Tyra Mariani is a former deputy chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Education, and she recently wrote an essay entitled, “I Chose Not To Have Children and I Couldn’t Be Happier.” As (you probably already guessed), it’s a piece on why Mariani — a 40-year-old woman — ultimately decided not to have kids.
But what makes the piece so noteworthy is that Mariani ends up dispelling a ton of myths and misperceptions that so often surround women who make the same choice, and also speaks to the fact that there were times in her life when she definitely thought maybe she would have kids.
“Throughout my life, I’ve been on again, off again, about the idea of having children of my own, but I’ve been mostly off. I’d meet a great guy, fall in love, then dream of having kids. I’d come up with names for my hypothetical children. If I had a son, I’d name him Caleb. If I had a daughter, her name would be Maya,” she wrote.
She went on to write,
“But somewhere along the line—sometimes while the relationship was still “good”—I’d start to change my mind. When it happened with my first boyfriend, I thought it was because of him. But when I changed my mind with other men, including my then husband, I began to realize it was me. I was the common denominator.”
She also speaks to the fact that a lot of people assume she doesn’t like kids just because she chose not to have them. “Not true! Love them! I’ve spent a significant portion of my life and career caring for and about them. […] I love spending time with children of all ages. I deeply cherish the time I’ve spent with my niece, nephews and godchildren, along with countless others while visiting schools and mentoring.”
She says the yearning, the overwhelming desire to be a mom, just never happened for her, and it can be hard to justify this in a world that so often makes women feel like their lives are leading up to this one thing (aka: kids), and that something somehow isn’t complete until it happens.
As Mariani wrote, “To be a complete woman is not necessarily to be a mother in a biological way with children under the same roof. I’m at peace and am liberated that this is what I want for my life.”
It’s incredibly refreshing to hear someone speak openly and honestly about this incredibly personal decision — hopefully it will make women in the same boat (or women who just still aren’t sure about the whole kid thing) a little more reassured that these are all totally normal and okay things to feel.
Can we get an AMEN?