I’ve known for some years now that the thought of having children doesn’t really appeal to me. The first response that may spring to your mind is ‘that’ll change when you’re older’, which it might. The other (and more common response) is ‘you’ll feel differently when it’s one of your own’, which is a tricky feat in itself because it can’t be proved unless I have a child. In fact, whenever I’ve mentioned I don’t want a child, the response given has always attempted to be persuasive. I’m also in a loving relationship and have been for a while, so the common assumption is that I’ll be having children soon.
Is it still taboo to admit you don’t want to fulfil your biological purpose? Thankfully, I’ve read an increasing amount of articles about the choice not to have children, this one from Amanda Chatel being one of the most compelling. I have various reasons for not being attracted to the pull of motherhood, from the fear of my mother’s postnatal depression being hereditary to the fear of rejection. From seeing most of the girls I went to school with on their second child to the thought of incubating another person inside my own body sending me absolutely queasy. But one reason reigns above them all.
I’ve recently been looking after young family members while their parents have been away in America. I’m dealing with a very needy dog, too. I work full time and the kids are currently on half term. The positive of all this, of course, is that I have a new found respect mothers. Hold them in awe, even.
Only a week and half of my life has been eaten up, but I feel exhausted – worn down to the core. There is no time for me. There’s cleaning to be done, a dog to be fussed over, a kid that doesn’t stop talking from the moment she gets up to the minute she goes to bed. Inane chatter about nothing. Clothes to be washed. Children that can’t be silenced or engaged by the magic of a book. It’s half ten at night and I’m crying because I’m hormonal mainly, but the oven just won’t become any cleaner. It’s half eleven before I wind down, but then I need to go to bed and – bang! – it’s time for work again.
I’m too selfish for children. The thought of investing my full time and energy in another being, as well as trying to raise and mould them to behave in an acceptable way is absolutely beyond me. You can’t just quit a child when you have an overwhelming urge to be alone. You can’t drop them when you’ve had enough and you can’t just put their dinner time on hold if you want to pop to Superdrug to buy some styling clay but the queue is too long.