I don’t want children.

Try saying it out loud. I dare you! I know, I know, I’m sorry. It sounds so dirty. It’s probably the world’s most misunderstood statement. It’s DEFINITLY the world’s LEAST accepted statement. My name is Dominique. I’m 31. I’m married. I’m educated. I’m well-traveled. I have a good job. I own a home. My car is paid off. I’d say I pretty much have my shit together.

I don’t want children.

Women who choose to not have children often bare the stigma that they are selfish. “Selfish” by definition (ref: Google): adjective, lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. Wow. That’s a pretty serious accusation. I don’t think I decided to not have children. For me, it’s relatively simple. It’s something I’ve always known, in my bones, for as long as I can remember. It was my truth. My Barbies were going on road trips in their pink convertible; they were not raising families. Growing up I wanted to be a teacher. Then, I may have toyed with the idea of becoming an interior designer or architect. I never dreamt of being a mother.

People don’t want to hear that you don’t want children. People you know. People you don’t know. People you just met. Many don’t realize how INVASIVE the question can be. “Are you guys thinking about having kids?” These conversations leave me completely vulnerable, every time. I feel scrutinized, naked on a stage, in front of thousands of people. This constant need to explain and DEFEND myself is exhausting. “You are still young; you’ll change your mind.” – No, no I won’t. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll end up alone?” – I’m sorry… was that a real question? “Do you not like children?” – Of course I like children! “Oh… You won’t have them or can’t have them?” – Who are you and did you really just ask me that!? “Does your husband know?” – No, he doesn’t know. We got married but NEVER talked about it. OF COURSE HE KNOWS! And guess what? He’s onboard with the whole no-kid thing we have going on.

We travel. A LOT. We built the life we live because we do not want children. Not the other way around. Travel was not a consolation prize. I was lucky enough to find someone like me, someone with whom to share this life of mine and make it ours. When I travel, I’m the best version of myself. I’m happy. I’m free.

I have 5 nieces and nephews (6 in a few months)! My heart melts when my sister-in-law tells me my nephew thinks I’m the coolest aunt because I showed him how to play Candy Crush and that I’m really good at Play-Doh. I couldn’t be prouder listening to my 12-year old niece carry a conversation in English with my husband. He always told me she would learn English before he learns any French. He was right.

Raising tiny humans is no joke. Choosing not to be a parent isn’t selfish. But choosing to be a parent is completely SELFLESS. I ADMIRE parenthood. I honestly do not know where it comes from and how one does it. All I know is that I don’t have it. I don’t. It’s not in me. It’s not in my nature.

I pray for the day where opting out of parenthood will no longer be taboo. Where we, especially women, can respect choices that may not be the same as our own. Because at the end of the day, the only problem with not wanting to have children is how much others take issue with it.