by: The Childfree Wife
I am 28 years old, married, childfree by choice, and a dog mum. I hate the term “dog mum,” but that is what I am. I’m completely obsessed with my dog. And no, she is not a substitute for a baby.
I don’t know when or how I decided I wanted to be childfree but I know for the entire nine years my husband and I have been together that has been the case. The idea that people who choose to live childfree are somehow immature, selfish or shallow is ridiculous. If anything, I have given parenthood more thought than the average person. I have considered it from every angle possible. I’ve thought very deeply about the implications both choices would have on my life. Living childfree has actually been extremely difficult and is most certainly not the easy way out.
Infertile By Chance
A few years into our relationship, my husband and I found out I had fertility issues. Ironically we found out while I was donating eggs to a clinic. At that moment, I was totally unaffected. I was ‘diagnosed’ when we were in our early twenties. Babies were the last thing on our minds. At that point, it also wasn’t obvious to anyone that we didn’t foresee children being part of our lives. But at times over the years, I have been tormented by the fear of making the wrong decision.
This was in most part due to the discrimination we began to experience as we got older and our relationship progressed; getting engaged, buying a house and then eventually, getting married. Of course, I understand having a baby is naturally the next step. However, it almost becomes an object of fascination when instead of saying “not yet” you answer “no.” Enter the number one most overused comment a childfree by choice person will ever hear, “You will change your mind.” This statement nearly gave me a mental breakdown.
Childfree By Choice
I am childfree by choice. I have always been and, at this time, I have no indication that I will feel any different in the near future. But knowing that you may not have a choice about having children, knowing that your reproductive system is failing and being repeatedly told that you will change your mind is quite terrifying!
For a period of around two years, this topic consumed me. I interrogated my friends with babies, I spent most nights googling my condition and searching for those in a similar situation, and I became a broken record. At one point, I even drove myself into a depressive state. All because I couldn’t understand why I didn’t want children. If people I barely knew were able to state so confidently that I would change my mind, how on earth could I possibly decide in my twenties that I didn’t EVER want children? I needed to know what it was that other women felt. How did they know they wanted babies? Because for me, I wasn’t fighting the urge and this wasn’t a case of head over the heart or making an educated decision.
I was and am childfree by choice because I genuinely have no maternal instinct or inclination to reproduce. My biological clock is not set to baby time. So, what am I missing? This is something I imagine a lot of people who are childfree by choice, can relate to, health issues or not. If you are told something often enough and with such confidence, it is bound to have a resounding effect on you. And it took such a long time for me to actually accept that we are all different and that in fact, there are a lot more people that feel like this than would care to admit. And many of them went on to have children anyway.
Alternatively, my “diagnosis” is entirely the reason these comments had such an impact on my mental health. I didn’t like being given a time limit and feeling like I was out of control. I wanted my childfree life to be my decision, not a defect. This is why I never tell anyone I have fertility issues. No matter how arrogant or ignorant someone might be, my condition is not the cause of my life choice, it is confirmation. It has taken me a long time to become comfortable and confident with who I am and, more importantly, who I am not. I know for certain that I am not a childless woman with fertility issues; I am a childfree by choice woman who knows her life purpose – and it has nothing to do with motherhood. For now!
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Want to learn more about our contributing poster? Follow her on instagram @thechildfreewife