I'm 50 years-old. I chose not to have biological children. But I don't think of myself as "childfree" or "childless." First of all, I'm an Auntie to three grown nieces. For decades, I've been an honorary Auntie to the children of my best friends. And for 17 years, I've taught at the college-level. My life is full of children, young adults, and students. Am I happy with my choice--absolutely! It is a complex choice, not the result of infertility.
In high school, two of my close friends became biological mothers and due to societal pressure, married. Another friend became a wife and mother by the age of 20. A family member became a single mother. The overwhelming result--abusive marriages, divorces, substance abuse, and depression. Some of their daughters continued the cycle. However, some of these young mothers have found happiness in their forties.
One of my high school friends married and became a mother at age 23. While raising her daughter, she worked part-time and completed her college education. Her daughter graduated from college, started a career, and will marry at the age of 28.
I also have close friends who chose to marry after graduate school and become mothers in their thirties and early forties. Motherhood is difficult even with two parents; as a result, they are juggling family and work.
And I have female friends who also chose not to become mothers. Like myself, they're cool aunties with children in their lives.
I chose not to become a mother by using birth control (thank you Margaret Sanger). I made the choice to embark on a personal journey of growth and development as a human being; I refused to let family, society, religion, or peer pressure define my life because I am female. As a result, I found my authentic self and that self did not need to become a mother. But she did become a broadcast journalist, a professor, a writer, a social activist, an auntie, and a friend.
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