I'm 43, And No, I Still Don't Want To Have Children

by Toshia Humphries
Originally Published: 
An analog clock on the bed which symbolizing turning 43 but still not wanting children

I recall being somewhat insulted. Worry? Why would I worry? Was she implying something was wrong with me? I don’t want kids. Should I be worried? The right man? That was likely the most confusing assumption for me. By that time, I’d met, dated and lived with more than a few right men. I just wasn’t looking to marry. Quite frankly, that level of commitment terrified me. I was married once, for six months. I learned the hard way I never wanted to get married—and stay that way—again. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do the same with regards to kids.

I knew from a young age I’d never be a mother. In fact, while other little girls were pining over baby dolls and playing house, I was hoarding stuffed animals and playing music. I had no use for Ken, or even Barbie. I’m a brunette, for Christ’s sake! Besides, I was in love with Prince and Paul Stanley—not quite the dichotomy one might initially think. I mean, the pouty lips, makeup, tiny stature, chest hair and overt sexuality? C’mon. They’re twins.

Possibly it was my upbringing or some lack thereof. I will admit my maternal figures weren’t very nurturing. But that never kept me from dressing the dog in baby clothes and forcing him to sit in a high chair. That’s likely what kept everyone under the assumption that I was a normal girl—you know, the kind who wants kids. Nope. I just wanted dogs. Lots of them.

Still, the notion that normal—for a woman—is defined by how many kids you have, or eventually want, irks me. How many times do we ask men that question? Rarely, at best. The focus is on their dreams, goals and passions—their career and accomplishments. Well, women aspire to greatness too—even those who have children. And before anyone gets offended, simply being a mother is greatness because there is no “simply” to it. But those of us who have no desire to be a mother—to a human—shouldn’t be told we or our romantic partners are defective.

I’m 43. I’ve yet to feel some uncontrollable urge to procreate. The only legacies I desire to leave behind are books, art and creative accomplishments. Does that make me abnormal? Is it indicative of some imbalance in my hormones? Or is it simply that I’ve been true to myself—like many women are choosing to be—regardless of society’s attempts to shame or challenge my feminine adequacies? I’ll go with the latter.

Not all women want kids. It’s that simple. And it is perfectly normal, as it is with men who share that same lack of desire. If there is a biological clock that starts ticking and eventually sounds an alarm, some of us simply choose to do more than hit the snooze button—like throw it against the nearest wall. For me, there’s never been such an experience. I’m 43, and still nothing. No ticking. No alarm. Just a quiet, comfortable space.

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