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Brittany’s Story: How I made a deliberate choice not to have children

Brittany BrolleyThere are some who think that because having children is often a deliberate choice that not having children must be a passive decision. With IVF rates soaring year after year, we know women will go through great lengths to become mothers. It would only make sense that a lack of action would be responsible for childlessness. It wasn’t until I made the deliberate decision to remain childfree that I realized the amount of effort that was required.

My husband and I have been married for eight years but I have only considered myself to be childfree for less than two of those years. I spent an exorbitant amount of time weighing the pros and cons of motherhood throughout our marriage. Even when doing so, I didn’t think I would never have kids. I started to tell myself it was just an issue with timing, that I wasn’t ready yet, that I would simply know when it was right. I was confident that eventually something would click.

When a friend and co-worker of mine became pregnant, she was so eager for me to share in the excitement, and that is just what I did. I looked up baby names and speculated the sex of the child. I perused the baby aisles of Target and oohed and ahhed at the tiny soft soled sneakers.

One Friday night, after a particularly stressful week of work and after many enthusiastic conservations with my pregnant friend, I sat down on the couch beside my husband and rather matter of factly stated, “I want to have a baby in a year.” It was at that moment, when the words left my mouth and I heard them echo back to me, that something did click. I didn’t want to have children. Strangely enough, it took me saying that I did to realize that I, in fact, didn’t.

I was soon overcome with a swell of emotions that ultimately sent me to our bedroom in tears. It was on that night that I mourned for the child I would never have. I knew sharing this decision with others was inevitable. We could buy some time, of course, but just as an expecting mother announces her pregnancy as it becomes noticeable, our lack of children would also become apparent. A response would eventually be required.

What I couldn’t have prepared for when sharing this news with others was the short and simple question that most often followed, “Why?”

My decision not to have children is not only deeply personal but, at times, confusing and convoluted. To explain my “why”, to put it all into words, was nearly impossible. Explaining it to an acquaintance/coworker/neighbor was hard to imagine.

Over time, I realized I owed no one an explanation. After all, I reasoned, if I approached a pregnant woman and began asking her why she was having a baby, I wouldn’t really expect her to give me a real response, would I? I should be held to a similar, if not equal, standard.

When I chose to be childfree once and for all, I felt relieved. I had finally made this big decision and now it was all behind me. My husband and I were on the same page and we could begin getting on with our newfound life. Or so this is what I thought.

The thing about being childfree by choice is that it’s a decision that must constantly be remade, reaffirmed. Sometimes, I could brush off tactless questions from inquiring minds. Other times, they rattled me. They even caused me to doubt myself occasionally.

Then I heard this piece of advice. It was originally meant for those struggling with weight loss but I applied it to my situation: Stop telling people you can’t have unhealthy food and instead tell them you don’t want unhealthy food. This takes you out of the position of being powerless and into a position of control.

Each time I was able to tell someone “I’m not having children,” I did feel in control. I was also able to reaffirm my own decision. It was cathartic in a way. The looks of confusion eventually made my resolve firmer and my willpower greater.

I didn’t need anyone to understand as long as I understood. As long as my husband understood. As long as the only people it actually concerned understood.

What everyone must remember is that having children is a personal decision. A decision, in my case, that was deliberate. A decision that may or may not have come easy. A decision that may have been made after all other options had been exhausted. A decision that need not be understood to be respected.

Brittany Brolley is the founder of: www.therinkydinklife.com

Would you like to share your story? Send it to: nina@nonparents.com

Comments

  1. Hi Brittany,
    Thanks for sharing your story and for inspiring others to be true to themselves. Unfortunately, the pressure to conform is so great that, to live a life that is true to one’s core being takes immense courage. I hope anyone still debating whether or not to have children will be emboldened to make the right decision for themselves after reading your story and that of others. Wishing you and your loved ones, the very best for the New Year and beyond.

    • therinkydinklife says:

      Nina,

      Thank you for publishing my story and for sharing your kind words. You have been a great source of inspiration for me in my personal childfree journey and I’m grateful to be featured on your site!

  2. You are most welcome Brittany. I am glad that the website and the message that it promotes has been helpful to you. Once again, thanks for sharing your story.

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