I am the youngest of five and I recall as a child always loving the holidays. It was so much fun to be surrounded by my brother and three sisters. I loved it so much that I decided that I wanted five children when I grew up and got married. I felt that five was the magic number for a fun, loving family. But as I got older and started deepening my understanding of who I am and what I want from this life, my goals around family and children started to change.
As I matured, I saw that having and raising one kid was not an easy thing, let alone five like I had thought I wanted. In my mind, I only wanted little girls so I could do their hair and dress them up. I knew that I did not want to teach my son how to play football, basketball or baseball because I was never good at those sports and I never enjoyed playing them as a kid. In talking to many of my male friends, they wanted little boys so they would be like them and to carry on the family name. For me, that wasn’t very important.
Now that I am older, I realized that I suppressed my feelings of being attracted to men. So, I decided in 1992 to live my life as a same-gender-loving black man. The funny thing is that coming out didn’t really change my feelings for having kids. The only thing that changed was I wanted two instead of five. I felt that I would meet the right man and we would have two beautiful little girls to raise into women.
Let’s fast forward to 2019. We now have many same-gender-loving men and women getting married and having babies. I personally have many friends who have decided to have kids in their later years and I applaud them; but what I realized in the last few years is that it’s not for me and I am not ashamed to admit.
I was at a party recently and met a guy who had three adult kids and he wanted one more with his future partner. As we chatted, he popped the question: “Do you want kids?” I said without hesitation, “No!” The look on his face was like I had cussed him out. He preceded to ask why and look at me with what I call, judgy eyes. I was not ashamed to tell him my reasons why. We continued in this discussion and he thought that he was going to change my mind. Even though we disagreed on the topic, we still exchanged numbers. I’m fine with dating a man who has kids already from a past relationship; but I am not open to actively try and have kids of my own. However, in every phone conversation we had, the subject of having kids was discussed. After some time, I knew it wasn’t going to work. We met for dinner and drinks one evening and I said to him, “I am not the man for you. You want a partner who wants to have a kid and that’s not me.” I am not ashamed that that is not my trajectory!
As I reflected on our conversations, it made me think of women who are made to feel bad because they do not want to have kids. No one should feel marginalized or ashamed for their life decisions. Not every person wants to get married and have kids and that’s okay. We need to stop shaming people for the lives that they choose, especially when they don’t agree with us. I don’t feel like I need to list all the reasons I don’t want kids. I don’t want them and if that answer is not good for you, that is not my burden to bear. As long as we are kind and respectful to ourselves and those around us, to each their own!