But He Wants Kids: On Dating When I've Chosen a Childfree Life

by Shanese R. Caton

When I got my first menstrual period one month after my 10th birthday, I knew I did not want children. At that age it was a matter of not being able to imagine going through the physical process of carrying and giving birth to a child. Almost 15 years later and I still feel the same way, except my reasons have changed. I still cringe at the idea of giving birth, but I am in no position to care for a child to ensure that he or she will live a well-balanced life. I do not want my child to wonder if there is going to be food on the dinner table or how much longer we have at that table until the landlord kicks us out.

By no means is this shade to the mothers who are not living the life of the rich and the famous and raising children. I just know that I would never want a child to live a life that was anything remotely close to what I experienced in poverty.

About 4 months ago. I was reintroduced to a high school classmate, and we hit it off. We laughed, we loved, and we respected each other’s space. We have been dating with talks of starting a life together sometime after we both are more stable in our careers. In the meantime, we have been learning more about each other and supporting each other in our endeavors.

But after talks about what we both want for our futures it became very clear that we wanted two completely different things. He wants kids of his own and I prefer to remain childless with a low possibility of adoption in the future.

When I, a single, Black woman, tell others that I don’t want children, I am met with a barrage of questions asking why. They usually center around the notions that I hate kids, am barren, or will have a difficult marriage because I won’t have anything to offer my husband. His reasoning for having kids is centered around the thought that since he is able, he needs to have children and ensure his legacy is passed on - a feeling I do not share.

But he wants kids...

These arguments and narratives trouble me to my core. They stem from this notion that women naturally posses a nurturing gene that makes it their God-given responsibility to bare and care for children; it also asserts that men must ‘plant their seed’ or be fruitful in producing children. The mere fact that I possess a vagina and female sex organs does not make it my responsibility in life to have a child. The mere fact that he possesses a penis and male sex organs does not mean that he is obligated to have children either. I do not assume that all men and women who want women and men to reproduce feel like it is our jobs to do so, but that narrative influences how society treats childbearing.

So I chose not to have kids, and this is a decision that I do not see changing any time soon. Standing by my decision makes me question if I will ever find someone who feels the same way I do or respects my decision not to have children.

Although this means that I now have to move on and make room for the future bae, I can’t help but be disappointed after ending something with someone I love because of our difference of opinion.

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Shanese Caton is a natural hair vlogger, kindergarten teacher, and Trinity College alum. Follow her on youtube at youtube.com/napturallynesey.

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