Q: I am turning 30 and have come to realize that I do not want children. Initially, I was surprised to discover these feelings--but I have definitely become more concious via yoga, meditation and introspective journaling. When I saw on your myspace page that you too, do not want children, I felt compelled to send you an email in hopes that you might be willing to shed some light on how you decided this for yourself--had you always felt that way? Was it something you realized later in life? As someone I admire and respect, your insight would be greatly appreciated!
A: What an introspective and deeply personal question, thank you for addressing such an issue. Having children is a very individual decision and one that is highly reinforced and encouraged in our society. Honestly, I've never been drawn to children (although little newborns are SOOO cute). I did the typical babysitting growing up, but realized quite young that having children wasn't something I craved (although I think being pregnant would be tres fun -- have you seen the way pregnant women glow?).
I recall a junior high teacher questioned by my peers as to why she and her husband didn't have kids. She stated that they had made a mutual decision to focus on their careers, travel, and time together rather than raising children. I believe that was an "ah ha!" moment where I realized that deviating from the norm is not a bad thing. Sure it makes it harder when questioned about why you aren't "normal" (especially at family gatherings), but I've grown to enjoy sharing my different life plans and observing their reactions. I have also allowed myself the permission to change my mind at any time. You never know where life will take you or how your values and plans will shift, so I like to keep the options open while also honoring my desire to live life differently.
I've always appreciated and admired women who made "abnormal" choices. There was another teacher I knew growing up who never married, had a steady male companion who lived elsewhere, lived in the cutest oasis she had designed complete with a large fountain in the entryway (long before they were popular inside), and seemed to be one of the happiest women I've ever met. She lived exactly as she wanted. I then realized that marriage wasn't something I needed in order to feel complete. I believe we should create the life we want and avoid social norms (within reason) that don't resonate with our authentic selves while honoring others' choices to live however they would like. Release judgment (from yourself or others), embrace authenticity. Happy 30th.