How my family conversations around not wanting children opened me up to unwarranted criticism
| by Josée Lalonde |
I still remember the conversation I had with my grandmother that brought her to tears. It was in the evening while we were sitting around the television when the topic of having children in the future was brought up. I told her—I don’t want kids, I have no intention of bringing them to the world.
My grandma started tearing up, “you don’t mean that,” she said.
For many years I have been adamant on not wanting children for the sake of a career. As a politics major, staying busy and rejecting that homebody lifestyle has always been a part of my plan. My career goals have remained as ambitious and time consuming as ever, not proving ideal to raise children in my future. Yet, every time I express my desire to abandon motherhood for the likes of a career and other ambitions, it is often met with criticism.
These criticisms come so naturally from others simply because I am a woman.
If I were a man, not wanting children for the sake of a career wouldn’t be something I’d face criticism on. I should be permitted to desire to forgo motherhood for other goals I have set for myself. It should not matter whether or not I am abandoning my “biological calling” for a life that would fulfill my calling to adventure, humanitarianism, leadership and freedom.
At the end of the day, my body is my own, and I do not want to bring children into a situation where their mother is not capable to provide the love and care they need. I have been raised by a girl boss (or woman boss because calling my mom girl boss seems weird), and I have seen the sacrifices she has made because of my sister and I. I know she loves us, and I know she would not change a thing, but I don’t know if I would be the same.
My mom, an optometrist with her own clinic, has had opportunities to travel for courses and expand her business. Yet, she cannot always jump on those opportunities because of my sister and I. Though my father has stepped up in my nineteen years of life to help relieve my mother of the biological calling thrust upon her to be a dedicated mother at all times, she still sacrifices a lot, and so does he.
I don’t know if I could make the same sacrifices that my parents and others make every day—I don’t want to bring a life into this world unless I know it will be loved and cared in all the ways it should.
So don’t judge me when I tell you I do not want children for the sake of ambitions I carry, for it is not that I hate children, it is that I don’t have the capabilities to fit any into the life I need.
As a woman and person with integrity for my own interests and other human lives, that is a choice I should be able to make without criticism, and though that is unlikely, I am happy knowing I’ll be the “cool aunt” to my sister’s and friends’ children.