Head's up, there could be affiliate links ahead!
Growing up, I always knew that I didn’t want to have kids. But whenever I said this, people would dismiss it and say, “Wait till you grow older. You’ll want to have kids.” Unfortunately, I deferred to the people around me who I thought knew better than I did (<- lesson learned to trust your get).
As a result, I found myself married and assuming that I would want to have kids with my husband. But after a year into our marriage, I was pretty confident that I didn’t want to have kids.
Making Peace with My Decision to be Childfree
My then husband and I tried counseling to figure things out. But this is one of those very binary things in a marriage where you’re either going to have kids or not have kids. There’s not much of a compromise there. So we decided to part ways amicably. I was now in the dating world trying to navigate this new commitment that I had made to myself not to have children.
How I Became Confident in My Decision
I talked to other people about their thoughts on having children. I asked people if they had kids, if they were glad they had kids, and if they could see life without kids being enjoyable. People were very open about sharing their realities. Some people said they wished they hadn’t had kids, or they could see themselves being very happy without kids.
Another thing that would have been helpful was really understanding what my values are. I always knew that freedom and independence were my primary values. I always wanted to be in situations where I had a lot of alternatives, a lot of choices, and not a lot of things holding me down.
I was somebody who needed to experience life in a way that wasn’t typical. I had already started to realize that I’m somebody who needs a lot of novelty. I really enjoy adventure, entrepreneurship and having my time to myself.
How My ADHD Diagnosis Impacted My Decision
When I was in my thirties and making this decision, I didn’t have a diagnosis. However, I did have the lived experience. Intuitively, I knew that in this lifetime, if I was going to have the best chance at life and if I was going to optimize for wellbeing and happiness, then I needed to focus on myself as opposed to bringing other children into the world.
Having kids is a huge responsibility, and while I wasn’t an irresponsible person, I was somebody who had erratic energy from one day to the next and sometimes had a hard time self-regulating. I knew that in this lifetime, I needed to take care of those things as opposed to focusing my energy on another human being.
Childfree Living is Meaningful
Whether you decide to have children or not, the meaning that you create in your life is up to you. All the people in my life that I’ve impacted, whether they’re in my social circle or my family, give me great significance and personal meaning. I didn’t need children to complete me in any way.
Childfree or Not – The Decision is an Important One
I hope sharing my personal story in some way helps somebody out there making the same decision. At the time, it was really hard, but in retrospect, I know that I made the right decision for me. And if at some point down the line you decide that you want to somehow parent, there are so many opportunities in life, from adoption and fostering to volunteering and just helping out the people in your community.