I’m fairly open about private life events. Actually, I’m 99% certain that I seriously overshare private life events. With that said, I’ll just get on with all that oversharing business.
I’m 24 and I got a tubal ligation just over a week ago. In case you’re not hip to what that means, I’ll explain: a doctor got all up in my guts, removed a piece from both of my fallopian tubes, and literally burned that bridge so that little man sperms can’t get to my eggs. In other words, I’m sterile – of my own accord. Kind of extreme, right?
I’ve known that kiddos were not for me since I was about 12 or 13. At that age, it was a lot of grown-ups exchanging amused but knowing smiles. “Oh-hoh, you’ll change your mind!” “Well, not now but when you’re grown up and have a husband…” But every year, without fail the answer was the same: “I never want to have kids.” In high school, it turned into a little bit of eye-rolling and the old, “I said the same thing when I was your age but now look at me, I’ve got kids!” And in my 20s, friends and family seemed both bemused and intrigued.
A lot of women (and men!) get a lot of shit for choosing not to have kids. Lucky for me, I’ve carefully avoided maintaining relationships with narrow-minded assholes so most everyone has been happy for me and my stuff getting cut and burned. But, I feel like I should share some of the dumb shit people have said to me over the past 12 years of my life.
1. That’s so selfish!
Is it, though? I feel like I’d actually be a shitty person if I had kids and then proceeded to be horribly selfish. If anything, I feel like I’m making a pretty rational choice by saying, “Hey! I am kind of selfish. Bet I shouldn’t bring a person into the world that I’m supposed to take care of for 18+ years.” Can you even be selfish toward someone/something that doesn’t exist? Like, can I be selfish toward ghosts?
And really, I don’t even see what the problem is in being a little selfish. Everyone is selfish in some capacity, yes?
Sometimes this statement is followed by someone screeching, “What if your parents had been selfish and decided not to have kids? YOU WOULDN’T EVEN EXIST!” And then I have to wonder how this person lives life when everything is based around weird hypotheticals and fallacies.
2. Who will take care of you when you’re old?
Hopefully a trained professional. Even if I did have kids, I feel like the only way I’d think a child of mine would be qualified to take care of me is if they had some kind of medical degree or if they were an RN. I’ve also thought this is a weird thing. Like…if you’re 80-years-old and shitting yourself and you can’t take a shower by yourself and you can’t remember what you ate five minutes ago, is it your offspring that you want to deal with you?
I’d rather pay someone (to be specific, someone who is excellent at their job and hopefully easy on the eyes) to take care of my old rotting body. And I’ll pay them with all that money that won’t go toward toys, clothes, allowance, and school supplies…
3. Something about grandchildren.
I have a lot of issues with this one. I get it – grandchildren are your parents’ chance to just get the fun stuff from a baby that they didn’t get to enjoy fully because they were busy raising you and keeping you alive and hopefully trying to not make you a piece of garbage person. So yeah, I get the appeal.
On the other hand, you ultimately have to do all that. This is the same thing as a four-year-old asking for a dog. That little kid gets all the good stuff from the dog. The cuddling, the playing, the kisses, etc. And you get that too! But…you’re also going to be the one picking up its shit, training it that the carpet is not a suitable place to go to the bathroom, feeding it throughout the day, paying the vet bills, etc. So, do you just get a dog because your four-year-old is really going to enjoy it or do you get it because it’s something you both want and are prepared to deal with?
This is also the point where I usually like to remind them about this concept of “selfishness”. They usually shut their old, denture-filled mouths at that point.
4. Well then, what’s your purpose?
I don’t know, to be a fucking person? What if I was born barren? What if I had a terrible illness that left me unable to have children? I’m not just an incubator. I’m more than my womb. I’m like 1% womb. I mean, I get that I’m capable of having a baby. I’m also capable of shooting myself in the face and surviving but I’m not going to do that just because I can.
5. It’s different when they’re your own! (Sometimes phrased as “That’s what you think now, but when you have your own you’ll change your mind!”)
Well of-fucking-course it is. I’m sterile, not stupid. Of course, there are people who don’t like their kids. But I would very unscientifically say that a lot of people who maybe aren’t kid crazy but have kids end up liking their own kids.
And that logic? Yeah, when I have my own – exactly what I do not want – I’ll change my mind. True. Because I will have given birth so clearly at some point I changed my mind and decided to not have an abortion.
But this is a weird fucking thing to say to someone who does not want to have kids. This isn’t someone who isn’t ready for kids. And this isn’t one of those people who are not like, really into kids but yeah, I guess I kinda want my own someday! This is someone who’s biggest goal in life is to not get pregnant. In my case, I am someone who – without having dealt with an unwanted pregnancy, but in the world of hypotheticals – would get an abortion. And if I was unable to go through with said abortion, I would give that child up for adoption.
In a lot of ways, either of those two things can have a bigger impact on someone’s life than having a kid. They’re traumatic and can be pretty dark options. I feel like I don’t need to link you to any studies about depressing shit in regard to women after abortions. No matter how “morally okay” people think abortions are, no matter how sure they are in their choice, and no matter how guilt-free they feel in getting one, we’re conditioned to believe that we’ve done wrong. You can use words like “terminate” or “end” or “kill” or “murder” and it all boils down to the same idea. Because no one is rushing to get pregnant and then turn around to get an abortion because it’s fun. It’s traumatic shit and I don’t think anyone makes that choice the same way they decide whether they should take the rest of their leftovers from the restaurant home.
And then there’s the whole adoption thing. On one hand, I would know that I was doing a great thing if that child got adopted by a family who really wanted a kid. On the other hand, there are a ton of kids who need to be adopted. Why would I add to that ever-growing number? And what if I turned into one of those ladies who, 10 years later, feels like I’m missing this connection to my child and I track down the adoptive parents through shady means and I watch the family and then I get arrested for stalking and then I single-white female the mom and then I’m dead with a broken neck at the bottom of a staircase having just wanted to know my child and Tracey Gold or Meredith Baxter is cast to play me in a Lifetime Original Movie.
Okay, that escalated, but I think you catch my drift.
I feel like never having to worry about either of those things is preferable. And the point here is that someone is saying “I DON’T WANT KIDS!” not:
1. I don’t think kids are that great.
2. I don’t think I’m ready to have kids.
3. I’m so scared to get pregnant/have kids/etc.
4. I can’t talk to kids. What if I can’t talk to my own kids?!
So telling them “it’s/it’ll be different when you have your own” is like telling someone, “Hey! If that one thing you don’t want to happen happens, just don’t even worry about it! You’re going to love it!”
6. Children are a gift!
You know what’s a gift to me? Sleeping in. Walking around naked. Being drunk whenever. Staying out all night. Taking a trip at a moment’s notice. Laying in bed and watching Battlestar Galactica for 48 hours straight without making contact with another living soul, only getting up to use the bathroom and to grab one of my three containers of ice cream that serve as my only meals for those two days.
You know what’s not a gift to me? Setting up play dates. Accidentally giving a human being a shitty name like “Maddox” or “Skylar”. Being in charge of another person 24/7 for about 18 years. Lactating. Childbirth. Placenta.
I guess I just wanted to share my life event with all of you guys because I don’t think it’s talked about very often – someone, a woman, a young woman not wanting children. And beyond that, someone my age doing something permanent about it. It feels empowering to take hold of my future and know that a baby is never coming out of me.
And I really just want other people who feel like they don’t want kids to not worry about it or think that they’re weird. You’re not weird. Well, you’re not weird about this. But you might be weird about other shit.