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IN HER OPINION: You Can Say You Don’t Want Children

Dear Friend,

Yes, you who say you don’t want to have children,

It is okay not to want to have children. In fact, I admire you, because you make up the small percentage who are honest to themselves and have refused to be bullied into convention by society in this regard.

Not everyone was meant to procreate. Not everyone chooses to procreate. It is okay to acknowledge that and live with that choice.

People will say things like, “If your parents didn’t have you, will you be alive to say this?”

Ignore illogical statements like this one. Because these people, they won’t EVER help you raise that child. Their job is to make illogical statements.

Some will say, “You will die old and lonely.”

This particular set of people does not know you, but are so certain that someday down the years, you’ll regret it. Maybe you will. Then again, maybe you won’t.

I visit old people’s homes and see men and women living out their last days in the midst of strangers, when their children are alive and well. Some have been abandoned because a prophet told their children that they are witches and wizards.

These people telling you this, they think it can’t happen to them?

They’re wrong.

I’ve seen a neighbour lose four children in a fire, way after menopause. It’s called life; it happens. Children do not guarantee a life devoid of loneliness. They don’t guarantee happiness either.

There will come some that will carry the bible on their heads and tell you that God sent us to multiply. Never mind that they can barely feed and clothe their own multiplications. Never mind that their bibles are only used for bullying others into accepting their point of view. Because if they bothered to look inside that Bible, they’d know different.

Many who insist you procreate don’t even know why they do so. For them, it is the way things have been and must continue to be.

They don’t know you. They won’t ever contribute to your life in anyway, except to insist you do what you don’t want to do.

Ignore them.

They are like those people who tell you not to adopt, because the child may be the child of an armed robber and will become like his father. Like we don’t have armed robbers that come from two-parent homes.

Some will call you selfish.

If that selfishness means you won’t bring a child to the world, who will be raised by the television because you’re always busy, who will feel no love because you’re emotionally unavailable, or whom you’re simply incapable of raising, then by all means, be selfish.

They will say you’re denying your parents of the joy of having grandchildren.

I say enough of the blackmail. Many of us have lived and are still living our lives based on what others want. Many of us are ruined because of this.

Study medicine. Marry a lawyer. Build a house in the village. Don’t pursue a career. Don’t move to Lagos. Stay close to home. Have four kids.

All these – just so that someone else can live their unfulfilled lives through you.

Grandchildren are good. But if you have to lose your joy and peace just so your parents can have them, it’s not worth it.

There are too many suffering children, especially here in Nigeria. The majority are not the results of rapes or unplanned pregnancies. No, many of them come from homes with two parents, where they should never have had children, or should have stopped at one or two.

Dear friend,

Take the time to assure the well-meaning people that you’re not crazy or stupid. Be kind, but be firm.

You have a right to your decision. Exercise it without guilt or fear.

And if you regret it in the long run, don’t crucify yourself over it. We all have our regrets, some secret, some not so secret.

Own your regret without shame.

Written by Eketi

About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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  1. ??? ??? You must feel so vindicated by this piece, Walter. Eketi has given you the vindication needed to stand against the social media storm you raised over those ‘children are selfish’ remarks of yours.

  2. Your body dey sweet you because Eketi Don give you validation? Don’t worry, we’ll take her down too.

  3. Franklyne Ikediasor

    My name is Franklyne Ikediasor and I endorse this message!

    I don’t want to have kids ever! Yes I had a happy childhood, no I had no emotional trauma nor abandonment issues. Parenting is just not one of the things on my to-do list.

    Whenever I say this at a Nigerian dinner table, people look at me like I am the Wizard of Oz and I laugh. I didn’t have the courage to say this openly until a few years ago, because the older you get the less you care about crap!

    Many people are messed up in this life because they were raised by people who didn’t want to be parents but we forced them to be anyway and they becane emotionally unavailable parents.

    Kids are great, I just don’t want any of mine! I chose my path, and decide how I want to walk it. Selfish? Absolutely, but you see to be happy in this life you need a sprinkle of the selfish dust every now and then!

    • Are you saying you don’t want to have kids because there are messed up kids out there raised by parents with no business being parents?

    • Anyibaba, I noticed the oncoming shade in your comment o. Lol
      And I’m with you in that question. The decision people make not to have children is usually personal. Yours…this rhetoric about the impoverished children out there… Please tell me that’s not your reason for not wanting kids. No one is that noble.

  4. Moboluwaduro Oshodi

    It’s just that I have come to realise that decisions aren’t absolute.
    I would like to believe that there are some beliefs that have changed about you in 10 years.
    Change is CONSTANT. And in 10 years you might have an experience or experiences that might make you reconsider your stand on kids.
    I don’t like children a lot too. But sometimes I see them and I love how they make their parents happy and I know I definitely want to feel that happy by a miniature human.
    Looks cool
    And as regards ‘No one questions the decision made by those who want children. No one says to them they might change their minds n not want them anymore’ I have this to say I am not judging the decision to not have kids. I am just saying put room for change. People change. You probably have changed from who you used to be decades ago and the thing is you probably still will. And one of those changes might be wanting children
    Well the reason no one probably questions those that say that want children is because let’s face it, it’s prejudiced but we live in a world that sees having children as a norm and sees those that don’t want to have children as ‘broken’ in a way
    Several experiences made me realise that you can’t be sure how you will feel in the future! Feelings are emotions and emotions are subject to the wiles of change.

  5. Well written piece.
    In my opinion, i think that the people who have made the decision not to have kids may eventually feel differently about it… or not! Either ways, it’s their decision to make. Whether they change their minds or not.
    I concur with Franklyne Ikediasor. Having kids is a huge responsibility, and if you don’t feel like you can handles it, please don’t.

    PS: I want kids. I love them. They turn me into a big pile of mush.

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