When I called you last week, we talked about children. You could barely contain your excitement – Christine just gave birth and cousin Amelia is pregnant with her fourth baby. You also reminded me that my cousins Helen, Sarah, and Anna all have babies.
Mom, I don’t want to have a baby. You laughed when I told you this. I could hear the smile in your voice when you said “no one wants to have a baby at your age, twenty-one and ripe out of college. Give it a few years, wait till you find the right person and settle down.”
I laughed, but felt like I was choking, and said, “Yeah, maybe.” The conversation didn’t last much longer.
Mom, my mind isn’t going to change in a few years. I am my own “right person”. My opinion matters. I do not want children.
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This isn’t a new feeling, not wanting kids. I remember when I was ten years old sitting in my fifth grade teachers classroom, getting lectured on periods and pregnancy. I learned about the purpose of a uterus and how an egg can get fertilized and planted in the uterine lining. I felt sick. I was uncomfortable with the idea of carrying a living being inside my body.
I know you’re accepting. When I came out to you at eighteen as bisexual, as a freshman in college with my first girlfriend, you were supportive. But you cried. Not because I had a girlfriend, but because you thought I wouldn’t give you grandchildren.
I remember laughing and crying, that you focused on something so arbitrary, when I had just come out to you. All you cared about, though, were the babies. I remember reassuring you, “Mom, I still have a uterus. My girlfriend has a uterus. I can still give you grandchildren.” After that, you were fine.
I am astounded and confused, that I can live in a society that accepts same-sex relationships, but still expects everyone to pop out babies.
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Mom, you never asked me whether or not I want babies. I still have time, I could end up with a cisgender man. That still doesn’t mean I want babies. If anything, I might adopt one day, but that’s way off into the future.
Please hear me out. I know you are amazing with babies. You tell me everyday how you’re helping our neighbor Debbie with her twins, when her husband is at work. You love it. Even when you’re dead on your feet after working all day, you still go over to help her out.
It’s not that I want to choose a career over a child. It’s not that I am afraid to pass along my imperfect genes: depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder. It’s not that you failed me as a mother. It’s really a simple thing: I don’t want babies.
I don’t need to bring life into this world, to feel fulfilled. In fact, I would rather save some of the lives that already are in this world, instead. I can always adopt.
I’m tired of feeling like an outcast, for not wanting to have kids. Living in a pro-natalist society is rough.
I love you Mom. More than anything in the world. I’d do anything for you. But please respect my wishes, please don’t invalidate my feelings.
I don’t want babies. End of story. Please don’t cry. It was never your decision to make, it has always been mine. Please respect that.
I’ll talk to you soon.
Lots of love,
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