I will never have children because I do not want to have them.
When you say that to someone, you’re not likely to be met with understanding or acceptance. You’re likely to be met with concern, confusion, and even anger. You’ll definitely be met with responses such as:
“You’ll change your mind!”
“But you’d make such a great mom!”
“Who will care for you when you’re older?”
“There are women out there who would die to have a baby.”
Those are the nicer comments, the least judgmental ones. Here are some of the callous comments that have come up:
“That’s really selfish.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You’re just immature. You aren’t mature until you have a baby.”
“No man wants a woman who doesn’t want kids, you know.”
“You don’t know real love until you have kids.”
“You must be a really bad person. You’re evil.”
“You’re going to have a terrible life without children.”
Those are direct quotes that have been said to my face. Some were from loved ones and acquaintances, others from medical professionals. Yes, I have legitimately been called “evil” because I do not want to procreate. I made a different choice than most.
Think for a moment about the underlying meanings behind some of those statements. I’ve been called: selfish, infantile, incapable of knowing my own mind and knowing love, worthless, and that I am going to have a terrible life…not to mention how I’m hurting other women who cannot have kids. It seems as if people are more satisfied with insulting me rather than accepting my choices.
The first time I asked to be sterilized, I was seventeen. It didn’t happen because I wasn’t legally an adult yet, which is fair. I didn’t yet have bodily autonomy because I was still technically a child. I didn’t realize at the time I never really would, which is not fair.
I asked again at eighteen. Surely, if I could legally ruin my lungs with cigarettes, I could opt out of motherhood? Nope.
I asked at twenty-one. I could legally buy booze and drown my liver, so a tubal wouldn’t be a big deal, right? Wrong.
I asked at twenty-five. This time, I was given a spark of hope: you can when you’re twenty-seven. Yes! I could wait two years easily.
I went at twenty-seven, eager to get the ball rolling. I was so excited. I could finally get sterilized! Sadly, it didn’t happen. Instead, I was hit with the same excuses, mostly that I’d change my mind or that my possible spouse would want me to bear children for him. I was crushed. I was back to square one.
Fast-forward to now, and as I write this, I’m thirty-six and still capable of having a child. I’ve tried multiple doctors in two states, and nobody will help me. I’m mad as hell about it. For nineteen years, I have been ignored, dismissed, patronized, condescended to, and outright insulted about my choice to be childfree. When I complain about this, I usually get “What did you expect?” kind of response.
I expect to be treated with respect and dignity. I expect not to be invalidated because I do not want children.
It is absolutely absurd that I cannot get sterilized. I understand the reluctance of sterilization in very young women to a degree, but there should be a point of obtaining sterilization when requested. This is my body after all, and I should have the right to use it as I see fit.
In most eyes of society and the medical community, hypothetical scenarios have more say-so in what happens to me than I do. I once came across a Tumblr post that made an excellent point about sterilization. They pointed out you can choose or refuse to donate your organs after death, and this is a universal right we respect. Yet, a living woman seeking sterilization will not get that right or respect for her body and choice.
Thankfully, there are places to turn to for acceptance. Facebook’s The Childfree Choice, for example, is a wonderful group to find men and women of the childfree mindset. I have come across a few people in my offline life who have been supportive, like my parents and siblings.
I’m sharing this story because I know the shame people try to put on childfree women. It hurts. It’s hard to stay strong when the world seems set against you. I’m here to say that if you genuinely do not want to have a baby, don’t. It’s your life. Do you!
Furthermore, it’s important to remember that a woman is a human being with dreams of her own, and the choice to have children should not be excluded from that. We should celebrate our lives, whatever they are and wherever they lead us…even if it’s a diaper-free life.
Written by Alisha Frierson
Alisha, 36, lives in D’Iberville, MS with her two dogs, Zeus and Izzie. She goes rabid for ice cream, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter. Alisha can usually be found in front of her Xbox or at the beach when she’s not nose deep in a book.