Birth rates across Western countries are dropping significantly, often due to people choosing to live childfree lives. Sex education, economic growth, women’s rights, reproductive rights, freedom of choice — all these aspects contribute to a new generation of people living for themselves and pursuing different goals than parenthood.
I’ve never wanted kids. Since the moment I hit puberty, I knew it’s not my goal or a dream. When I got older and started dating, I brought this attitude along, and although a lot of those relationships were trivial and not worth planning future together, I’ve always been open about my views on motherhood.
When asked about future plans, most of the guys I’ve dated said that they’ve never given it a thought. While I was thinking about it since the time my body was ready to bear a child. I got even more curious when guys in their mid-twenties continued with the same note. Although some of them said things like:
“Yeah, it would be cool to have a kid”
“I could play basketball with the kid”
“Wouldn’t you want a kid to have around?”
And then it hit me: I’ve never thought of a kid as someone to play and have fun with. Times when I’ve imagined myself being a mom, I thought about all the housework, sleepless nights, a sacrificed career, and my body torn apart. And I began to wonder why it’s so easy for a man not to overthink such a crucial life decision and why, on the other hand, for a woman, it becomes part of her existence.
Rising Numbers of Childfree Women
If you’re a childfree woman, you most likely have seen hundreds of disappointed faces when you say you don’t want kids. You also hear neverending comments on how you will realize that it’s wrong and that you will regret for the rest of your life for not having kids.
However, people don’t realize that it’s not an overnight decision. You probably questioned yourself million times whether it’s the right thing to do. And of course, no one cares about the same million reasons why someone wouldn’t want to have a child. I know this decision affects many men, too, but I want to go more in-depth with the reasons why women decide not to procreate.
Women don’t want to sacrifice their jobs
You don’t have to be a career-driven maniac to appreciate and love your job. And you don’t need to be the CEO of an international law firm to choose career over motherhood. Recently, many women opened about their experiences and rejection at work because of their pregnancies. Yes, many employers still discriminate against pregnant women.
And it’s not only that, if you love your job, you have to understand that after giving birth, your focus will shift completely. At the same time, mothers face the “motherhood penalty,” which is one of the main reasons for the gender pay gap. Women’s income drops as drastically as 30% after giving birth, and most of the time, it doesn’t catch up with male counterparts.
On the other hand, men who have children statistically earn more than childfree men, as they are seen as more responsible and stable.
And for many people, their career is their passion and hobby, and they don’t want to make it less of a priority, which often happens when you have children.
Women don’t want to sacrifice their freedom
About a year ago, a study came out stating that the happiest women are those who don’t get married and stay childfree. These new findings shattered the long-lived idea that a woman is only happy when she has someone but her to take care of. On the contrary, men who are married and have kids are more satisfied and healthier than their single fellas.
Again, all these findings come to the same point — in the majority of heterosexual marriages, women do most of the housework and carry the cognitive workload. It takes attention away from herself and her passions like work and hobbies. While for a man, it gives more stability and a healthier lifestyle.
If a woman chooses to keep her job and at the same time, have a family, she usually takes on the second work shift. Women do 17 hours a week of unpaid housework, while their husbands share only 6 hours. If you work from 9 to 5, commute from work, and then have to cook and clean, it’s challenging to maintain a healthy social and personal life.
They just don’t want kids
This one is my favorite one, because if you genuinely want kids, then you will find a million reasons to have them. But when you don’t feel like it, then you can find a million “why’s” not to have kids. And as a childfree woman myself, I often try to explain why I don’t want to have kids, and it’s just because motherhood is a choice, and I choose to pursue a different life path.
Yet what matters the most that despite your reasons, you shouldn’t be responsible for convincing judgemental people of your “why’s.”
Although I wanted to share the main points of why women might not want to procreate, it’s important to understand that there are many childfree men, too. Their reasons might be different, but the struggle is similar — peer pressure, societal rules, and the pressure for a man to leave his legacy.
However, my point here is that when you’re a woman, childbearing is a neverending decision, whether you decide to be a mom or stay childfree. You will have to sacrifice a lot — face more significant pay gap, do more housework, be judged by people while your partner’s life might not change that significantly.
Now when I think about it, I wish I would’ve asked my ex when he said that it would be nice to have someone to play with and that I’m making a mistake for not wanting more — whether he would be the one staying at home and taking most of the childcare and house chores. I didn’t, but I’m almost sure he would just mutter something under his breath.
Originally posted on Medium: https://medium.com/@eglrakauskait_32617/reasons-why-women-choose-not-to-have-kids-b3b91348fc76