OPINION | 'I don’t want kids, so what?'

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Illustration photo by Getty Images
Illustration photo by Getty Images
  • What happens if you decide to opt out of motherhood? Kimberly Nissen, who is in her late twenties, says her choice is often met with criticism and judgement.
  • When people find out she doesn't want to have kids, the most common reaction she gets is, "You say that now, but you'll change your mind when you mature a bit more."
  • Though she knows the reaction is not intended to upset her, she finds it condescending.
  • Here is her story.

I don't think you should have kids unless you really want them. And I don't. For me, it's an intelligent decision.

My parents had a baby-goods business so I grew up surrounded by expectant parents and lots of baby things, but the idea of having my own kids never appealed to me. I was never interested in baby dolls or playing mummy, but I was happy dressing up Barbie in awesome clothes.

I changed my mind every week about what I wanted to be when I grew up - everything from a magazine editor to an actress to the head of a massive financial corporation. It changed a lot but the idea of entrepreneurship always appealed to me. I wanted to be powerful and wealthy!

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Whenever I was naughty as a kid my parents would say, "I hope you have a child like you one day."

My comeback would always be, "I'm not having children", so I don't think it was any great surprise to them when, as an adult, I told them I won't be having their grandkids and they should try my older brother.

He is now 30 and while he doesn't have kids yet, he wants them in the future. People assume that I must hate kids, but I love the idea of being an aunty. I just don't want kids of my own.

I get asked whether I had a rough childhood or if there was something that happened to me as a kid, and if that is why I don't want to be a mum. But I came from a good home with two loving parents who were married for 30 years.

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My decision has nothing to do with how I was raised - there are lots of other reasons why I don't want kids. First, I know myself and the fact that I can be a bit selfish. I like to put myself first and be able to treat myself to the things I want. I like knowing that I can spend my money however I like.

If I had a child, I don't doubt that I would put their needs first, but that's not really what I want for myself. I have a successful beauty blog (theplasticdiaries.com) and I want to build my business and have the freedom to travel whenever I want. I'm also hoping to one day open a centre for the rehabilitation of abused animals, which will take up a lot of time and money. Having kids would change all this.

The fact that I don't want children has never been an issue when it comes to relationships because I'm still young. I'm single at the moment but if I meet someone who I want to spend the rest of my life with, then my stance on children will have to be something they accept and understand.

I've had people tell me that the right guy would change my mind about kids but I figure if the situation was reversed and I really wanted a child and was with someone who didn't, would I give up on kids? The right person for me won't want kids either.

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I think a lot of people enter into parenthood too lightly. I see lots of mothers who can't discipline or control their kids. Parents would say I don't understand how hard it is to raise children but I do - that's why I don't want to have them!

I think you should only have kids if you fully understand what you're getting into and can afford them. As a person who has decided not to have kids, it does annoy me that my tax dollars go towards things like the baby bonus. I know people who have gone out and bought a TV with that money; it's never gone to their baby.

I know quite a few older women who desperately want children and either haven't met partners yet or are having trouble conceiving. Some of them have told me that I'm selfish and am taking my ability to have a baby for granted. I don't know why they can't understand that my decision has nothing to do with them.

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There are many societal and cultural pressures on women to have children. I'm Jewish and often in my culture it's not just expected you will have one child, but that you will have many children. We also hear so much from the feminist movement about women being able to have it all.

There's a lot of pressure on women to say, "Yes, I can do everything" and "Look at me, I have four children and a full-time job", but if that's not what you want then you shouldn't have to do it. I think there are double standards, too - men who make the same choice not to have children don't seem to be judged as much.

I'm sure there must be lots of women like me out there who don't want kids and have been pressured or bullied about their decision, but they should be free to live their life without judgement.

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