Thoughts on Parenting from a Childfree Woman

I started blogging about being childfree in 2018. It was during that time that I was able to digest and reflect on all the reasons people have children or choose the other path in life. I explored all sorts of topics, and listened to a lot of stories. Ultimately, it led me to focusing in on conscious choice – the idea that every decision in your life should be a conscious commitment.

Eventually what I found is that the conversations were sometimes too hostile. Two communities divided and completely unsupportive of the other. I found it to be a negative space that I just no longer could support. Childfree women were openly hateful toward children and parents were openly shaming childfree women. I decided this was not the type of energy I wanted to take part in every day.

After reflecting more on this and thinking about what I really wanted for my own future I realized there was a lot to break down. Maybe childfree isn’t the answer. Maybe my problem was that people weren’t using conscious choice in their decision to have kids and that made parenting a little off putting to me. What if I could do things differently and inspire others to do the same? I started to mold a new purpose to my blogging… sharing the ideas and wisdom I uncover throughout my journey of seeking knowledge and spiritual growth.

I listen to motivational videos every day… every day! It gets me going and reminds me why I am working so hard. One particular video got me thinking… Parenting is something you must prepare for and commit to. We literally must train for the act of raising children the way we train for sports or a fitter body. If we want to succeed and make this a fruitful decision, then we must be serious about preparation.

Life is a playoff game. We only get one chance at making each day the best it can be. It absolutely matters what you eat, what you think, what you prepare for.

If my commitment is to have to children then I have to wake up every day committed to making their life fantastic. The only way that will happen is by waking up every day with the attitude to create that life for them. For making myself the best I can be for them.

Teaching them. Growing them. Building them. Making them the best they can be that’s what we choose when we choose parenting. So, that’s why it’s important to choose excellence in our preparation. Choosing to be a parent is a life choice to be committed to something greater than ourselves, to shaping a new generation.

Perhaps we should think about preparation and how we train for these big moments in our life. Are we taking the steps to be our best? Are we asking ourselves hard enough questions each day? Are we pushing ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually enough to create growth?

If we answer no, then are we truly prepared for the responsibilities of parenting?

Think bigger…

A

Apologies to the Mommy and Daddy Bloggers

There once was a time when I thought I didn’t know if I could ever understand why parents do what they do. I would get angry about all the children who didn’t have support systems, were kept unhealthy or unfed, or just didn’t get attention because their parents didn’t realize the cost of having children.

Then, I realized I was putting all parents into one category. I started to hate on the idea of parenting and looking at all the reasons why not to have kids for the sake of demonizing the choice. Yes, I know that’s completely unfair.

So, here’s my apology to the Mommy and Daddy Bloggers and how our Community will work to encapsulate and support all types of families – those childfree and those child filled.

Sorry to the Moms and Dads

The choice to become a parent isn’t an easy choice to all. Maybe it’s an intuition or a deep desire that encouraged you to make that first admission to your significant other or maybe just to yourself out loud. Some just know they want to be moms and dads, others aren’t sure until it clicks one day.

What I think I forgot to think about over the last few years is that the decision to become a parent is basically the same decision path of choosing to be child free. You go over the details painstakingly. Will I be able to afford this lifestyle? How will I raise a good human? It’s heart wrenching, nauseating (literally) and then there’s the birth. For those women choosing to put their bodies through all the work to have a baby, that’s a big decision.

So, where did I go wrong in putting you aside? I honestly can’t go back to the single moment, but I am so truly sorry. Your choices, your struggles, your journeys are vital to our society. They are arguably more important than the choices to be childfree. You are the reason that generations will continue. Your kids are our future and it starts with the decisions you make.

How the Community Supports You

As I was working through what this community stands for, I couldn’t stop thinking about the selfless actions of parents. The decisions that you make every day to be a good parent and the choices you have to make to ensure it all works out for their future is incredible. I started to realize that parents, whether birth parents, adoptive, foster, or even co-parents, need support systems!

The goal of the Intently Community is to drive conversations around conscious choice and intentional living, and how those ways of living impact our families, careers, and lifestyles.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share your story about how you came to the decision to have kids? I think more people would love to hear it! By sharing these journeys, we can help others on their path to finding happiness and satisfaction out of life.

This is a place where all parents are welcome!

Motherhood vs Womanhood

Let’s break free from the idea that the word woman is synonymous with the word mother. Can we finally please teach children that just because girls were born with the instruments to give birth, they don’t have to give birth?

“Pro-Choice” apparently only applies to life or death. We don’t consider the choice to become a parent.

Finding Happiness in Being a Woman

Being a woman isn’t easy. If you’re out there reading this as a woman, you get it. There’s the awkwardness of being a young girl, learning about your body, learning about love, dealing with emotions and hormones, and so much more. It’s not something that is easy to deal with and those that have truly embraced their womanhood – you are goddesses!

My thoughts are that being a woman is a perfect storm of so many great things mixed with so many difficult things. But, I believe it makes us stronger. (Sorry guys.) One of those difficult things we deal with is giving birth. Our bodies have all the instruments to do so. It’s something that even as children our bodies start to prepare for. Each month, our bodies go through cycles that give us a new opportunity to get pregnant. It’s really incredible when you think about it.

But, what if I don’t want to use the instruments I was given? What if I want to continue living independent of the physiological time bomb that is my womb that prepares itself for new life each month?

Challenging biology can feel a little shameful sometimes, I’ll admit. It’s not easy to tell people of my choice. However, this decision to choose womanhood over motherhood has helped me see something more beautiful about who I am and what my relationship with my husband stands for.

Choosing to not become a parent yet or maybe ever has been a road of conflicting feelings and emotions. My body says one thing, but my brain and my heart tell me another. This conflict has created the perfect breeding ground for discovering happiness in being a woman. I am a woman with choice. I am a woman who is grateful for the circumstances in which I have to make this choice.

The Real Definition of Womanhood

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from the bold and beautiful Jennifer Aniston. In 2016, she did a brave thing and wrote an opinion piece for Huffpost entitled “For the Record”. In this piece, she set the record straight about all the tabloids creating rumors about her being pregnant. And, she wrote a beautiful commentary on what having choice and freedom is all about, especially as a woman.

We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.

Jennifer Aniston, For The Record, Huffpost

People will always fall to stereotypes and generalities. Our human reaction is to always have a bias. So, for those that believe in first comes marriage, then comes baby, it’s likely they will always be the ones asking when the babies are coming. But, it’s time to change the conversation.

I highly recommend reading Jennifer’s commentary and if you feel so emboldened, help spread the word that womanhood does not mean motherhood.

What Childfree by Choice Means

Instagram bloggers talk about a childfree afternoon, or a child free vacation, but it means something completely different than “child free by choice.”

Childfree by choice means choosing to not have children, whether at the moment, for a period of time or forever.  

Why “By Choice”? 

By choice is not to be confused with another reason some people don’t have children. Most commonly, this reason is involuntarily due to infertility. “By choice” is different because it’s a decision, not forced. These are very different meanings and uses of the term childfree. I have no understanding of what this feels like and the decisions or thoughts that someone has when dealing with infertility, so I want to make very clear that being childfree by choice is something very different. 

Now, it’s possible for someone who can’t have children to also be childfree by choice. Adoption or surrogacy are two viable and fantastic options for people who want children and can’t have them physically themselves. But, there may be couples out there who can’t have children and also choose not to have them.  

Does Childfree by Choice Have to be Forever?

The great part about being human and living in a country that gives us freedom of choices is that a decision we make doesn’t necessarily have to live with us forever. Accordingly, a life without children doesn’t have to be a forever decision. Unless you’ve decided to have a procedure that prevents children forever, options and modern medicine have made it possible to have children much later in life.

Conscious choice is a big topic of discussion and something I won’t get into here. Just know that the decisions you make now set you up for the future you want. If in your future, you know it’s the right time to have children, maybe you’ve changed your mind and found that it’s the direction you want to go, that’s ok. But, the goal is to make sure you are ready for that big decision. Really think about what your life will become with kids. If you still want to go forward with it, then you’ve done the soul searching and you’re committed.

What if I change my mind and it’s too late?

Ah, the age old question and fear of making a decision you’ll regret. This is where serious feelings start to creep into the conversation. No amount of joking around helps cover this terrible feeling for me. Our human nature compels us to feel this way. Hence, I’m sure you feel the same way or have felt the same way before.

To be honest, a lot of people fear making a regretful decision. Read this article, if you’re one of these people. Truthfully, it’s one of my main reasons for not committing to a child-free forever. Talk about commitment issues. This is a big factor. 

But, this article gives me some power. My favorite takeaway is that by making choices we may regret in the future, we are demonstrating the ultimate freedom of making our own life. Hernandes, writer of this Lifehack article says, “Every decision gives you the opportunity to take credit for creating your own life.” Isn’t that so beautifully true?

How Do I Choose to be Child Free?

It’s simple. Do something about it. Make a statement and don’t hide it. Above all, talking about this choice with your significant other or someone you are in a serious relationship with is an important step. You should never hide your desire to be childfree, if this is something you’re serious about. Undoubtedly, children are an important decisions in relationships. Consequently, this decision should be a mutual agreement. 

Creating Confidence Through Honesty

I know it’s difficult to talk about it with people. Trust me. The questions about when I will have children have continued to come in steadily since I was in my early twenties. I have a feeling these questions will never end. But, it’s my hope that through this blog and more publicizing of the ability to choose, more people will learn to accept it. 

Getting passed the first few odd looks and concerned “oh, you’ll change your mind” statements is the hardest part. The judgements will come, as we live in a world where through the baby boomer generation people just had kids, no questions. But, we have to stay confident. We need to stand firm in our decisions. We must be proud of the decisions we make about our bodies and our lives. Otherwise, who are we really living for? 

Start With Someone You Don’t Know

In the end, talk about it with someone you can trust or someone who isn’t close to you and your situation. An unbiased listener is always a great way to start building confidence.

Feel free to drop me a message and tell us your story. We believe in choices and whatever your choice is, it’s special – it’s yours.