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I’m 25 and I don’t want to be a mother

My name is Ali. I’ve always loved being around kids, and I’m really good with them, but I’ve never wanted my own. I’m a kindergarten teacher and I spend my entire day with kids. I like not having to deal with them when I come home from work. I’m totally okay with my child-free choice. I just wish other people could be okay with it too. Whenever someone asks me if I want kids, and I say no, I get the same old responses: “Oh you’ll change your mind later”, or “But you’re so good with kids, it would be a shame not to have your own”, or “You’ll regret it if you don’t”. It’s been rare that people support my choice, but when they have, I’ve been really grateful. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind, but maybe I won’t. I’m 25 now, and who knows what the future will hold. Maybe some maternal instinct will kick into gear when I’m 35 and suddenly I’ll have an urge to procreate. But I wonder why can’t people just accept my decision and recognize that remaining childless is something that’s actually okay for a woman? For people to tell me that I’ll change my mind implies that as a woman motherhood is the only way for me to live a satisfying and productive adult life – which just isn’t true.

The thing is that I completely respect and admire parents out there – it’s a HUGE responsibility, and one that I’d never take on lightly. My mom was an incredible stay-at home parent when we were younger – she was totally devoted to us, ferrying us around the neighbourhood to school and our activities and parties, and was always there to help us with our homework and to listen after we’d had a bad day. In a strange way, it’s because of the awesome upbringing that I had, that I don’t want to become a parent. I know I can’t give that kind of devotion to a child – I just wouldn’t be able to make that kind of sacrifice – and that’s what I think a kid deserves. I think that I can make a positive impact on a lot of kids’ lives through my work, and that’s an important contribution too. Sure it isn’t giving birth to a child, but it’s being part of many children’s development. I’m good at my job, and feel passionate about it, so why would I take on something else (parenthood) that would take me away from it, just because I’m “supposed” to? I think there should be many acceptable roles for women in our society – those that include mother, but also teacher, aunt, friend, and mentor. Who knows, maybe in time the important people in my life will come to accept and respect my decision not to become a mother. In the meantime, I’ll keep putting my energies into educating and supporting the 25 little people in my kindergarten class.

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