How are you you? Well, I hope.
Let me first say this: You are in a safe place, completely judgment-free and full of acceptance.
Have you ever heard of this quote written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry? “If you differs from me, brother, far from hurting me, you are enriching me.”
I believe in it deeply and I’m proud to say that so far, I have lived my life trying to always stay true to it.
That being said, I’m writing this letter for you and all the other people who don’t want children because I want to support your choices and I want you to if not support, at least understand mine.
I’m twenty-eight years old and I want kids. Not now but in the future, when I’m ready for them. Yep, I don’t want only one, I would like to have at least two. I would like to raise siblings.
For several years, from my late teenage years to a little more than a year ago, I was strongly against the idea of having kids. Against myself having kids though. I had no problem with anyone who wanted to have one or a dozen, I never judged anyone for how they chose to live their lives, and which direction they wanted to take it.
However, I always thought that children were exhausting to be around and I also realized that they were quite selfish and could sometimes be terribly cruel, pathetic and needy. It took me a minute to accept that this is normal, in fact it is the very definition of a little kid:
Helpless therefore needy and pathetic. Immature therefore selfish. Spontaneous therefore thoughtless and sometimes cruel.
They are always needy because they in fact need you for everything, and they are selfish because it takes time for them to understand that not everything evolves around them.
They can be cruel but no one is born cruel and since they have learn and copied this behavior from somewhere, they can unlearn it or correct it.
I did not want children because I always doubt that I could raise them correctly. I do not want to be too hard on my kids and have them resent the hell of me nor do I want to be that over-indulging parent raising a little bully.
Moreover, I always thought that it is truly the hardest thing someone can do… trying to raise a decent, kind human being, especially in this day and age, where individualism keeps growing strong while empathy is slowly fading out.
So you might want to ask me: Why did I changed my mind? Why would I want to have kids now?
Years passed and I grew up. I grew a little more confident in myself and the more I aged, the more tender and compassionate my gaze on the world became, because despite its flaws and its faults, this is a good world and ii’s a blessing to be alive. After struggling for years against from a long against depression, I do not forget that. And I’m nothing if not grateful.
I also learn the hard way that no matter what happened in your childhood or in your past, you should never let it define your future.
I truly believe that anyone can better themselves, as long as they really want it and try hard enough.
It does not matter who or what you are, it matters what you do.
A lot of people around me had an intense dislike towards children. I remember a particular moment when I was in college during which I stay silent while my fellow students were talking about how much they hated kids and how they thought it was stupid and selfish to have them. One girl even said that it was irresponsible.
Some arguments were about how they are already to many people on the planet and having kids is just fueling our inevitable slow doom but most of their reasoning was about how much they could not stand children in general.
I remember being startled by the realization that for every reason they gave for not having a child, I could give them a reason for having one.
That is when I realized that I did want children. No question asked.
Over the years, a lot of people have scoffed or patronize me for my opinion, often telling me that I did not really know what I want and that I have no real idea of what it cost to have a child.
Please, let me debate that in several points:
- The financial aspect:
I know that financially, raising a child is certainly not cheap. I’m around families on daily basis and I have witness the struggle that the parents face at the end of the month when bills needs to get paid and the pantry is short of food.
Sometimes you eat less so your child can eat more. You don’t buy him that toy he wanted so much even if you promised to do it but at least tonight, you will eat meat. I know it’s hard.
- The emotional and mental aspect:
I’m well aware that once you have a kid, your life is not really yours anymore.
There is no place for selfishness or self-centered behavior when you are a parent because if you are not here for your child to make sure they get what they need, nobody will do it for you. It’s a huge responsibility, it can easily be overwhelming.
You always worry about their safety, about their piece of mind, about their future. And no, it doesn’t stop once they turn eighteen. I also know that there is a different between raising your child and parenting your child but you don’t get a pause button. It’s a constant job, the hardest one and it takes a true patience, a devotion and an inner strength that not everyone has. And that’s OK; You are the only one who can tell if you’re up to the task or not and no one should judge you if you are not.
- The social aspect:
It’s obvious that having children put a bit of a damper on your social life.
Your childless friends won’t always appreciate when you show up with your kid for dinner or for lunch and some of them won’t be polite about it. You can’t go out like you did before especially if you are a woman who is still breastfeeding.
The necessary me-times get fewer and fewer during the years. You can’t enjoy life with your partner as well as you used to. You may even feel like your home is slowly becoming your prison since it’s been a while since you’ve been outside.
Of course when you do have the chance to go outside with your toddler, you are dreading the inevitable tantrums, the screams, the tears or the moment of inattention where your kid might escape from you and it almost feels like it’s not worth getting out at all.
I get it. I’m not looking forward to it but I get it.
I’m stopping at those three points, but there is a lot more.
As you can see, I do have an idea of what it takes and what it cost to have a child: everything.
And I’m OK with that. I also respect and support everyone who is not built for that.
Even if I wanted to have kids because I was so-called “conditioned” by the society to reproduce, it’s still my choice, isn’t it?
Everyone does what make them happy. That is the fundamental human thing to do, make our days, and our lives a little more bearable, so if having children later on in life will fulfill my needs then I will do it.
What I don’t need is your scolding and your contempt. I do not need your pity or your disappointment because I “follow the crowd” or I’m “sacrificing my career to play house”
I also don’t need your blessing but I would like your support.
For my part, I will always support your choices to remain childless. I don’t think it makes you selfish or smarter or more “woke” or whatever. I think it makes you happy because this is what you want. The same way it makes me happy to have them.
I don’t think you are ruining your life or missing out if you don’t have kids, the same way I won’t ever stop trying to become my best-self and achieve my dreams even when I have them.
I stand by you against anyone who is bullying you or shaming you for your choice.
I can only hope that you will find enrichment in our differences and stand by me too.
- Featured Image Header: Credit and Source: “Color doesn’t matter” by Christian Lechtenfeld