a mother. When I was a kid I imagined that we’d all have children and vacation together as families. I suspect that now it won’t be me and my husband that come to mind.
None of my reflections has made me want to change my mind. I know the loneliness that would come from a choice made out of fear would far exceed the loneliness that would come from a choice made out of a desire to fit in. At the end of it all, I don’t want to just be able to say I accomplished my goals, I want to be able to say I accomplished being honest with myself.