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Are you a woman who has decided she doesn’t want to have children and, if so, have you ever encountered negative attitudes towards your decision? My own perspective as a woman currently in this position is that, despite not personally having had too many damning reactions so far, there does seem to be pressure to simplify such a stance by agreeing that I don’t like children (with any positive attitude around them at risk of being misinterpreted as broodiness). Indeed, I have recently spoken to other women with similar preferences who have admitted they find it easier to go along with the “you just don’t like them?” interpretation. In my case, this really isn’t true and I refuse to let the fact I don’t want any of my own push me towards some child-hating stereotype. Children are human beings too and they aren’t all the same so why should we have to generalise about them in order to justify ourselves and help people understand a choice we have every right to make, regardless of the reasons why?

I also object to the unnecessary pressure to have children from some people who’ve had them themselves and seem to think those who haven’t “know nothing about life” or are “selfish” or “strange” (all things I’ve actually heard people say). This, of course, is sometimes partially countered by a seemingly defensive intolerance of children from some people who don’t have or want them but it’s really quite shocking to find that -even in this day age- there are people who seem to view childless people as lesser human beings.

For me, it is highly unlikely that I will get around to creating any children (adoption is currently out of the question for me too) and it is important to me that any child I bring into my life must be a truly wanted one. This makes me determined that changing my mind with regard to this incredibly important and deeply personal choice must stem from a genuine desire on my part and alteration in circumstances, rather than the social pressure to do it.

I will be taking part in a radio debate on the Jonathan Vernon Smith show on Three Counties radio tomorrow morning (scheduled for 10.30 but it may happen a little earlier or later) about this topic. The presenter has let me know that the programme is interested in hearing about F-Word readers’ experiences so feel free to e-mail them through the form on their site.

You can listen live to the programme here.

Photo by Sharyn Morrow, shared under a Creative Commons Licence.