Why I don't want kids
Yes Sheetal, they know exactly what they’re doing
If the people who track parenting fails were put in charge of your diet, you would probably fit into the jeans you bought three years ago to motivate you to stop snacking on donuts. Today, those jeans still don’t fit, and you have a loyalty card from Krispy Kreme. The parenting police are efficient and know exactly when you gave your child caramel popcorn for dinner. But there is one way to get them off your backs – point the judgemental Jessies in the direction of people who don’t want kids at all.
There is always a hue and cry when someone admits they don’t want kids. And the chaos usually comes with a side of “You’re too young to decide”, “You’re not a complete woman until you become a mom,” and “Do you even know what you’re talking about?”.
But the truth of the matter is that no one takes such decisions callously and almost always have concrete reasons to back their choices.
We asked five people who decided they didn’t want kids about what motivated them, how their choices were received and how they’re planning on dealing with FOMO that might creep in later in life.
5 people tell us why they don’t want kids
“It feels like adding one more responsibility to my already more-than-full plate.”
Pastry chef and jeweller Sukriti Sharma* (25) felt early on that child-bearing takes too much of a toll on a woman’s body. The mental, physical, and emotional strain people around her had to go through after having kids cemented the decision.
“My decision was also fuelled by the pressure on women to be a ‘good mom,'” says Sharma. “Once you’re a mother, that becomes the ultimate thing, and work and other important stuff gets sidelined. It feels like adding another responsibility to my already more-than-full plate,” she adds.
Sharma shared this with her partner before they began dating, and at first, he didn’t object.
But lately, he feels that “even though he doesn’t have an opinion, there could be a positive side to having kids. So we’ve decided to revisit this in another 10 years, when work is a little more settled”.
Sharma is clear that she will not be bearing any children herself. “I’ve been frank about how much I’m willing to contribute. I don’t want to compromise on my career and health.”
“The miscarriage made us realise we didn’t actually want kids.”
Angira Bose Kataky, 38, met her now-husband in school. And much like a Bollywood romance, the best friends turned lovers and eventually, husband and wife. A little while after their wedding, the sea of “When are you giving us good news?” came rushing in.
After a few years, Kataky and her husband decided to try for a kid. “It was a very difficult pregnancy,” she recalls. “Lots of injections, having to let go of my work, and complete bed rest.” And a few months later, she miscarried.
“I was very vulnerable, and would randomly burst out crying. But despite that, the miscarriage came as a realisation. Not of how much we wanted kids, but the complete opposite.”
Seven years later, Kataky sticks by her decision. “Just because I don’t have motherly instincts doesn’t mean that I am incapable of expressing emotions. I am extremely sensitive, and shower love on my parents, and my pet,” she says.
“My husband and I never had a honeymoon period, we were constantly surrounded by responsibilities, so now we’ve decided to do everything we had dreamt of doing earlier but couldn’t. Having a kid would prevent that, and that’s not a compromise we want to make,” she says.
“I’m an only child, so deciding not to have kids was like cutting a branch off the family tree.”
Living in an overpopulated country, not feeling ready for the responsibility, and the environmental repercussions of having a child convinced former journalist Mohan Kumar that he didn’t want to have kids.
Still, it was difficult to break this to his parents. “I am an only child, so it was like cutting a branch off the family tree. My parents also really wanted to be grand-parents. But we couldn’t let emotions change our decision because at the end of the day, we would be the ones responsible for the child,” he explains.
Kumar wanted to be sure his partner didn’t feel like she was missing out. “Even though giving birth is painful, people also talk about how beautiful an experience it is. So I asked my wife if she was okay with this, and she was.”
But what if you wake up one day and feel FOMO, or don’t have anyone to take care of you?
“In fact, when I see my friends’ kids throwing tantrums, that in a way validates the choice we’ve made,” he laughs.
“Also, most of my friends don’t have kids. It’s a growing community. And sometimes, we discuss how we could be there for each other when we grow older, you don’t need kids for that,” he adds.
“I have a terrible gene pool. I don’t want to pass it on out of a narcissistic need to further my own DNA.”
Writer Sara Hussain’s primary reason stems from family illnesses. “Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, mental illness – you name it, and my family has it. Having grown up with these things, and having some ailments myself, I don’t want to pass it on out of a narcissistic need to further my own DNA,” she says.
She was also pleasantly surprised to have found a great ally in her mother, who defended them against stereotypical expectations.
Hussain has a solution to all the supposed disadvantages of not wanting kids – “Get a dog.” She’s already given her parents four furry grandchildren.
“I think it’s very important not to pit women against each other based on if they want to have kids or not.”
For singer-songwriter and founder of Pen Paper Dreams Amanda Sodhi, not wanting a child came from her aversion to bringing a life into a toxic world, and the toll that giving birth takes on a woman.
But her relatives couldn’t wrap their heads around the news. “They advised me to wait until after marriage to tell the man so that he’s ‘trapped,'” she recalls.
But it’s not just the older generation that has trouble grappling with her choice. “I’ve dated a musician who told me I was selfish and that it is my ‘duty’ as a woman to procreate,” she recalls.
Sodhi is open to the idea of adoption, but only “if I can truly offer the child a non-toxic environment and am ready both emotionally and financially. It’s amazing how there are more rules to adopt a pet than to bring a child into the world.”
What irks Sodhi is how this topic pits women against each other. “Motherhood is a personal choice, not an obligation. If someone truly wants to bring a baby into this world, that’s their individual decision. No one should be bullied into it or shamed into it,” she signs off
*Name changed upon contributor’s request.