To my younger self,
One of the biggest decisions you made that impacted your life was the choice to not have children.
Remember when you first started telling people in your life that you didn’t want kids? You got the usual reactions that all child-free people get.
Remember all your parents’ friends telling you that you would change your mind when you got older? Remember the boyfriends who thought you weren’t actually serious, as didn’t all girls want to be mothers? Remember total strangers telling you that you were too young to know what you wanted?
And it made you so angry that they thought they knew what was best for you – even though they were projecting what was best for them.
But you dealt with it in true Tanya form. You stayed true to what was right for you.
Over the years you have been asked if you have had regrets or struggled with the decision to remain child-free. The answer is definitely no.
What helped you?
Looking at the lives of my friends with children and seeing what they had to deal with daily has been a big shot of reality. School pick-ups, ferrying children to innumerable after-school activities, sacrificing time for yourself and your needs, reduced income for your personal wants, rare domestic holidays, and always putting yourself last…. you clearly saw it was not the life you wanted.
It was very sobering and reinforced many times over why you’ve made the right decision for you. Comparing your life to others proved to you many times over that you preferred your choice to theirs.
Over the years, you have re-evaluated and checked in with your husband – he also loves the child-free lifestyle and is not prepared to give up his time to ferry kids to footy training.
And of course, you still get to spend time with kids on your terms. Being a rock star aunty meant you could still have children in your life without the commitment. This gave you the best of both worlds. People often forget that by being child-free, it doesn’t mean you cannot have time with kids in the way you would like to.
For you, remaining child-free has not been a struggle. Every day you remember why you made this decision for you and what you wanted your life to look like. You have designed your ideal life and you love it. You are living by your values.
As you get older and the questions change around being child-free, the issue of regret is often raised. You can regret anything in life but the choice to have a child is one you can never change. Unlike returning shoes or retraining in your career, a child is for life (not just until they are 18).
I am so glad you stayed true to what you wanted and didn’t give in to pressure from family, society, or the expectations of others that you should want to be a mother.
You are passionate in your advocacy that having a child, like everything in life, is about choice. You wish parents, friends, co-workers, society, and governments acknowledged this so we can change the dialogue in society from judgement and criticism to support and acceptance.
Remember, life is too short to live by someone else’s rules and you certainly have not done that.
You have made a choice that is right for you, and you should trust in that decision.