Why I won’t regret my choice to be child-free
It’s almost heartbreaking knowing that I wasn’t born with the same maternal passion I see in other women.
I never had a passion for wanting to raise a family and bring life into the world. I never desired the idea of creating life inside my own body. I never enjoyed being around babies or children, and the idea of pregnancy frightened me. I loved animals more than humans and knew that whoever I ended up with would need to understand that.
I married my best friend of (10) years, and while he always knew I felt like this my whole life, I didn’t realize that he felt the exact opposite of me until we discussed our feelings one day.
It was difficult for us to have that conversation initially because it put us both in an uncomfortable situation. Growing up, I felt that in order to be accepted, I had to conform to the beliefs of others so they wouldn’t leave me. Because of this, I tried to force myself to want these same ideals as my husband who dreamed of the perfect family ideal: A loving wife, a few pets, and kids to raise all while being the best husband and father he could be.
In my heart, I knew I could be the best wife, have the greatest pets, a good career, a big house, but a part of him would feel empty because he wanted kids, and I didn’t.
I felt like a disappoint to myself because I wished so badly I wasn’t born like this. I felt like I already ruined his dreams.
He would get everything else he desired but, no children.
In my head, I felt that I had already failed as a woman. As a wife, I thought I should attempt to compromise by forcing myself to change my beliefs. Deep down inside, I knew if I did change my views, it would destroy me in the end.
To amuse the idea in my brain, I created a list of future baby names for boys and girls. I would talk to mothers on their own personal experience and found out how they dealt with life, careers, their pets, all while raising children. I would pick up books to read on parenting and how to deal with raising kids as an introvert.
I realized the more I talked to people, the more I did my research and read, the more it just affirmed that this wasn’t the life for me.
I lied to myself saying that I would consider it one day because I was with the right person. I lied to my husband just so I could feel like less of a disappointment because he was on the opposite end of my spectrum where raising a new life would be a dream come true. Yet to me, the same exact passion would ruin my dreams.
The more I knew I was living a lie that I wanted to be true, the more I knew I had to come clean.
The problem with coming clean is that no one ever believes you especially if what you’re coming clean about is something they don’t want to hear.
The people that hoped you’d change your mind were FINALLY happy that you were living up to their beliefs, and not your own.
The super religious friends and family would be overjoyed because I would be fruitful and live up to my duties as a woman to serve her man and bear him a son to pass on his name.
The people who would benefit from life being born into the world were happy that they could have grandchildren to raise, or a part of their own blood to influence.
The people who thought you’d change your mind would justify that they were right because “everyone changes their mind”.
In that moment, you knew that no matter what you’d say, your feelings would never be validated or respected.
You’d finally feel like you belong. But do you?
It should be a great feeling, right?
Not when it comes at the expense of your mental health and sanity.
You always knew you didn’t belong in that world, but you tried so hard to become part of it because everyone else around you judged you and made you feel awful for choosing a life that’s different than theirs.
You lived in a whirlwind of thoughts of regret and self-hatred for feeling less than average because you willingly lied to yourself because you wanted the world to accept you.
You had a burning deep desire to be not just the perfect wife, but the perfect mother, even though in your own head, being a mother is never something you wanted despite people around you telling you that you’d be a great mom.
You wanted to be just like every other woman who would come around and change their minds, but you didn’t.
You attempted to create a lie and hoped that if you believed in it enough, that it would become reality, but the truth won. It always wins.
And it did.
The truth woke me up to realize that I was different and I was meant to be different.
While my husband always wanted children, I knew I shouldn’t sacrifice who I was to be something I wasn’t.
I knew the truth and told him the truth.
While the truth was ugly, it was real— but that’s all I knew how to be.
I wore a mask in order to feel like I could belong, but I realized my power was in being different.
I no longer needed to justify myself to others.
As I get older, I know I will still hear the comments of how I will change my mind, and that I’m missing out.
I know I’ll keep disappointing others, but I finally stopped disappointing myself.
I accepted my differences, and my husband has as well. Our opposing viewpoints can be uncomfortable to discuss, but at least we are both 100% honest and respectful with each other no matter what, and that’s what matters.
I learned that no matter how painful or upsetting, I valued the cost of honesty, than the cost of living a lie.
By: Cecilia J. Sanders