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Reasons Some Women Choose to be Child-Free: Part 1

By HERWriter
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As a 20-year-old college student, most people don’t take me seriously when I say I don’t want children. Then again, there are many 20 year olds who already have children or are vigorously planning on having children within the next year or two, so why shouldn’t I be taken seriously?

Looking at myself, I have no actual desire to have children and don’t think I would be a great mother at all. I have depression, which definitely would complicate things, and I am a very busy person. I barely have time to spend with friends and family, let alone taking care of children. And I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.

With all that being said, there are many reasons why women decide not to have children. Because there are so many reasons, there will be a couple parts to this article.

The one odd reason I brought up is depression. Though many people might not consider this reason, it is substantial. For women who have depression, pregnancy can upset the hormonal balance even more and possibly cause a deeper depression than before. Women without regular depression can get postpartum or perinatal depression, so imagine what it would be like to be regularly depressed and then become pregnant.

Depression during pregnancy can cause problems with the pregnancy or delivery, including a premature birth and/or a baby with an unhealthy weight, according to www.womenshealth.gov. For those with postpartum depression, the baby may be neglected. Besides what depression can do to a baby, the mother can suffer greatly. Depression during and after pregnancy can lead to harmful habits that can hurt the mother and baby. For example, the mother might not sleep well, eat poorly, miss health appointments, lack energy and abuse alcohol and drugs (besides the regular symptoms and consequences of depression). Those with other mental disorders may have similar problems during and after pregnancy.

Another reason women may choose to not have children is because they don’t want to change their lifestyle. In fact, this seems to be a main reason, at least for women in several articles I have read. One opinion article by Polly Vernon states the above.

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EmpowHER Guest

Why is it that so many people think it is their business to question a woman's decision not to have children -- but never bother questioning a woman's decision to have them? Don't we all know too many women who shouldn't be mothers? The best reason not to have children is because you simply don't want them. I knew when I was 12 years old that I didn't want to have children, and now in late middle age have never regretted my decision. Indeed, I am grateful that I didn't allow myself to be pressed into producing children I would have resented.

January 19, 2010 - 8:13am

I can genuinely believe that there are people out there who really do not want children, nor should they be parents. At 20, though, there's plenty of room for a change of heart which is why people may not be taking you seriously.

I can understand people not wanting to change their party, independent lifestyle but to say that they don't want to have kids because of depression is actually predicting something that really may not happen at all. I wasn't depressed with my first before, during, or after and I am not depressed with this pregnancy. If you feel that because you already suffer from depression that this may make it worse-- ok, because it is possible. But for those with no history of depression, although still possible it is not usually assumed.

December 15, 2009 - 6:39am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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