We are expected to grow up, find the love of our life, marry this someone and have a family. But is family life really for everyone?
Everywhere women are asked “when will you have kids”, but the answer no seems to be unacceptable.
A woman who says that she doesn’t want kids are more often than not told “You´ll change your mind”, or “You will want kids when you find the right man”. Women are faced with constant pressure of giving birth, but they are also starting to get sick of it.
I can feel how the discussion is getting heated. Many, like myself, understand why people choose not to have children, others, also like me, are not sure if they want to reproduce either. Then there’s the ones saying that they definitely don’t want kids, and others who strongly argue that this is wrong. Why do people have such strong opinions about the topic and see this as an issue?
Andrea Cubells, 21, says “Many times they just stare at me like “Really? Why? As if I had just said something extremely shocking, and I guess that for some people it is.”
She continues, “As bad as it may sound for some people, I think that having kids would have a rather negative and stressful impact on my life, which I would like to avoid.
Andrea, who is a Moving Image student in Brighton, has been a babysitter for many years and says that she enjoys having kids around, but at the end of the day she wants to “go back to my normal and quiet space. You can’t leave if the children are your own.”
In times like these when life goes faster than ever, we are still stuck in the old opinions of what is important in life – to start a family. Andrea says, “Nowadays things take longer to achieve, there is so much to do and so much competition. Having children would destroy that. I like the freedom and independence.”
Although a lot is still the same, Millennials are having a more open discussion about this taboo and the subject has become slightly easier to talk about.
“We can talk about it now. When I was little it was only weird if a grown woman didn’t have children, but now we are starting to accept it.” Andrea says.
The average British woman gives birth to 1.81 children in her lifetime. This has decreased with 0.04 since 2013 when the statistic showed 1.85 children per woman (ONS).
It seems like the safest way to stay childfree is to go through a sterilisation which has proven to be more than 99% effective (NHS). But, it is very hard to get a green light on a sterilisation before the age of 30. This is due to surgeons wanting to make sure the woman doesn’t change her mind since a sterilisation is very hard to undo.
Women who don’t want children face arguments and have to explain their decision all the time, but do men go through the same thing?
Alexander Naumovich ,22, is studying film in Paris and says that he doesn’t want kids.
“Kids would be in the way for what I want to achieve in life. Also, they are annoying.”
When asked if he thinks that women and men are told the same things when asked about reproduction he says, “I feel like sex roles are getting more loose every day, so it’s probably not as bad as 10 years ago. But I’m sure women hear it more often.”
Sandra Partanen, 22, is also one of the millennials who says no to having children.
“I don’t feel the need to make sure my family genes stay alive. If I, at some point, would want kids, I would adopt. There are too many unwanted children born into this world.”
And to the people saying “You will regret this”, many women are sure of what they want and who they are.
Isabelle Foi-z is a bachelor student from Montreal. She has never had any plans of having children and stands firm at the age of 47.
“I am my own project”, she says.
My conversation with Isabelle is one of the best ones I’ve ever had. When I talk about how Millennials are not taken seriously she frowns and says “I know so many inspirational, passionate 20 year olds, I talk to them every day at university! And they all have something to contribute with. It’s an exciting future.”
Isabelle’s decision to not have children has affected her life very recently, “I was broken up with a couple of months ago because I don’t want to have children. So this is very much my life.”
When asked why she doesn’t want to have children she simply says, “I have no interest. Honestly, it’s lack of interest. It’s like I don’t want to become a veterinarian; I neither want to become a mother.”
Isabelle is actively trying to “debunk motherhood” and says, “we have to keep telling the world that we are fulfilled.”
Living an alternative lifestyle is often questioned, but I do believe that we are starting to open up about what is not the norm, and in this way we can make this into the non-issue it should be.