Childless by CHOICE, Get it?

I don’t want kids. Never have. I consider birth control the greatest invention of the 20th century and I’ve been taking it religiously for nearly a decade. No pregnancies to date, and in the rare event of one I’d be first in line at my local abortion clinic before that zygote even mildly resembled a human. I’ve given a great deal of thought to parenthood—arguably more than many who ultimately pursue it. And recognizing the enormous responsibility, commitment and sacrifice involved, I respectfully refuse to reproduce.

Not long after we started dating, I informed my husband that if he wanted kids, I wasn’t the girl for him. He thanked me for the heads up and said he could easily do without them as well. Relieved, we continued dating for several years before we got married, both in our early 20s.

From the moment we announced our engagement, the pressure began: “So, when can we expect to see a little Melody or Matthew running around?” Matthew always smiled and changed the subject. I, on the other hand, confronted the question head on. “Never” was my standard response, and it always evoked laugher. Nobody could imagine that someone would choose not to procreate. But we stuck to our guns, and now, in our early 30s, people are slowly realizing that we weren’t kidding.

As a result, many have come to view us differently—as selfish, cold, narcissistic and unwilling to take on responsibility, despite all that we’ve done personally and professionally to counter such claims.

I say it’s just as cold to bring a child into this world on “accident,” and just as selfish and narcissistic to breed simply because we want to create miniature versions of ourselves upon whom to impose our dreams, goals and double helixes.

Matthew and I both have dreams and goals of our own, and they don’t include making nearly enough money or having nearly enough time to nurture a child. But once I say this out loud, people invariably try to convince me that raising a kid is easier than I think. Newsflash: I was a kid, and I know better.

Given the almost unanimously negative responses I’ve received regarding my decision to remain childless, I’ve actually considered feigning infertility. That way at least people wouldn’t feel compelled to pressure me into joining the band of breeders. Though I’ve decided against it, the fact that I’d even consider lying about my fertility, let alone discussing it so openly, speaks to the radical evangelical and fundamentalist views of so many parents.

I have no problem with anyone else’s decision to bear children. I respect and appreciate the wonder of giving birth. I even cry during childbirth scenes in movies. I also fully believe that motherhood is one of the highest callings out there. Still, it’s not my calling, and I don’t think that recognizing and honoring this reality makes me evil or heartless. Rather, I think it makes me wise and responsible. So, please dear breeders, stop trying to recruit me and my kind.

Melody Moezzi is an Iranian-American writer, speaker, author, attorney and activist. Her first book, War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims, earned her a 2007 Georgia Author of the Year Award. Melody is also a United Nations Global Expert with the UN Alliance of Civilizations and a member of the British Council’s Our Shared Future Opinion Leaders Network. She is a commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered and a blogger for the Huffington Post and Ms. Magazine. Her writings have appeared in publications around the world, including The Washington Post, the Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, Al Arabiya, and the Gulf Times. She is also a regular blogger and columnist for Bipolar Magazine.

[Originally published in the Ms. Magazine blog]


7 Comments on “Childless by CHOICE, Get it?”

  1. jogreen1 says:

    You said it, period. I am a parent and mine turned out into beautiful young women inspite of me. I never really knew what I was doing and the only thing I did consistently and well was to love them unconditionally. I love being a grandmother and they both WANT to be parents. They should have the choice, I was never comfortable in those shoes and thought I was abnormal. Traditional thinking and instinct is a myth to keep women submissive IMHO.

  2. Lisa says:

    I totally get it! I am a 48 year old American Muslim woman, no kids, no husband and quite happy! (Although it would be nice to have a guy, I don’t need one. I’m perfectly content!) Better to NOT feign infertility as some may remind you about adoption!

    • Neelo says:

      I am a mother of four beautiful children that I love & adore. I am also a grandmother of three gorgeous Grabd kids:)))))
      I won’t trade them for any thing in this world:)) therefore I respect people who understand the responsibility of bringing a Child in this world!
      I like your idea of not breeding:))
      & fully support it as well.

  3. I have one of my own and I love him dearly; I’ve raised six. But, I can say that I understand that I’m not a mommy type. I do not regret having my son. He is the coolest kid I know and when I look at him, I think, “Well, I have done right!” But, I deeply appreciate that being a parent isn’t for everyone, nor should it be, and living a meaningful life comes in many different forms. Raising six kids depleted me so when a woman says, “I don’t want kids.” I say, “You go, girlfriend!”

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  5. Anisa says:

    Maybe this is beside the point a bit, but how do you know you would be lying if you said you’re infertile? I mean, how can you assume you are fertile if you’ve never had a pregnancy? Technically you’re in the unknown. Just saying.