My BFF and I both chose not to have children, and re dubbed Mother’s Day “Happy I’m Not A Mother Day” years ago. We both married in our 30’s, and had no burning desire (no desire at all really) to have children. No “biological urge.” I didn’t feel my life would be less without children in it. I knew myself well enough to know I really was not cut out to have children. When years ago I told people I had no intention of having children, my choice was met with many reactions:
“But you’d be such a good mother.”
“Really? What’s wrong with you?”
“You’ll come around.”
You’ll regret it when you are old.”
I was always amazed they showed a total lack of understanding or respect for the choice I made. I would never have thought of telling them what I really thought of some of the choices they had made in their lives that I might not have agreed with. When it came to making the choice about having children it was as if there was only one choice. To have them. The societal norm I guess. I am often asked how many children I have when meeting someone new. After responding with “none” and being met with looks of pity and “oh sorry”- I have learned to follow up with I “opted out.” I’m not sorry, you don’t need to be sorry.
I am glad for my friends who have found meaning and fulfillment in their lives by having children, good for them. But it would not have been good for me. My step daughter was 8 when she came into my life. We spoke on the phone everyday, saw each other every other weekend and one night during the week. Perfect. Just enough to get my nurturing out, and just enough before I was on my last nerve. I love my nieces and nephews, I am a good aunt, I love spending time with the children of my friends, and that is just right for me. Am I less of a person because I am not a mother? I don’t think so. Is my life incomplete? Not at all. Rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful for many, but not for everybody.