“Won’t you feel alone when you get older?” they ask.
Jinan Deena’s previous work for Coming of Faith can be found here.
I don’t want kids.
Yup, you heard me. I, an adult woman in this society, do not want to have children. Not just now. Never.
I’ve been through this conversation with so many people. Ever since I was a teenager, marriage and children has always been a difficult subject to discuss. No, I don’t have any physical deformities or health issues, as everyone always assumes. I just personally do not want my own children. Sure, I’m happy to hold your child while you pay for something, or play with them for a few minutes when I visit you. I don’t hate children – I just don’t want any of my own.
Let me tell you why.
I feel that my life is meant for more than having children. And don’t get offended – I don’t mean your life isn’t worth much if you do have kids. However, for myself, I feel that I am meant to do more. I want to change the world, I want to help others. I have such a passion for humanity and changing all that is wrong in this world, and I want to be able to dedicate my time fully to that cause. Having children will force me to choose between the two.
I know I will not be able to balance my work and family. A woman always has to sacrifice part of her career or family life to give focus to one or the other. Maybe you can handle it, but I know that if I’m succeeding in my career, my family life will suffer. Same goes if I focus more on my family – my career will suffer.
Some call me selfish for not wanting kids. I think it’s selfish to have kids that you don’t really want, just so you can please society. And for those who tell me, “What if your future husband wants kids?” Well, it’s quite simple, actually. I won’t marry someone who does not have the same views that I do. The man who will be my partner for life must share the same vision and passion as I do for wanting to help those in need.
If my life turns out the way I hope it does, and I am doing the work I love, I will not feel alone. I will feel fulfilled and accomplished. I will have my sisters’ kids and my friends’ kids to visit. I will have my partner to spend my time with.
It is 100 percent okay for women to not want children. And that does not make us flawed or abnormal. Just because the majority of women in society want kids, it doesn’t mean that those of us who don’t want them are wrong.
You’re living your life the way you want without my interference, so why do you feel you have the right to tell me how to live mine? I don’t go around telling my friends to not have kids. Hey, if that’s what will make you happy, go ahead. I’m doing what will make me happy, too.
We need to stop assuming that all women will be mothers. Not only for those of us who choose not to have kids; but also for the ones who are unable to. It is a very sensitive subject to discuss, and for those who do want kids but cannot have any, talking about why someone does not have kids yet is a sore spot.
So be a little bit more respectful of all women who are childless, whether by choice or not.
–Jinan Deena is a Palestinian American who has used writing as a tool to express herself. Through her writing, she was allowed to create a safe space for expression and dialogue. You can find Jinan on Facebook, Instagram@jdeena and Twitter @j_deena.