"A child would drown me", "It’s a huge responsibility'', "The world is overpopulated" – women share why they don't want kids

‘No, I don’t want children and that’s okay.’
‘No, I don’t want children and that’s okay.’

I decided I didn’t want to have children when I was 22. Before, I was lead to believe that having kids was something you had to do. I even had names picked out. 

But then I realised that actually, I don’t feel motherly. I am not prepared to get pregnant, give birth and raise children. I do not want to be responsible for another human life. I do not want to be a mother and there is nothing in me that wants to have kids.  

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate kids. I love the little ones I’m related to. I have two gorgeous nephews who are super smart and kind, as well as two beautiful nieces who are lovely, genuine young girls and I am proud of all of them. I’m just glad that after spending a few hours with them, I can go home and be by myself or talk to my boyfriend and not have to worry about school projects or runny noses.  

I would like to be sterilised, but being 28 and not having kids means that I will actually struggle to find a doctor who will do it. But that’s a story for a different day. 

I’ve had people I don’t even know particularly well tell me, “But why? You would be a great mom!” No, random woman in taxi, no I wouldn’t.  

And I am not a unicorn. Other women who feel the same way I do exist.   

Also read: Mind your own womb!

I received an overwhelming response when I asked women on Twitter for their stories. There are many women out there who don’t want children for various reasons and they vary in age, race and class.

Some of them are “extremely single” as one woman puts it, and some of them have been married for years, but they all have one thing in common: they’re sure they don’t need to have babies to feel fulfilled.  

Lungile is a 34-year-old single woman who says when she was 16 she thought she would be married by 25. Then she thought she would have kids and be happily married by 32, but that never happened. Instead she took herself on her first solo trip to New York at 25 and calls herself “a 34-year-old rich aunt who travels the world and is doing amazing!” She says she’s happy that Prince Charming didn’t come around and while many men have come and gone, she is happy with her decision.  

Sally has been married for 15 years and both she and her husband have decided they don’t want children. “We're happy with our existing lifestyle. I'm not a maternal person, have never been broody, and don't have the patience for kids. It's not a subject I bring up because when it does come up, I get judged especially by other women. I don't understand why it's so difficult to respect another person's life choices,” says Sally.  

Deirdre is 37 and has been with her partner for nine years. They decided together that they do not want children. She says she does sometimes wonder if she will regret it, but accepts it as part of the decision she has made.  

Charlene, 32, says the idea of birth and parenting fills her with fear, and she’s also worried about the state of the world and would prefer not to bring children into that. 

Zanie, 28, says she thinks she would make a great mother, but she just doesn’t want them. “I've never wanted them and for one main reason: they are not a priority in the list of stuff I want to achieve in life. Since as long as I can remember it's been about learning as much as I can, having a stimulating and interesting career, and living a full life.”

She stresses that if kids fit into what she wants her life to be, then they are welcome. She is very happy with her husband and her relationship fits perfectly into what she wants for her life, but children just don’t seem to. “Definitely not right now, and very likely never,” she says.  

Also read: Here's why South Africans might be having fewer children

Then there are also these women who sent me tweets about their feelings: 

Also read: "I'm the woman who doesn't want children. And I cringe as I write this..."

We’re happy to be the “cool aunt” to your kid.

We’re happy to see you be happy and have kids and be fulfilled by that decision. But next time a woman says to you she’s not going to have kids, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT tell her she will change her mind eventually, because she’s heard it a million times.

And even if she does, it’s still none of your damn business.  

(Some women asked for their names to be changed). 

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