The Mighty Logo

15 Reasons Why It Isn't 'Selfish' For Me to Not Want a Child Right Now

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

The idea that choosing not to have children is “selfish” originally came from certain religious denominations that encouraged having a large family. This way of thinking seems rather out-of-date in our diverse, multi-faith modern society. However, there is still a lot of pressure on women to have at least one child. Although I am not currently in a relationship, I fear that I might be persuaded to agree to have children just to please my partner — but that would be the wrong decision for me. I think there are a lot of unfit parents out there, and to admit that you might not have what it takes to raise children seems smart to me.

It’s important to know what you want and to not sacrifice your own wants and needs for the sake of peer pressure or (or the sake of giving your parents grandkids!) Here are my reasons for choosing to remain childfree.

1. I’ve never had a strong maternal instinct.

It’s just not there! I don’t have a caretaker personality type — I’m a free spirit with a passionate, artistic temperament. I recognize I’m not a typical “mother hen” — and that’s OK with me.

2. I grew up in a dysfunctional family.

My family life growing up has put me off of the idea of starting my own family, as I have never witnessed a healthy relationship dynamic. I don’t want to “mess up” my kids’ lives.

3. I’d love to be an aunt.

I’d be happy to be an aunt to my friends’ kids (and my sister’s kids if she has them). I don’t dislike children, and I can still make them part of my life if I want to.

4. I’d love to be a “dog mom.”

I’m happy to just have dogs. The idea of having pets excites me more than having a child does!

5. I value my freedom.

I’m young at heart. I know I want to travel and experience more of the world without feeling like I’m “tied down” at home.

6. I’m focused on my career.

In my 30s, I began a new career path, and I am currently gaining qualifications for it. My career is my main priority right now. I hope to be able to grow my own business, and I know this goal will require every ounce of my time and energy.

7. I’ve struggled with chronic illness.

I have been through a long, traumatic struggle with chronic illness for the past decade. It has taken a huge toll on me — both mentally and physically. I am on the road to recovery, but the threat of relapse always looms. I can’t in good conscience bear a child just for them to take on a “caregiver” role in childhood. My children may be genetically susceptible to the same illness too — and I don’t want them to struggle like I have.

8. My medical trauma could make pregnancy difficult.

After everything I have been through with my illness — including medical trauma — I would not be willing to put my body through the long process of pregnancy and labor. There are so many potential complications.

9. I’ve struggled with my mental health.

My mental health has been up and down since my teenage years. I wouldn’t want to feel like I can’t mentally support my child. It’s no secret that raising a child can be incredibly stressful and demanding, and I don’t know how my mental health will affect me as a parent.

10. I’ve been unable to work.

Since I have been unable to work for the past few years and have had to spend all of my savings on private medical treatment, I have no “nest egg” to speak of. I don’t know how I would be able to financially provide for a child.

11. I don’t want to become a “martyr.”

I have never wanted to play the role of the housewife and mother who martyrs herself. I don’t want to give up everything for my husband and children.

12. I’m focused on healing right now.

Call it “selfish” if you want, but I am focusing on my physical, spiritual and emotional healing right now. I am trying to abandon unhealthy habits, be a helpful presence in the world, and hopefully inspire others to learn and grow.

13. I’m worried about the current state of the world.

As cliché as it may sound, I don’t want to bring a child into the world we live in right now — especially with the current “perma-crisis” that is going on.

14. I’m not ready to have children.

I’m not ready to have children yet. I have always been a “late bloomer” as well as someone who changes their mind, so I realize I may suddenly decide I want a kid later in life. In that case, I have always loved the idea of adoption — giving a child who is already here a loving home. I’d just hope to feel a lot more stable if and when the time comes.

15. I think it would be selfish of me to have a child.

I think the exact opposite of some people — I think choosing to have a child would be selfish for me personally. I do like the idea of settling down and having my version of a family one day — but I dream of having a partner and two dogs.

I agree that having something to focus on outside of yourself can be healthy — as long as you don’t neglect your own needs — but I think I can find fulfillment in a career, clients, extended family, pets, or even volunteer work. At the moment, being childless is the best choice for me, and I feel at peace with my decision.

Getty image by Plume Creative.

Originally published: July 12, 2022
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home