Have you ever told someone that you never want to be pregnant? If you haven’t, give it a try and see just how strongly some people react. You’ll be hard pressed to get a “that’s cool” or “thank you for sharing” and call it a day. People will tell you that you just don’t understand how incredible it feels to be pregnant. Or that you’ll change your mind. Or even that you’re being selfish to your partner and letting them down.
I’ve been pretty open about my stance on not wanting to physically have a baby. About never wanting to give birth or breast feed or wear maternity clothes or anything else that comes along with pregnancy. And as a result, I’ve gotten all of the above reactions and then some.
I’ve always known that if I did have a family someday, that it would be through adoption. So when my husband and I were ready, that’s just what we did. We adopted. And I couldn’t be happier with our decision.
I know I shouldn’t give two shits about what people say about me or my decisions, but it’s hard not letting it get to you. Recently, I’ve heard people have said that I adopted because I’ve had multiple miscarriages. That I’m infertile. That my health issues are the real reason why I chose this path. And hearing these things truly bummed me out because a). I can’t believe people would share these things with others and more importantly b). Not one of these things is true.
Part of me can understand why people might jump to these conclusions. I do have endometriosis, a condition that can cause infertility. I am in my late 30s, which can make it harder to get pregnant. But then another part of me just doesn’t think it’s cool. Because my health and age have nothing to do with my decision to adopt, and it’s not fair for my story to be told by anyone else but me.
I’m not the only woman choosing this path. More and more women are deciding they do not want to give birth and are adopting, fostering, or choosing surrogacy. And (shocker) a lot of women are choosing to not have children at all. As the number of women thinking this way grows each year, it’s getting even more important that we start changing the dialogue around this topic.
Next time you’re about to question a woman’s decision to not have a baby, ask her if there are alternative ways she’s considering creating a family. Instead of telling her that she’ll change her mind, ask her the reasons she’s excited to become a mom. And instead of shaming her for not wanting to have kids, you can always simply say “that’s cool” and then find out why. Your sympathetic ear could mean a lot to the woman on the receiving end and you might learn something new in the process.
We’re all made a little different. And it would be great if we could be a little (or a lot) more understanding of the choices people make, even if we don’t understand them at first. Especially when it comes to a decision as personal as this.