Why I am Child Free By Choice

Uncle Curt and Aunt Ann with our niece and nephews during a visit a few years ago.

I think being a mom is the most important job in the world. The second most important job is being president of the United States.

I don’t want to be either.

This post is about why I, along with my husband, have chosen to be Child Free By Choice. It is not a reflection on or judgment  on anyone else. This is about ME.

I don’t ever remember having an overwhelming desire to have a baby.

At some point in my 20s I decided if I was still single at 30 I would adopt a baby.

By the time I was 30 I was married. When Curt and I got married I figured we would have kids. Because that is what you do, right? Get married … have kids …

A little more than a year after we were married we moved to the Bay Area. We were no longer in newspapers, which meant we were no longer working nights, weekends, holidays. We had the same days off and could actually do stuff together. What an amazing concept.

About six months after moving to Berkeley my temporary gig became a full-time job and money was starting to be less of a struggle. We got into a fun and comfortable lifestyle.

In the summer of 2006 Curt and I went to the World Cup in Germany. That was my first trip to Europe. We visited parts of Germany, Amsterdam and Paris. I slept terribly but got the travel bug, which is still in me, as is, unfortunately the bad sleep.

I have encountered some interesting responses to my choice. I have been told that I am selfish. I find this hilarious. So it is less selfish for me to have a baby when I really don’t want one? Hmmm. This is not meant as a slight at all–but aren’t most of the reasons people have babies for selfish reasons? (Which I have absolutely no issues with.)

I have had people tell me: You will change your mind. I am almost 38 and so far no baby urges. I know I could change my mind and I don’t need anyone else telling me that. And if I do change my mind and it is “too late” because of my age I can always adopt. There are so many unwanted children needing someone to love them.

I have been told I will regret my choice. I could. But that will be something I have to deal with. And really, I can always adopt.

Another response I heard in regards to my choice is … But you love kids. … You are so good with kids. Yes, I am a kid magnet. I’m not sure what it is, but kids love me. But just because I love being around kids or am pretty awesome with them doesn’t mean I want any of my own.

I love being an Auntie. I really do. I feel like I was born to be an aunt–to my niece and two nephews and to the many kids I am an an Auntie By Choice (ABC) to.

My favorite response: Who is gonna take care of you when you get old and sick? Really? (That doesn’t sound selfish, does it?) And we all know that there is no guarantee your kids are going to take care of you when you are old. Or all of those kids I am such an awesome Auntie to will take care of me, right? 🙂

I have an amazing doctor who is supportive of my decision and doesn’t pressure me to change my mind. But she has reminded me that because of my age if I want a baby I need to do it now. My awesome doctor and I talk about travel and the amazing places we get to see and visit.

Curt and I love to travel. Before I knew Curt he worked for a company that had him traveling all over the US and Europe. He has already seen so many places. But there are some he wants to see again (with me) and other places he hasn’t see yet as well. I want to see the world.

We are going to Mexico City next month, which I am excited to see and get to know the area where my great-grandmother grew up.

Last month I was able to drop pretty much everything and head to Tucson for my 90-year-old grandpa’s unexpected surgery and recovery. My main issue was work, which was doable with a supportive team and technology.

I lost my furbaby at the beginning of December. I am still heartbroken by the loss of Joey, one of the most beautiful and coolest cats anyone could meet. We were together for 17 1/2 years.

At some point Curt and I would like to get a dog. We see dogs in the neighborhood and our hearts melt. And the first thought for me is, I want. I think babies are cute, but I don’t have quite the same reaction.

Because Curt and I don’t have to buy diapers or save for college we are able to give a lot to charities. As human beings who are fortunate enough to be fairly comfortable it is our duty to help others.

Some of the charities we support are food banks, Planned Parenthood, alma maters, Pajama Program, public TV, Heifer International, shelters, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, a local organization called Brighter Beginnings, which helps children, moms, dads and families.

If we had kids we wouldn’t be able to help others as much. We just wouldn’t be able to afford it.

My mom would be the most amazing grandma. I think my dad would be a pretty great grandpa, too. And Curt’s parents are already awesome grandparents to our niece and two nephews. But I can’t have a baby just because my mom would be Super Grandma.

My heart aches for those who want a baby and can’t have one. It’s just not fair.

Plain and simple: I don’t want kids. I like my life just the way it is.

Curt and I were a family of three when we had our furbaby, Joey. And now we are a family of two. And we are happy.

I wish and hope everyone who made the choice to have kids gave it as much thought as I do to not have them. My choice comes up daily in my life. And I don’t take it lightly at all.

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6 Comments

  1. everytime i tell someone i don’t want children i feel like i’m almost “coming out of the closet” and have to mentally prepare myself for all the same questions and comments that i know i will get. the one comment that i dislike the most is being told that i am selfish. i find it strange that when people say they want kids they are never questioned on why. i guess because having kids is just what people do and what society expects that it is considered “normal”. kind of like women dropping their last names and taking their husband’s, which i don’t believe in either.

  2. Hi Ann, great post. I also never had a strong urge to have a child, and I don’t think most babies are particularly cute (toddlers, on the other hand, are adorable). And I agree, you’re a kid magnet; I think kids and babies recognize and are attracted to authenticity….hence they love you! You know the rest of the story for me…we (fairly apathetically) went w/o birth control and a couple of years later, Emi showed up! The joy of our lives, but I can also very much understand the decision not to have kids. –Nicole

  3. The Maamm Tirado

    Ann,
    I love the way you write! You have a great way of weaving a thought into a great story. 🙂

    I loved this article that you wrote. To be as young as you are and to know what you want is a wonderful tool for you in your life. I like that you realize that you have the option to change and make choices about your life at ALL times in your life. It’s a gift.

    I see that you plan on going to Mexico soon. I have great restaurants that you should try. I’m not sure what your plans are but here are a few suggestions: Hacienda de los Morales, they have great margaritas, ask for them with the Don Julio tequilla, the food is a bit pricey but so worth it and the location is a beautiful old hacienda. Another place that is delicious and not as expensive as Hacienda is a place called Charco de las Ranas, it’s a taqueria that has the BEST tacos ever! They have delicious fish tacos there too but their taco de pastor was fabulous. Their salsas are delicious too as is their specialty if I remember correctly was a fried cheese, called chicharron de queso, yummy!! 🙂 It’s been a long time since we lived there but while we were there we definitely sought out the good food!! Hope this helps. 🙂 Safe and happy travels.

  4. Wow, I am overwhelmed at the positive comments and responses I have received on this post. I have to admit I was a little nervous to write this. But I felt it was important, especially because it is such a big part of my life. Almost everyone who responded was a mom and they all were supportive and gave me kudos for know what I want. And Alicia, my fellow Child Free By Choice friend, well, of course, I knew you would be supportive.
    I am overwhelmed by the support and love I received in my honesty.
    Thanks to everyone who commented, whether e-mail, in GFG! comments or via Facebook. I truly cherish all of you and all of your comments.
    And Mama Tirado–thanks for the Mexico City info. We are so looking forward to our trip. The best part of travel is the food and booze! We can’t wait.

  5. Bridgette Burns

    Hi Ann,

    Sorry I’m a little late but I really enjoyed this post too! I couldn’t agree with you more… I wish more people who have kids put the amount of thoughtful consideration and planning into having children as you have put into your decision not to have children.

    So many times people don’t actually “decide to have children” so much as, they fail to consider if or when they even want them, how they would raise them if they did, or whether or not they have a partner they’d want to be the mother/father of their child. They just have sex, find out they’ve “made a baby” and wing it from there.

    Raising a child is too important to go about it like that. People put more consideration into buying a new car, deciding where to live, go for a vacation or what job offer they should accept.

    When people talk about why they want kids, they give selfish reasons all the time… “I want someone to love”
    “I want someone to love me”
    “I need someone to take care of me when I’m old”
    “I want to someone to carry on my name”

    So it really bugs me too when people say those who don’t want children are “selfish”. How dare they?!?! Whether to have children or not, is a personal choice.

    When I was around 10, I thought I wanted to have a kid when I was 20. I thought it would be cool to be a young mom. Plus, at age 10… 20 sounded old enough. When I got to be 20, I was in college and knew there was no way in the world it was time to have a kid.

    Like you, when I was younger I always figured I’d eventually get married and have kids. Although I don’t think that was based on a deep desire to be a mom… I think I just figured that’s what I was “supposed” to do.

    I always knew that if I were going to be a mom, I’d want to have a husband to help me raise my child(ren) though. Not that I have anything against those who are single parents. I just know that raising children is a lot of work and I never wanted to be a mom so bad that I was willing to intentionally do it on my own, such as through adoption, sperm donor, etc.

    So now that I’m 38, not married (and no bf), I don’t have children… and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m also realistic; even if I were to meet my husband today, had a whirlwind romance and was on the fast track… the soonest I’d be married would be in a year. And again, that’d be fast-tracking it! By then I would be 39 and wouldn’t want to have a child immediately anyway. I’d want to enjoy time with my husband for at least a couple years, make sure my marriage was stable, etc. before having a baby. By then I’d be 41/42 and at that age, could have trouble conceiving anyway, but even if I didn’t and got pregnant right away, I’d be close to 43 by the time I gave birth. Knowing that at that age, the chances of having a child with birth defects is much higher, plus the fact that I’d be 50-years old when I should be playing with my kid or that I’d be at retirement age when my kid was graduating from high school… does not appeal to me.

    So I suppose initially I was child free by circumstance but now I’m child free by choice as well. Oh yeah, I’ll share one last thing… one of my employees (who has 9 children!) once said that I “needed” to have kids. I said, “No I don’t Martha… because you already had enough for both of us.” LoL ☺

  6. One of my favorite phrases is “Your children are not a retirement plan.” It’s the responsibility of every adult to figure out their plan for old age, and to follow through.

    (I say this as the mom of an only child. In fact, I think we have to be extra-careful not to be a burden on her because it’s not like she’ll have siblings to share any of the Mom & Dad Are Aging madness.)

    There is no one perfect choice or template for making a family. I think your family is perfect just as it is!

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