Historically, women have been valued for their ability to produce and raise children. This sexist, gender-normative precedent has deep roots in our culture and still influences how we think about womanhood today. When a woman says she does not want to have children, she is often dismissed or judged. But I refuse to be silenced. That’s right, I don’t want children. And I don’t have to have them, because I am perfectly fulfilled raising my boyfriend.
When I tell people I don’t want children, I always receive the same initial response: “You’re young, you’ll change your mind.” Right off the bat, people feel they have the right to tell me that I will inevitably become helpless to resist the influence of my ticking biological clock. However, what they don’t realize is that I don’t need to care for an infant because I’m already entirely fulfilled caring for an adult man who doesn’t know how to use an oven or flush the toilet.
When I told my mother that I don’t want to have children she replied, “It’s not just about pregnancy or early motherhood. Don’t you want the opportunity to watch your child grow intellectually?” Sorry, but I’m not sure why I would want to help some kid with their math homework when I could help my boyfriend learn how to calculate a 20% tip on a $20 restaurant check.
Besides, what’s the benefit of bringing new life into this overpopulated world? I already share the earth with so many living things: for instance, my boyfriend who got some shampoo in his eyes yesterday that I had to help him clean out. That was very scary for him.
I don’t want to paint a misleading picture. Helping my boyfriend through those hard times is just one tile in the rich mosaic of our relationship. I also help him through easy times like learning how to use a drip coffee maker. He could have googled these directions but instead we got to have a beautiful teaching moment. Although, I guess it makes sense he didn’t use his phone as a guide, because we’re trying to limit screen time.
It’s so beautiful to have the opportunity to see the world through my boyfriend’s eyes. Everything is new and exciting. Whether I’m proofreading emails to his boss, teaching him how to make toast, or explaining why skincare is for people of all genders, it’s an incredible journey to watch a man become a regular, functioning human in the same way that all women are expected to inherently be.
So thanks, but no thanks. I’m not having children and this isn’t just a phase. I am completely fulfilled raising my adult boyfriend. And the excitement never ceases: next week I’m going to teach him to ride a bike!