By Heather Sadusky
CHICAGO (CBS) — I’m a Millennial who does not want kids. Every time the topic comes up, people are shocked by my lack of interest. Family and peers are astonished that I don’t want what life is supposedly all about. While my decision may seem unique, it’s more common than ever among Millennials, especially those with college degrees. In fact, countries with higher rates of education and salary have lower, sometimes even negative, birth rates.
People are surprised to meet a young woman with no desire to be a mother. After all, a female’s evolutionary purpose not too long ago was to bear children. Many believe women’s emotional wiring is all the same, strongly bound by a desire to procreate. But I have my reasons.
Kids are expensive. Like hundreds of thousands of dollars expensive. I think $40 for a concert ticket is a huge commitment. Potential parents should ask themselves: can you support a child? Can you provide food, clothes, housing, an education, transportation, and so on? For each grocery store visit, add one more person. Same if you want to fly home for the holidays or take a summer vacation. It’s a huge financial responsibility that I don’t want to worry about.
While this may sound selfish, I have too much to do in life to have kids. I have places I want to see, numerous unknown locations to live in, global jobs to experience, and spectacular adventures in store for me. I plan to sail around the Caribbean, backpack New Zealand, live in Spain, and attend grad school. A child requires at least 18 of years of a mom’s life, more like 22 here in the U.S. I don’t have time for that. I can’t imagine having a dog, let alone a child.
Another part of my decision to be child-free are the obvious annoyances children create. I like hanging with my little cousins at the beach for a few hours. I enjoy teaching my baby godson how to swim. I even had fun taking care of kids at a nature center. But do I want to take them home, make them dinner, entertain them, and care for them 24 hours out of each day? No.
Most kids have yet to learn important life lessons. They are strange little humans who have no concept of society. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but it also means they often behave in ways that make you want to call them jerks. Not because they are jerks, but they just don’t know. It’s a parent’s job to teach them. For that I wish you much luck.
One more selfish concern: I like my body. I don’t want it to be stretched and kicked and bitten by a baby. I know plenty of women who have children and look incredible—better than ever before—but that’s hard work. I’m lazy. I’m a Millennial after all. As women, we already spend too much time worrying about our physical appearance and struggle to be happy with ourselves. I don’t want to make that struggle even more complicated.
On a similar note, giving birth sounds flat out horrible. That’s all I have to say about that.
Though becoming a mother may be the most natural act in the world for some, I feel strange about adding more people to the planet. Reproducing is no longer necessary for our population. Instead, it’s a joy. But there are over 7 billion people on earth and its capacity is already strained. Resource issues persist and I feel wrong compounding them.
Finally, I’m eschewing motherhood because I know I am not qualified to bring another human into this world. I have no idea how to raise a child and see to it that he or she becomes a positive addition to society. There’s no test. It’s not a driver’s license. Anyone can do it, technically. But I don’t feel at all qualified to be entrusted with a tiny, helpless person.
Now I have to address the inevitable response: “You will someday.” Someday, when I find the right partner, when I have everything I could want or need, when I’ve reached my goals, I will want children. There will be a point when I realize there is more to life than work, adventure and fun. I admit that’s a possibility. I don’t know what my life will be like in five, ten or twenty years, so how can I even imagine children as a part of it?
Despite the logic behind one’s decision to not become a mother, a person’s innate instinct reigns supreme. Either we have the urge or we don’t. Currently, I am lacking that ingrained baby desire that drives women to procreate. But it will be interesting to see if nature, evolution, desire or even a persistent partner wins out in the end.