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Why I've decided to be child-free

When I was little, I had this idea that I would have children one day. It wasn’t really out of any real desire to have them—I just sort of assumed that everyone grew up, got married, and had children. There was never a burning desire to be a mother, nor really even a desire to be pregnant. In fact, the whole idea grossed me out. The morning sickness, the weight gain, the idea of having a little being inside of me; it all gave me the creeps. Why would I want a little alien growing inside of me and sucking my life force?

As I got older, I was exposed to more children. My sister was born when I was just about to turn nine, and I got to deal with all the lovely things that went with that age gap: changing diapers, cleaning spit up, bathing her and listening to her cry when she was falling asleep. I loved my sister to death, but I was quickly tired of dealing with the “baby” problems, and was glad that it wasn’t solely my responsibility.

At age twelve, my first job was babysitting. I used to watch three boys between the ages of two and five, who were rambunctious, active children. We would go outside and play, watch movies, and play video games, as well as build Legos and read books. I would go home exhausted, and glad that I could give them back to their parents at the end of the day.

That babysitting gig led to watching more kids, and eventually segued into volunteering with my mother at the after-school program she worked at. While I still loved kids—goofing off has always been my forte—the “problem” children scared me. I was already super strict on the children, imposing more rules than almost any of the other staff. I didn’t think that I could handle dealing with the children who had behavior issues, or the ones who didn’t listen very well.

I still deal with children frequently. I taught swim lessons up until last summer, so I was constantly around children. I have endless patience, and I can earn the trust of almost any child, no matter how scared they may be. I am most definitely a nurturer, and squashing my instinct to mother people is a challenge on a daily basis. I can strike up a conversation in public with almost any child and have them at ease and chatting along back with me.

And yet, I still don’t want kids.

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