There is a commonplace portrayal of a happy and loving family on television and in most media. This is the typical nuclear family of a married couple with a few kids. Unfortunately, people who choose not to have children, especially women, can face judgment, the implication that they’re selfish, or that they would be happier and more fulfilled if they had children.
Love and family exist in many forms, though. Many derive more than enough happiness from being an aunt or an uncle, being a teacher, or not being around children at all and pursuing a vibrant career. It’s okay to not want children. You don’t need to be a parent, and it’s okay to find fulfillment in other areas.
Here are three reasons that not having kids is totally fine and why you should kick those external voices out of your head.
You decide your own narrative
It’s easy to get opinions from outside influences stuck in your head: “I won’t be complete… I’ll be missing out… There’s something wrong with me.” When these thoughts appear, remember, this is just a story you’re telling yourself. What’s more, they may not actually be true. Maybe you’re just finding evidence to support events that are not actually playing out.
We are all in control of our own narratives. If you don’t want kids, you are not incomplete or selfish or any of these things that we tell ourselves. Choosing to not have kids doesn’t have to be associated with anything negative, it can just be a choice.
The people wanting you to have kids will be okay
The human desire to please others runs deep inside us — we’re social creatures, after all — especially when it comes to people we love. While there may be a person in your life that really wants you to have a baby, like a partner, parent, or sibling, making a huge life-altering decision just to make them happy at your own expense just doesn’t make sense. Your loved ones will understand if you decide against children and should want you to lead your life in what you decide is the most fulfilling way possible.
Sometimes emotions can feel like they are going to destroy us, but we always get through in the end. Everything passes. Emotions that may come up about not having children like shame, guilt, regret, pressure, and sadness, may be tough, but you can survive them. They can also teach us valuable things about ourselves and trigger growth.
Remember, only you can decide if you want children in your life. If you’re unsure yet that’s fine, the time will come when you’re ready and it will all work out, whichever way you choose.