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If You Don't Want Kids,You're Selfish

I've worked with many clients over the years who were trying to decide if having a baby was right for them. Sometimes these clients know that they don't want to raise a child, and as we explore their reasons for having a baby or adopting, the conversation inevitably reveals familial and societal expectations: that's what you do, I don't want to appear selfish, what will happen when I'm older. The not so silent scorn and criticism from others has them questioning their value, and feeling they need to make amends for not having kids: I volunteer, I'm super Auntie, I rescue dogs, cats, chickens, even spiders, feed the homeless, and I'm dedicated to finding a cure for cancer.

My husband and I don't have children. We made a choice not to have a family. I'm still surprised by the judgments that accompany this choice.

My not wanting to be a Mom, isn't an indication of the kind of person I am, it's a choice about how I want to live my life.

I don't need to defend or justify my choice. I'm not required to provide a litany of examples showing my lack of selfishness or my love of children. I'm not required to explain why I would've been an incredible parent, or to explain the results of my gynecological exams. I haven't, and I won't, ask people who are deciding to have kids, to defend their ability and readiness to do so; to show me the stability of their relationships, their financial records or to demonstrate self-awareness and emotional intelligence. To disprove to me that they're not having a kid to fix their marriage or to fit in, or to finally feel unconditional love or to avoid appearing selfish. I would never, yet somehow my moral, ethical and religious beliefs, not to mention the state of my reproductive health, is often up for debate.

“Why do I need to have reasons? When someone decides to have a baby, people don't go around asking what her reasons are.” ~ Emily Giffin


Parenting isn't a decision to be made just because, why not, you'll never really be ready, that’s what you do. The choice to become a parent requires the same level of unselfish analysis that choosing not to have them requires. Rarely do we ask those about to be parents: Are you sure you want to have a baby, what makes you think you can handle that, aren’t you worried that you need to x,y,z?

The people that heavily weigh this life choice, whether they decide to have a baby or not, are willing to put the welfare and well-being of their future child ahead of shoulds and expectations. The kind of people that examine their values, their life vision, and their readiness, and ability to raise a child. They recognize that parenting isn't about what you get, fitting in, or a safety net for when you're older, but rather the ability to provide the very best environment and to be an example. They understand the commitment that's required to raise a self-aware, and well-adjusted person.

  • Anyone who makes a decision and commits to taking the actions that promote the welfare of themselves and others, deserves respect, kids or no kids.

  • Anyone who self-examines and reflects on what the results of a choice may be, and then decides whether they can handle that choice, deserves respect.

  • Anyone who knows what is right for them, and has the courage to live true to that, deserves respect.

Let's respect each other's choices and celebrate our right to make them.

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