In which I think about not wanting children

I don’t want to have children. I’ve never really wanted to have children. Most of my life I’ve been told that this will change, that not wishing to procreate was a phase I would get past, and that, fundamentally, long-term resistance to bringing additional tiny people into the world would be a bit weird.

There were generally agreed to be two key triggers that would send me back onto the right-thinking path. Those were “when you hit your thirties” – this being the age at which the tick of a woman’s biological clock is expected to become overwhelming, and “when you’re friends have children.” Well, I’m 35 next week (eeeek – more on that next Monday) and I can’t move for small people in my social circle, but the urge still hasn’t kicked in.

I don’t dislike children. I have a six-year old nephew and an eight-week old niece and they’re both marvellous fun. Well the six-year old is marvellous fun. The eight-week old is still really at the sleep-feed-poo stage, but she’s super super cute and cuddlesome, and I still can’t imagine wanting one of my own.

What’s struck my lately, much more than in the past, is that this feeling actually is a bit weird. Most (not quite all, but a heavy majority) of my friends who weren’t that fussed about kids when they were younger, did grow out of that phase, and reach a point in life where babies seemed desirable. Either that or a lot of my friends are terrible with birth control and good at putting  positive spin on the outcome.

And it’s not just that the great miscellaneous blame-for-everything “society” that we live in pressures us to have babies. It’s much more basic than that. We basically exist to reproduce. Our fundamental biological driver is to pass on our genes. Not wanting to do that would suggest that I’ve somehow managed to break evolution.  Er…. oops.

Not that I’m going to override my lack of procreational urge. The planet has plenty of people. A few less probably wouldn’t do us any great harm, and might bring big environmental benefits.

So why am I telling you this? Well, partly because it’s Monday and my new found blogging commitment requires that I tel you something, but mainly because of something two different women said to me recently, when I told them I’d never wanted kids. Both said that I was the first person they’d ever heard admit that openly. Now, obviously it’s perfectly possible that I am entirely unique and therefore unquestionably special and important and deserving of a tiara, but, sad though I am not to get a tiara, I don’t think that can possibly be the case. So that’s why I’m telling the internet about my weird anti-biological resistance to perpetuating my genes. It’s because it can’t just be me, can it? Please feel welcome to offer reassurances that I’m not a total one-off or to suggest pretty tiara options in the comments. Do you want kids? Did you always want them? Is it different for boys? Do they make tiaras for boys? Other questions like that…