I realize that as a trained pediatrician, it is a surprise that I do not want children. Most of my family members and friends think that it is a passing phase or a joke. It ISN’T A PASSING PHASE. I simply do not want children. And after having spent an ENTIRE day with my niece and nephew, I STILL DO NOT WANT CHILDREN.
But wait! “You are a pediatrician and you don’t like children? How is that possible” First of all, not WANTING children DOES NOT MEAN THAT I DO NOT LIKE CHILDREN. I like children, as long as they are not mine. As I do not possess a Y chromosome, I can say with 100% certainty that I do not have any offspring that I am not aware of hiding somewhere without my knowledge.
The simple truth is this. I am too selfish to have children. And I’m also too exhausted to have children. Having children is a sacrifice. A child isn’t a toy that you can return when you are sick of it. Its a human being and even though the law says a child is an adult when they turn 18, your responsibility with them does not end after 18 years. Ask my parents. They are STILL responsible for me even though I’m 36. Heck, my sister is married and they still feel responsible for her!
And children are exhausting. They cry, they run, they fall down. They get into scrapes. They need to be fed constantly. And they want attention. LOTS of attention. There is no “off” switch with children. The minute they are awake, its go-go-go. And sleeping in on weekends? Hah! What weekends? And if you think cleaning up after yourself is hard, wait till you have children! And forget about those nice shopping holidays in Milan or Paris. Or those nice lazy walks by the beach in Miami. Holidays with children aren’t actually holidays anymore. At least, not the kind you remember. And girlfriend time? Wait. You actually have friends?? Now “friend” time are playdates. And time spent at PTA meetings. Children have a mind of their own. And their needs are always above yours.
Gosh. If everyone thought like me, the population would probably die out in a couple of years. So its a good thing that not everyone is me. Its a VERY good thing that there are people in this world who are able to overcome their basic instinct of self-preservation and decide to have children (there are probably a fair number of people who shouldn’t have children because they obviously have not thought this through but still…). Its a very good thing that children are being born into this world every second of the day because I will be out of a job otherwise. All I’m saying is this: not wanting children DOES NOT MAKE ME A BAD PERSON. Maybe a selfish one. But at least I’m aware of my own selfishness and I’m not having a child just because someone says I should. Or worse, having one just for the sake of having one because then I’m fairly certain that poor child isn’t getting the love that he or she deserves. Because a child is a precious thing. And they are human beings with feelings and thoughts and needs. They will do whatever it is that they want to do, regardless of what YOUR hopes and dreams for them are and as a parent, all you can do is pray and hope that everything will be ok. And when it isn’t ok, you hope that you are there to help them pick the pieces up. That’s a lot of work. And it requires a lot of self sacrifice. And if you aren’t up to it (like I am), perhaps the intelligent choice would be to not have children and leave the rearing to others who are willing to make such a choice.