Growing Up to be Childfree, a guest post by Star LaBranche

Thank you to Star LaBranche for our newest guest post. Star has written for us before, when she shared her childfree story in Permanent Birth Control.  Star is a freelance writer and editor. She tells us that only reason she would ever have children would be in order to buy Hello Kitty items that are made for small people. She lives with a large, fluffy cat and writes for her personal website

So Simple To Be Ordinary

Star LaBranche

Star LaBranche

It’s strange when the life that you’ve never had, and will never have, rushes through your mind
It makes you wonder
What if

A million unanswered questions, a million roads not taken
The choices of right and wrong and indifferent, all stretched out before my eyes, blurring into a mass of feelings and voices
When the opinions of others shriek louder than my own, quiet feelings
When I think of what I should do rather than what I want to do

It would be so simple to be ordinary.
You would never have to think or create
Just live your life by society’s opinions of what’s right, what’s wrong; what’s successful, what’s not
Your entire life is already pre-packaged, just open the plastic wrap and microwave on high for three minutes
It’s that simple

But why do I think about these things when my life is far from ordinary
My choices are not ordinary choices and my questions cannot have ordinary answers
And cannot be discussed with ordinary people, because the ordinary people cannot see beyond their own programmed reactions and ideals that they hold so dear to look at me and my situation
My choice has no rational basis that I’ve found
I want to talk, I want to discuss, I want someone to explore with me the pros and cons and speak logically about the choice in front of me
All without thinking about that life that I will never have
That life that everyone wants me to have, needs me to have, tells me that I’ll have
Despite the fact that I do not want it at all

Maybe I’ll never be called “Mommy”
I’ll never receive a birthday present of uncooked macaroni glued to a paper plate and feel ecstatic
I’ll never be the center of attention on Mother’s Day
I’ll never put up pictures in my office of my family, I’ll never send away for school photos or capture a wonderful inside joke moment in a photograph
I’ll never bite my nails in worry when someone doesn’t walk through the front door exactly on time

I’ll never be what everyone wants me to be

I’ll never be ordinary, because it’s not what I want, it’s not who I am, and I will not make my decisions based on some else’s concept
Of ordinary

I knew at an early age that I wanted to be childfree. The idea of having children never resonated with me in a tangible way. Even when I was a child that was supposed to be pretending to be a mother, the only good thing I could think about having baby was getting to name it. That’s literally the only thing that I liked about the entire idea. When I got older, my feelings didn’t change.

Despite everyone telling me that children were going to be a part of my life, whether I liked it or not, whether I wanted them or not, whether I was ready for them or not, I just couldn’t grasp that this was going to be my future. I didn’t want it. I started looking up sterilization procedures when I was 16 years old. I knew that the term “tokophobia” meant a fear of children and childbirth by the time I was 19. At 20 I got a tattoo on my stomach that would be utterly destroyed if I got pregnant and my skin stretched in order to carry a child. At 21 I was sterilized.

Now, 8 years later, most people in my life are finally respectful of my lifelong desire to never become a mother. Which is rather annoying because I was just as certain about it at 16 as I am now. It’s easy to assume that a 16-year-old girl making decisions about the rest of her days is just being a teenager. That’s a rather young age to make such a huge decision about your life. But the fact of the matter is that everyone was 16 at one point and while we all change a great deal while we’re growing, some things about us don’t change with us.

Girls and women who don’t want to have children need to be taken seriously about their desires. It shouldn’t be naturally assumed that all females are going to be parents and desperately want to be so. It also shouldn’t be so deeply ingrained in the culture that women are nurturing childbearers that only dream of progressing the species. Women can be whatever they want to be and motherhood is not a requirement.

In life, it’s difficult to go against the grain. Society is completely prepared to tell you what you should have and even what you should want. It takes a strong person to look at something that everyone is supposed to desire and reject it. But children, like other life-changing decisions, are not for everyone. It’s easier to be ordinary, but being sometimes it’s just not an option.

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