I admit it — I don’t like children and I particularly dislike babies. From the moment I knew being a mother was possible, I knew it would never be a possibility for me. I have been reluctant to stand up and tell the world how I feel because I realize that for most people, a woman who doesnt want children is an oddity. But actually, there are a LOT of us hiding in the shadows. I do have a nurturing aspect to my personality, but mostly it is reserved for my cats, other people’s pets, and occasionally other people’s kids (as long as they are over the age of 10, are somewhat socialized, and respond postively when an adult says “No” and “shush!”).
So I’m coming clean and telling – I’m child-free by choice, I really don’t like to be around children, and I’m no longer guilty about it.
I have always known my own heart on this one. I didn’t play with dolls, other than to dress my Barbie and envision her with or without Ken in a child-free relationship. In my teens and twenties, when I would tell people that I knew I didn’t want children, the “adults” would tell me that I was just a “late bloomer” and that I would change my mind when I met someone and fell in love. Actually, I met lots of people and fell in love lots of times, but while I could envision writing “Mrs. his-name” on my greeting cards, I could never envision having a baby with any of my swains. I’d cringe when a friend with a baby would ask:” Would you just hold her while I …make the coffee…pay for the groceries…load the car trunk, etc.” I hated the feeling of that squirming kid in my arms, or the feel of sticky, little hands grabbing mine.
Most of my friends are single, but the ones that did have children see a lot less of me now. My sister-in-law just adopted a baby after wishing & hoping for this “miracle” for some time. Alas, when someone in the family has a baby, there is nowhere to hide. The baby about five weeks old. EVERYONE is cooing, oohing and ahh-ing over this tiny bundle of blubbery, rubbery flesh topped with some tufts of hair and lots of drool, and I am thinking that it pretty ugly, very much like any other baby.
But the moment of truth came when my husband and I went to visit (we had to) and the new “Mom” asked if I wanted to hold the baby. Well, I guess I should have been flattered but no, I didn’t want to hold it. I realized that if didn’t take a stand right then and there, I would be subjected to more interaction than I could ever feel comfortable with. I decided to tell her the truth, that I was happy for HER, but that I really didn’t like babies or children.
But you know what? I have been feeling guilty and ashamed my entire life because I felt that I needed to hide my feelings. Being around kids, like bungee jumping, is something I really have no intention of doing, especially since my husband and I are going to be subjected to family dinners with noise and mess from now on (guess I’ll be putting away my china and crystal for several decades when they visit, if they must). We will be shelling out tons of money for gifts, probably expensive toys. We are already getting invitations to kiddie parties, complete with Barney songs and cups of juice (I think I am going to have to start toting around a hip flask to add something more “adult” to those cups!).
I’m not bitter, crazy or angry, If you want kids, have them, just keep them away from me and respect that I’m just child free, by choice.