I CONFESS: No regrets about being childless
EVERY WOMAN IS NOT meant to bring children into this world or be a mother. I am one of those women and I make no apology for saying this.
It isn’t that I do not like children; it’s just that I see them as an expense I can do without and an unnecessary distraction from achieving my goals.
I don’t think this perspective makes me selfish or uncaring. I just believe that bringing a child into this world is a very demanding undertaking because you are committing yourself to a minimum of 18 years of 24-7 responsibility and all the anxiety and stress that come along with that.
It is never a case of just having the child, then moving on with your life without looking back at it. You can’t even do that with a dog, far less a human. So it is a major obligation to have a child.
That’s why I can’t understand how anyone who is unemployed, has nowhere proper to live, or is not in a stable relationship can bring a child into this world. Even when an accident occurs, like a condom bursting, there is no excuse for bringing that child, not when you can easily have a termination.
And I’m not being cold, just realistic. If more people took this attitude we would not have so many women looking for handouts.
What ticks me off is how people react when I tell them I am not interested in having children. They behave as if I’m committing a major crime. Yet, when the same people see a woman in the newspaper with a bunch of children around them and begging for help, they usually condemn her and say she has to learn to keep her legs closed or at least use contraceptives.
I promised myself that I would never have children because of the hardship I suffered growing up in a large, poor family.
I saw how my mother became friendly with a number of men because she had six hungry mouths to feed after our father, who was an alcoholic, died and left us penniless.
As children, we never had enough to eat or good clothes to wear. Neighbours helped to feed and clothe us.
We had no place proper to live as well. Every house my mum rented had something wrong with the roof or the flooring. And each one we lived in until I was 19 years old had no water toilet or even electricity.
From a little girl I was determined to improve my life. I dreamt of doing well at school and becoming a lawyer or doctor so that I could buy a big house for my mother and the whole family would never be hungry again.
So I did well at school from day one and always kept my focus because I wanted better for myself and my family.
I made sure and got a solid education. It wasn’t easy as I had to work and study, but I eventually got my degree from University of the West Indies and fulfilled the promise I made to myself of never being like my mother – abused and pushed around – because of being uneducated and dependent.
So now I have a good job, a mortgage, and a nice car. And everything I have came through sacrifice and hard work. I did not sleep with anybody to get what I have.
I also promised myself that I would not have sex at an early age even though most of my friends were doing it and tried to encourage me.
I kept my head on and never caved into pressure from any of my boyfriends. In fact, I remained a virgin until I was 25 years old. It wasn’t easy saying no all the time to their advances, but I always wanted to have my first sexual experience with someone I respected and loved.
No wonder that man was one of my former teachers, nearly 20 years older than I, who had encouraged me to pursue my goals from the time he taught me at secondary school.
I have only had one other man in my life – my husband. He knows my position on children and is fine with it because he too came from a large family and struggled to make something of himself. Besides that, he has a child from a previous relationship.
Because it is just the two of us, we are into each other a lot; we do most things together and have a wonderful life as a couple.
The only regret that I have about my life is that I never managed to influence my two younger sisters to be similarly committed to education and be more discerning in their relationships.
Both had children at an early age, and now are struggling to make ends meet working as cashiers or shop assistants and having to take foolishness from men. They learnt nothing from mummy’s struggles.
And each time I see them and give them money, I thank God for giving me the strength to stick to my resolve to never have children. On that I have no regrets.