We here at Matraea believe in the right of choice and obviously we tend to focus on families–being that one of the services offered at the building is the Midwifery Clinic–but there are many of us that choose not to have children. Navigating in a culture that focuses on having children or at least adopting children if you are unable to conceive them can be a challenge particularly if you are a woman. The following blog was submitted by a client that loves being the “favourite Auntie” but has no interest of ever having children other than the fur kind. Even if that isn’t your reality, I urge you to please read on because you may find insight on how to be a more supportive friend, sister, or mother, or maybe help you connect with a co-worker better...
First off let me state that I love children, I have four nieces and nephews and many of my friends have children. I have always been known as that cool Auntie that takes out my niece or nephew for an evening of fun that mom and dad would never do. You know that kind of Aunt that takes a kid out for dinner that includes hot dogs, French fries, & ice cream; potatoes are a vegetable, protein in hotdogs, and dairy in the ice cream. Then toy shopping and a late evening movie so you bring the child back at 10 at night totally overtired, and coming down from a sugar high, but feeling totally special and loved – yup that‘s me.
It always amazes me how people including friends, family, and co-workers are always saying “but you are so great with kids, why would you and your husband, we will name him “X”, choose not to have any. Yes we have been together for twenty-two years now, and no there is no medical or financial reason for us not to have children, and there are no children from a previous relationship. At age 26 I met the love of my life, “X,” but I had always known I did not want children, not that I didn’t love them I just didn’t want any of my own. Of course family, friends, and my physician didn’t believe me and kept saying I would change my mind. I kept after my physician to tie my tubes but he refused year after year and I did not want to be on an oral contraceptive for the rest of my life either, I just wanted my right of not wanting a child to be respected and not be questioned. So on our 5th anniversary I got the most romantic gift ever, Mr. X scheduled a vasectomy, and I in turn booked a trip for us 6 months after his surgery. It was amazing to me how his physician didn’t question the choice of being child free, but me as a woman I somehow couldn’t be trusted that I wouldn’t change my mind in the future.
So why did I make the conscious decision not to have children? By the way I knew by age 17 that I would do whatever I had to not to get pregnant. I actually thought of becoming a nun so I could avoid the why, and “Oh, you will change your mind!” conversations. And no there were no traumatic events that happened to set me on this life path or fear of giving birth or the anxiety of not being a “good mother.” The answer is simply because I knew that I was not emotionally designed or had any desire to be a mother. Just as someone knows at a young age that they want to have a family, or that they are gay, or transgender, I knew with every fibre of my being that I wanted to have a career, travel as much as possible and see the world, and most important be able to stay out all night if I wanted and sleep in if I so chose.
And I do exactly all those things but also love that I can give my siblings a break for a night from their children and be that awesome cool Aunt. I get to devote my spare time to causes that I am passionate about, and be the main hostess to girls evenings and book clubs as I feel like–without guilt or worrying about what to do with the kids, and that is a great benefit not only to me but for all those in my circle that do have small children. Because I chose not to have my own children I can afford to have a “travel the world fund” for each of my four nieces and nephews that they will get on their 21st birthday, and hopefully they will take me and their Uncle X with them, cause maybe we will still be awesome and cool!