My Kid-Free Life By Choice | Tanvii.com - Indian Fashion, Lifestyle and Travel Blog

My Kid-Free Life By Choice

Black & White City Center Tanvii.com
Photography via Natasha / @_nhphotoz

I have procrastinated writing this post for years. And by years, I mean almost a decade. Not because I didn’t want to write it, but because I rarely ever actively think about my child-free life, or children in general for that matter. Children are never on my mind. That’s is probably a good reason to not have them!? I only happen to think about my lifestyle "choice" when someone questions me about it. 

At this stage of my life I do not owe anyone any explanations. It is my life, and I have to live it. In the past, whenever someone asked me to write about it I felt it will be like I am providing a justification to the world. However, after repeated requests to share my thoughts on this matter over the last couple of years, I decided to pen down whatever came to my mind, whenever I was asked this question. 

So this post essentially is a combined entry of last two years of random thoughts. It was the only way this was ever going to get written. So here goes...

Why do you not have kids?

For the longest time I used to try and dodge this question with silence, or with a forced smile. Recently, however, I have found an answer to which no one has yet been able to follow up with an unsolicited advice or remark.

Society: Are you married?
Me: Yes.
Society: Any kids?
Me: No.
Society: Why not?
Me: I don’t like them.
Society: You don’t like kids?
Me: Nope. Not even a little bit.


Pin drop silence, to my relief.

I have shared several of my conversations that I have had with South-Asians in-person, on this blog but let me tell you that the conversation 9/10 times is the exact same one even when I interact with people from other cultures. Children define all women across the globe. When I mention I don’t want kids, their follow up is, “you must have nieces and nephews” (I don’t!) or “you must have pets at least” (can’t stand them). I see their eyes going dark. They can’t fathom a lifestyle choice which doesn’t involve a responsibility or taking care of someone.



Black & White City Center Tanvii.com

Did you always know you didn’t want kids?

No. I grew up in a big family - with uncles and aunts and cousins - all living under one roof. I too had assumed that that was a natural course of life. A tiny window in my head opened when I wrote a paper on ‘Adoption’ in high school. It was a mini-thesis. I researched it for one whole year. That’s when I realized there are thousands and thousands of orphans in the world, which made me wonder (question) that people who claim to love kids so much why wouldn’t they choose to improve the lives of existing kids in the world than to bring more? It seemed like a logical solution at that time. 

It was only later I realized humans procreate for selfish reasons. They want to see mini versions of themselves. They want to continue their bloodlines. They want to have an heir, and often use that as motivation to work and be productive members of society. I didn’t seem to want any of those things from my life. I didn’t know that back then but it did make me question the motives behind reproduction.

When I met my husband, I told him about my thoughts. I wasn’t as certain about them as am I today but I was forthcoming about my thoughts and that potentially I might not want kids. I don’t think he gave any heed to my thoughts back then. It is just pure luck that our thoughts aligned on this matter and he too reached the same conclusion all on his own when the question of “to do or not do” arose. But I will keep this mostly about my own thought process. Someday, if he wishes to he can share his own views, in his own words.

It was not until I had decided to not have kids, that I realized that the whole world (socially, economically, conversationally) revolves around kids. Unfortunately that’s the only topic of conversation, most women (and some men) can think of when they meet a women above the age of 25 or married (whichever comes first).

Has your life been affected in any way by this decision?

One of the cons of a kid-free life is that you lose most of your friends. Not because either of you want to but because once they become mothers their world revolves around their kids. There is little to no place for you unless you can can some how fit yourself into their kids' life. That’s just the harsh truth. I didn’t know that and was not prepared for such a shift. I have written about finding solace in my own company and looking for peace inward rather than trying to find it outside. Good thing I adapt quickly and truly love my own company. Life could have been isolating otherwise.

Black & White City Center Tanvii.com

Don’t you ever think about: “What if ...?”

Motherhood to me personally is something of no interest. I assume it must be a wonderful thing for women who do desire for kids. It is a role which (I strongly believe) involves 24/7 responsibility and a non-negotiable requirement to put another human’s needs first. Something I cannot commit to or even remotely wish to do. 

I have had the pleasure of seeing some amazing humans do parenting. They seem natural at it. They are bringing up these mini-humans and equipping them with all the tools they can to survive and make this world a better place. I have also had the not-so-pleasurable experience of seeing some terrible parenting. While I cannot say how those kids will turn out (some humans have the better sense to change their ways in adulthood) but their parents are not setting a good example in the least. I have also had some honest conversations with (multiple) women who wish they didn’t have children. They gave into the societal pressure or the body-clock pressure or didn't realize they had a choice. Today they believe they would not make the same decision if they had a do over.

I on the other hand, whenever I hear about people's problems with their children, I think, "Dodged a bullet". Whenever I see parents with their kids, my first thought is thank goodness I don’t have to do any of that - the good, bad and ugly - all of it! I have never had that “need” to be a mother. I don’t see myself in that role. I don’t want that role. What an injustice it would be to bring a human being in this world and not give them a home where they were truly wanted and will be loved.

Black & White City Center Tanvii.com

How do you deal with society and family?

After twelve years of married life I can safely say that I've heard it all: "But you'd be such a good mom," they say. "You say that now, but wait until you see all your friends have kids." "You'll change your mind and then it will be too late." "There are so many people out there who want kids and are unable to have them." "You'll totally regret this." "Your life becomes so much more worthwhile when you have kids." "You'll have no one to take care of you when you're old." "You're being selfish." "Women’s life isn’t complete until she is a mother." I can go on and on ...

Honestly? I don’t care about anyone else any more. I have always been strong-willed. No one can make me do anything. So giving birth to a child no less, due to external pressure was out of the question. But I know what you are asking: how do I deal with their questions. In my case, living away from family has been a blessing in disguise and extremely helpful for my peace-of-mind. Since I only have to deal with their interrogation when I visit, it truly allows me to conjure up the patience to deal with it.

However, my parents have not bothered me one bit. I explained to them why and what I want from my life and they have given me the respect of being an adult and that I am capable enough to make my own decisions. Till today I do not know if they agree or disagree with me, because that is besides the point. I don't need their agreement, only need their understanding. With everyone else, I choose silence or divergence. It is hard. It is even frustrating sometimes. But that is the only way I know how to react to such conversations while still maintain my dignity and poise. You have to know your audience before you express your thoughts.

Some people tell me they can’t imagine living with my life choice, but the good news it that they don’t have to. I am thrilled with my life and my decision not to not have children. So many of my friends and acquaintances don’t have the 
choices and options and the independence in their life right now, that I do. I don't have the financial and time obligations that arise from having children. 

I am a realist who is quite in touch with herself. I know myself. I know my wants and needs. In all my years of my existence, I have not yet taken a decision that I have regretted later. Everything I have said yes to, everything I have said no to, and everything I have let go has been the right decision for me. I am at peace with how my life has turned out so far which gives me the confidence that my decision is the right one for me.

Black & White City Center Tanvii.com
   The pictures in this post has been taken by Natasha, the only photographer I have worked with this year. She is such a natural at this and I believe truly captures the essence of the moment. I love collaborating with her. I chose the black and white photos for this post as I believe they reflect the mood and feeling behind my words. 
SHARE:

38 comments

  1. I have been following you from your San Antonio days and it's nice to see that you have made a choice that a majority won't take and is content with it. Personally I can't imagine my life without my kids. They make my life so happy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have thought of not having kids so many times..I love kids..i have a dog that I love more than myself..but it’s the lifelong commitment that I’m afraid of. The husband seeks it so will give a chance..
    Appreciate your stand..to each his or her own.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is an irony but I just love this post as I read it while I am pregnant and almost there! This may be judged by others at time, but I care not. if I can bring into this world a girl who can think independently and regret no decisions of hers that would be my success as a mother.
    I love how every word in this blog is well written and shows your command on on your own life and decisions.

    Tanvi! I truly admire your personality and would love to meet you some day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tanvi -- thank you for putting in words what I have been feeling all these years!!! My husband and I will be married for 10 years come November, and we have heard all the usual refrains.

    Also, so glad that you added to the narrative for us child-free people. We are a misunderstood lot, and seen as selfish when imo the alternative isn't any less, especially when done to conform, and not out of a genuine desire to nurture and parent.

    Amen to everyone dancing to their own tune, as long as they are not harming themselves, others and the environment.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have penned down everything so accurately. It is so enlightening to see someone have their own opinions and decisions. You are not tamed by Society and that is what I love about you.
    Kudos to you for being you.
    Digital media has shifted to video content but I still love reading your blogs ��

    ReplyDelete
  6. I could write my own post on this that would be just as long as yours. Maybe I will some day. My own experience was not exactly the same as yours - I grew up with a large extended family where my brother and I were the only two children. So life did revolve around us completely. But I got very little experience with other, younger children and caregiving until my aunts and uncles finally started getting married and having their own children when I was in my late teens. I already knew I disliked babysitting, but suddenly having a lot of first cousins at sixteen was a bit like having a semi-permanent child of my own, and I knew then that I had no interest in motherhood. I have never wavered in my position, despite hearing all of the same tired refrains that you've heard from people about how I will change my mind. I have been lucky to have some friends in my life who are also childless by choice, but I agree that upon reaching your mid-thirties, being childless can become isolating if you are uncomfortable being on your own. Would I give even a moment's consideration to having a child to change that? Never. I love my life exactly as it is and the only thing I can think is how a child would do nothing but spoil it. Every time I am at a gathering with children, I stand back and watch, thinking how happy I am not to have to run after any of them. I do not like children. I can tolerate some pets. But both require sacrifices that I am absolutely unwilling to make.
    xox,
    Cee

    ReplyDelete
  7. Loved reading your post on not wanting children. I do personally want children but whole heartedly believe that some parents have kids without even thinking about the responsibility or the reasons for their choice. I have a very close friend that feels similarly to you and is so happy in her life and yet she gets the same questions and comments. Being a woman in this fight for equality simply is to have a choice and not to be questioned about it. I never wondered about your “why” but it was still great to read!

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's such a personal choice to not have kids and I myself have a constant debate in my head about it. Especially in today's world, it really is a choice worth considering.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Girl! There's bravery in being authentically you and opening up to the world. Thank you x

    ReplyDelete
  10. you don't like pets?! Should we even like you anymore?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Udit, what a stupid response. I like pets, so, should that be a criteria for loving you ?

      Delete
  11. I could write a blog post just appreciating this blog for being so well thought of, well articulated and beautifully honest. I relate with 99% of your thought process. Congratulations Tanvi for living a life on your terms in a world that is constantly demanding us to be anything but authentic. It's a great feeling. I loved every bit of this article. Thank you for taking out time. ♥️

    ReplyDelete
  12. Reading your post today made me think both ways, as a person who never wanted to become a mother and those who evolve from being the self centered 'me' life to being the giver, in other words: Mother.You did stand my your thoughts of not taking that role up but you only judged by its superficial aroma. Mothers are so many layers deep down.She is the one who can burn her hand to save the fingers of her little one and smile still, she is the one who has the power to protect her baby from all odds and it is divine. That hug that calms your heart , that smile that is your dose of happy pills, those messy rooms and loud cheers we hold in memories as they grow up, you have to be there and feel it. You cant write a research paper on a subject you never read. You still sounded self centered and superficial.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I feel Someone's choice to have / not to have kids( as well) ,may mostly be due to selfish reasons but it certainly can not be generalised.
    For someone who has no interest in motherhood ,I felt it to be biased at places. I say that because I use to think like that too but once I became mother I understood the feeling of mother's love and sacrifice and still learning!
    Even movies/just watching others / your bond with your mother can not
    make you feel that.The superficial reasons like lineage, mini creatures etc , I personally feel ,all just get vanished.
    In my case it was not the case anyway. Each to their own is all I will say :). Motherhood is not the only thing for women definitely and some may regret too later as definitely raising a human is a big responsibility . We tend to blame it all on small kids but we don't see the lack of support as reason which is altogether a different topic and I am not starting that :) .

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, especially when it comes to something that will affect the rest of their lives.

    ReplyDelete
  15. In this today's world, any choice you make in your life is your own. I applaud you for being true to yourself. It's rare to know what you want in life and have the courage to follow through with your choice once you've made it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think it's so frustrating having to talk about what your plans are for children in the future! If it happens, it happens, hey? Everyone should just respect people's decisions without having to question it any further.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Everyone has their own choice. It doesn't make anyone any better or any worse.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is very personal and cannot be judged by anyone. I wish every person made a thoughtful decision before bringing another human being to this world.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I completely agree that you dont owe anybody an explanation when it comes to not wanting/having children. It's an extremely personal question!

    ReplyDelete
  20. i think that having kids is not for everyone and that is quite ok ! it took me a while to get to the grips with motherood and as my daughter gets older its so much easier tho hehe - kind regards Pati Robins at style squeeze blog

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is one of the most relatable blog posts I have ever read. I don't want to have kids either and people tell me the same things you hear... "You'd be a great mom"... "You have nephews and nieces?"... "Why not?" I like the freedom that I have and while I do think it's amazing that people have children, I know that it isn't the ideal life for me. I just wish other people would realize that not everyone wants to have kids and that it doesn't make them a bad person if they don't want that life either.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I definitely agree that there are certain people not meant to have kids. And I have watched them do a horrible job of it. At the same time, I think some people who never wanted kids and ended up having them have changed their mind. Regardless. You have your reasons and no one should argue you into a decision you don't want to make. Or pressure you to have children you don't want. It never ends well.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love this post, and I admire your honesty. Every word you've written is like you were reading my mind. My husband and I have had so many rude, intrusive, and disrespectful questions aimed at us (mainly towards me and my body), and it's truly exhausting. It's so dehumanizing to act like as women our only purpose is to give people grandchildren or pass on our genes. Thank you for being so honest and sticking to who you are.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I definitely agree with you and the decision about kids is a personal decision and really no one's business or for no one to judge. While I personally want kids, I know that having kids is not meant for everyone and I admire you for sharing that.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This post is so raw and true. I love the points you make and I totally get it. I come from a SUPER small town where if you aren't married with a baby by 20, you're an old-maid for life lol. I have a boyfriend, but neither of us are in any hurry at all to rush into anything. I think the beauty of being a woman in today's society is that we get to choose when and if we want to be moms. It's not for everyone and I don't think that's something to be shamed for believing. Power to you sister!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I imagine it can be so tough to talk about this and thank you so much for opening up and sharing. I imagine after being married, it can be even tougher dodging questions about why you don't want kids. Thank you again for opening up and sharing all this.

    Denise | Fashion Love Letters

    ReplyDelete
  27. You have the right to live your own life and nobody can tell anything!

    Mariya | https://www.brunetteondemand.com/gigi-bella-hadid-outfits-vmas/

    ReplyDelete
  28. Having kids is not for everyone and no one should be attacked for their choice either way. Brava for putting your thoughts to (internet) paper.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I definitely relate to this a LOT. Okay, so I do have nephews and adore them, and a cat that I couldn't imagine life without, but I have zero desire to have children. The idea freaks me out, I don't like the concept of losing my independence, I really love what I do for work and I know I'd have to alter that, I have severe health issues and there's a genetic history of miscarriages in my family, and gosh - the list goes on and on. Yet the moment I got married, the question came up, and everyone tries to dispute it when I say I don't want them. They tell me I'm selfish or that I just don't know how boring marriage can get - but I know where I stand on the topic, and I'm glad you do too.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Up until recently I always thought I would have children, and now as I'm in my 30s, I can't say I feel any overwhelming desire to have them. It's a hard position to take in our world. Children are an expectation. But I completely respect your choice to have a child free life. (I at least want a dog however).
    Chic on the Cheap

    ReplyDelete
  31. I loved reading this post! You have such an interesting point of view. Thank you for being so open. I don't know why other's people choices regarding having or not having children is still a big issue. Nobody should be judged for their decisions regarding parenting, marriage, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Honestly, no one should ask people if they want kids or when they will have kids. SOOOO many factors affect that decision and some people can't even have them. Seriously, why do people need to know the answer to that?! I have twins and don't want anymore, and I am sick of people asking if I am going to have more or try for a boy. No! I take care of my kids the way I dreamed I would and if I threw another into the mix for selfish reasons, everyone would suffer.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you so much for sharing this! This is actually something I've wanted to write about myself. We've been married for over 6 years and people ask us CONSTANTLY when we're having kids. To be honest, it's not that I don't like kids (and there's nothing wrong with that anyway!) but there's just so many factors. I'm terrified of pregnancy and I'm just not ready. There's so much I want to do before starting a family. Yes, I'm getting older but I really do enjoy the freedom to just do whatever I want. I don't think it's selfish, I think it's smart.

    Lizzie
    www.lizzieinlace.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank You Tanvi for saying what most label as an Outliers opinion. Children are a choice, they are not the default. There is nothing inhuman about not wanting to have kids. Let's start accepting that these are choices people make consciously. - M

    ReplyDelete
  35. I agree that Motherhood is a personal choice, per se. This is a good read and I will share it :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. You sound exactly like me. My husband and I are 33/34 and we do not want kids. I have never had the desire to ever have kids. Being an only child there has been so much pressure from my family to start a family so they can have grand babies. But you know, I really don't care! It's our choice and we will most likely stay childless!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Whether someone decides to have children or not is totally their decision and I always respect that!

    ReplyDelete

Blogger Template Created by pipdig