One of the common themes that’s emerged among the always single* women that I’ve talked to for my book-in-progress, “The New Old Maid,” is that many of them had no desire to have children.
“I never wanted kids,” said Celia. I’m not a kid person.”
Is that unnatural? Isn’t having and raising children what women are biologically and emotionally programmed to do? Is there something wrong with women who don’t have the “Mommy gene”?
“I knew early on”
“I never, ever, ever wanted children,” said Kay. “So I guess that’s another big thing- that’s often why people get married. Which is a terrible reason, in my opinion, to get married. Your relationship is not automatically going to be good just because you’re parenting. But I knew early on that was not why I was here. That it was my job to be a parent to dogs and cats, but not children. I knew I did not have that patience, that that was not my calling. I knew that real early on, like in my teens. I wish everyone knew it that early on, because so many people don’t figure it out until they have kids, and they realize they’re not real good at it. They don’t have the patience.”
Given that marriage – either dual-sex or same-sex – is regarded by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the healthiest, most stable structure in which to raise children, it makes sense that women who do have the urge to have children will make it a high priority goal to get married.
The opposite seems to be true as well. In many cases, women who do not want children don’t feel strongly motivated to tie the knot.
“I just never wanted kids, and that seemed to be, in my mind, the main reason people got married,” said Andrea, a corporate executive. “Either that, or you needed somebody to support you and I never needed that, either.”
Why are so few millennials having kids?
Millennial women are opting out of reproduction in much larger numbers than preceding generations, according to data from the Urban Institute which shows birth rates among 20-something women declining 15% between 2007 and 2012.
In an article on Connections.mic, Nicolas DiDomizio explores the reasons why so many Millennials are choosing to remain childless. Responding to social media queries, young women told him of being too broke to have kids due to large student loans; of being concerned about the overpopulation of the planet; fearful of passing mental health problems down to children and unwilling to raise them in what what they perceived as a hostile and dangerous world.
What about you?
- Do you lack the Mommy gene?
- If so, when did you know?
- Are you OK with not wanting children, or do you feel left out of one of life’s more important experiences?
- Has it affected your attitudes toward marriage?
- Has it been a factor in relationships?
- Are you trying to decide whether or not to have children?
- Do you believe it’s best to have and raise children within a marriage?
Would love to hear what you think.
And about that *
*I’m going to use “always single” going forward because it’s a positive way to describe unmarried women as opposed to the more negative term “never married.”
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