Stories are written by people who don’t necessarily work or study in fields related to sexology. They convey emotions, perceptions, and subjective perspectives. Opinions voiced in the stories are those of their authors, and in no way represent the position of Les 3 sex*.
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Translated by Manon Defrasne
I’m 35 years old. I started taking a real interest in the childfree movement about a year ago.
Before, I did not really know that not wanting children was a thing. As a child and later as a teenager, I was so brainwashed by advertisements glorifying maternity—and by the famous expression “and they lived happily ever after and had many children” in Walt Disney movies—that I’ve always thought there was no other option.
I have always thought of maternity as an obligation. For a long time, I waited for the Calling. The Calling with capital C. Like God’s calling. But, in reality, arts, friendship and love already filled that space.
I thrived, and I still do today, as a woman in several areas of my life, and I’m only 35. That’s wonderful, isn’t it?
One day, my partner expressed disinterest in our “children” plan, even though the plan had never really been outlined. There you go, problem solved. Now, it’s all well and good to assume not to want children, but it also has to be revealed, to be said without taboos or fear.
Here is where my fight begins.
I usually feel compelled to lie and to tell my relatives that I want children, just to avoid their remarks. I tried to justify my choice till I couldn’t anymore, learning by heart the same set phrases such as: “I don’t want kids, for now,” or “I love children, but I don’t plan on having one right away,” always leaving an open door.
Should I keep pretending till my body shows the image of a white-haired menopausal woman, in order to be left in peace?
I want all women who do not wish to be labelled as “mom” to be able to exist without having to be judged by their relatives. I want the childfree option to be as valid and gratifying as the childbearing option.
Despite all that, I am still not able to openly say that I do not want children, without giving some reason, except when talking to my few childfree friends. I would also like to break taboos and preconceived ideas that are usually conveyed when talking about “childfree by choice.” First of all, it has been said over and over again, but the fact that we do not want children doesn’t mean we are mean people, nor emotionless robots. I am a complete person, full of love, colours and feelings.
I would also like to have more childfree female role models, who could testify and/or openly talk about it. Of course, I read Corrine Maier’s book No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children. However, the subject is presented in a humorous way—and the author is a mother of two. For now, I mostly want to read books written by older women with no children who have never regretted their choice. I’m lacking role models.
In the future, I do not want the discussions on the choice of not having children to turn into a debate. I want our wombs to be free–sometimes even useless–without people being bothered by that.
For those who want to continue their reflection in this regard, I suggest they read Mona Chollet’s book Sorcières, la puissance invaincue des femmes, and the chapter “Le désir de la stérilité, pas d’enfant, une possibilité.”
All the stories written for the “Childfree: Between Freedom and Stigmatization” project are available below. Feel free to consult the entire collection to learn more about this reality.