I chose so many things over having children. My career was one of many!
As we approach the year 2020, women are still being subjected to sexist statements implying their choice to not have children makes them less than real women. Accused of everything from being selfish with their wealth to opting out of motherhood to save their bodies, the overall judgment from other women (in particular) can be quite harsh.
Even if that’s the reasoning that’s lead these women to their decision to not give birth, does that make it fair to expatriate them from the gender community? Do people have the right to judge them on their decision? As we all search for equality, doesn’t this mindset head into the deep pools of discrimination?
In an effort to open up the dialog, we decided to dive in and speak to women over 40 to understand the decision that led them to not give birth, and despite all the judgment from their peers, their truths seem to be the complete opposite of selfishness.
According to Gifford’s Law Center, 100,000 Americans are shot and injured each year. Tapping into their motherly instincts, some shared with us they have concerns about bringing their children into a world that is so violent. Isn’t this a legitimate choice?
Others have concerns about the growing amount of hunger that families face each day. According to Bread for the World, Inc., hunger is mainly caused by poverty in the U.S. and other high-income countries that result from a lack of jobs or because jobs pay too little.
Lastly, women voiced they are scared of the failure. Failure to miss spending time with their child, worries of being a single parent, and concerns that their offspring’s childhood won’t be filled with amazing experiences. Shouldn’t this be considered a valid concern?
Whether their story is relatable or not, Black Ruby spoke with women who shared that they had no regrets when it came to choosing not to have children in hopes that other women respect their decisions.
I am 54-year-old and never wanted children. I had a very happy childhood I just never wanted to be a mom. I love being an aunt and godmother and spending time together with the kids in my life. I get all the benefits of parenthood with none of the drama and baggage.
We have taken our nieces, nephews, and godchildren to Europe. We have hosted a wedding, attended many graduations, and even paid a few tuitions over the years. I have never woken up one day wishing I had a child so I know I made the right decision for me.
My husband and I have been happily married for 27 years and discussed this lifestyle before getting married. I would never have married someone who wanted children, and I am incredibly fortunate to have such a fulfilling life filled with love. I do not think you can compromise on this issue.
After 18 years of owning a global branding and marketing firm and working on Wall Street, I have no regrets.
-Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls
I made the decision to not have children because I never felt the urge to have children. I have concerns about hunger, extreme responsibility, and consumerism.
The choice has never actually affected my love life, and every man I’ve talked to about this decision completely understands why I don’t want to have children. It’s important that they know that if they want to have children with me, they will be the primary caretaker and I would prefer to adopt, which is the only selfless way to have children.
I’ve never felt a void in my decision. My life is so full of clients, friends, family, travel, and FUN! And there are wonderful children everywhere. I am the best Auntie to my best friends’ babies. I believe that you can be a foster parent. You have friends who would DIE for your help. There are shelters and programs that would benefit from your overspilling love and so on.
I can’t imagine being as successful as I am if I had been a mother. That’s just how it is. The more time you put into your friendships, non-child family members, hobbies, yourself — the more you create personal success. Time is the most precious resource. Spend it wisely.
-Vanessa Valiente is San Diego’s #1 Personal Stylist and creator of V-Style
I kept waiting for regret to seep into my psyche. I had been told so many times and in so many ways that one day I would just wake up wondering where my childbearing years had gone and bemoaned the folly of pouring into myself for my entire adult life as if my body did not have a finite window of time in which to have a baby. I am 44-years-old and all I have is gratitude. Contentment. The satisfaction that I was right all along. Turns out I know me better than boyfriends, friends, relatives, and random strangers. I found more value in nourishing myself than in nurturing a child. There is not one moment that passes where I am not grateful I chose my career, travel, expendable income, quiet calm, extended weekend sleepover motherhood.
I am a compassionate Buddha who yearns for every woman to know peace so I hold space for women who did wake up one day immobilized by regret.
-Keturah Kendrick is the author of No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone. She is a world traveler, educator, and speaker who lives in New York City.
I made the decision not to have children because I simply don’t want them. I love simplicity, peace, and quiet — and I do love focusing on my career. My career is so fun! I went from being a physical therapist (PT) to running an online business for rehab professionals that helps them find non-clinical careers in healthcare. There is no way I could have built what I have if I had children. I call my business my baby, and I am 100% serious. It has helped so many people find renewed hope and joy in their careers, and I feel fulfilled and proud of what I’ve built every single day.
The choice definitely affected my love life. I am very open about my childfree status with my romantic prospects. When I first met my husband, I told him I didn’t want children. He stepped back and took about a week to think it over, then came back and said he didn’t think he wanted them, either. We are both 40 and blissfully happy living a childfree life!
The only time I have felt any regret in my decision is when people are outright mean to me — and this happens fairly often. I have had people call me selfish, and they’ve told me I’m making the biggest mistake of my life. They’ve asked me what is wrong with me, and they’ve said I’ll never be a real woman or a real adult since I’m not having kids. These comments sting when they’re coming from friends and family. I feel really happy with my life, and it hurts that they suddenly decree that I must be lonely.
Kids are not the only way to gain meaning, nor is your career. Explore the world. Make interesting friends. Get pets. Volunteer. Take up new hobbies. Spend time with your friends and loved ones. Life is better when you don’t focus on regrets. Focus on the future…on the things you can change!
-Meredith Castin, PT, DPT is the creator of The Non-Clinical PT
Overall, women should support and respect each others decision no matter the choice.
What are your thoughts? We want to know what you think.