Thania is from Arizona and a newspaper designer and child free by choice. In her spare time Thania is the creator of Subculture Recall a YouTube channel where she does DIY and craft projects. Thania says “I want to inspire Arts & Crafts and have a community of people, I want to create a space for people where I can make them happy.” @subculturerecall
Anotherhood is about turning up the volume of the voices of women who do not have children, can you tell us why you wish to share your story with Anotherhood?
I am 27 and last year I decided that I didn’t want to have children. People would ask me, “When are you having children?”
Coming from Mexican family, it’s very family oriented. You go to college, get married, have children. In my family there’s no one who is childfree by choice. I didn’t have examples of that.
I always felt a pressure, I felt a little bit of insecurity every time it was brought up it brought anxiety, because I just didn’t know.
I want to share my story because I feel like there’s hardly anyone in my community, at my age, being Mexican sharing the feelings towards not wanting children. It’s just always assumed in my culture that you have to have children.
I want to help women who are in that position that I was on the fence – make them feel that it’s ok to not want children.
We need more stories like that because sometimes we can feel so isolated and alone in our decision and that’s what I sought out. And I didn’t really find other women in my position who are immigrants from Mexico in that same sort of position.
Can you tell us what was happening when you realised you didn’t want children?
I felt like the older I got, the less I wanted children. I felt like an oddball and I did a lot of soul searching. I went to the Childfree reddit and I read people’s stories and it connected with me. I did a lot of researching too, of women who chose to be Childfree and it just kind of clicked with me.
When my husband turned 30, we thought that would be the age that we would figure it out. He was always on the fence too, but he said “You know it’s not up to me, it’s up to you. Whatever you decide, I’m on board with.”
That opened me up to be able to say that I don’t feel like having children. And it was a huge relief to me.
Do you find specifically within your culture the pressure to have children?
I’m not sure if you get the same questions, but in our culture when our parents get older, we take care of them. That’s expected of us. In Mexican culture we dont’ send them to a home, so I always get the question “Who’s gonna take care of you?”
And I don’t know who’s gonna take care of me, but I can’t put that pressure on my children! That’s not the only reason to have children. That’s kind of selfish in my opinion. You can’t hold your children to that.
I hope that by the time I might need looking after I’ve created enough connections with the people in my life that they will care for me in a sense, but I’m not going to put that weight on anyone.
I imagine when I am old I will be living in one house with my friends, like Golden Girls!
What has been your experience in sharing your journey of not having children with those who are important to you?
I “came out” to my parents last year. I had to because there was always the question “Oh when are you gonna get pregnant?”
And it was sort of a joke! I would say to my mom “I have something to tell you,” and she’d be like “You’re pregnant!?” and I would say, “No.” So we had to tell them. But it was hard, and I was scared.
We told my husband’s parents first. They were very open about it, they know that we love to travel and the freedom to do what we want, whenever we want, especially sleep. Having children just didn’t fit into our lifestyle. So I feel like they were starting to notice that we weren’t gonna have children.
With my parents it was a mixed reaction. At first they weren’t sure how we could decide that. For them, having children was LIFE, it was their goals and aspirations. But for us it’s just not, parenthood has never been in line with our dreams.
You did a New Years post on your instagram where you talked about being present more and also about living your childfree life can you share a little more about that?
I’m always planning ahead and looking toward the future, but sometimes I forget to give time to the people who are here like my sisters and my family.
That’s why I hate it when people say, “Don’t you want a family?” I HAVE a family. I have my parents and my partner, and dogs and that’s my family. I want to be present and give that time right now. You can’t buy back time. Once it comes it goes.
I’m loving my life, I recently looked at my husband and my dogs cuddling and I truly thought, “This is everything I want.” There was nothing that I was missing, I have everything I need.
I wonder has choosing not to have children impacted the relationships with those around you?
For my closest friends, no they were super supportive about it. My closest friend has four children she loves having kids, she was like, “That’s what’s best for you, no one should obligate you to have children. You should do what’s best for your life.”
Our generation is more understanding in that sense. Also, being in America raising children is very expensive and our health care is not the best.
When my husband and I would ask ourselves “If we had 1 million dollars would we still have children?” the answer was still no.
My friends know that I’ll be the forever Tia, or the Aunt to their kids. And I’m happy to be that.
I love that you say that you “came out,” because it is a big decision. I think in sharing it, you’re empowering other women, saying that it’s OK, it’s actually the norm for some.
I definitely want to let women know that they have a decision. I’m very pro choice, and believe that if you want to have 5 children, that’s fine. And if you want to have no children, that’s fine too. It’s up to us to decide if we want to become mothers or not. But you shouldn’t feel like you’re stuck to one choice. And that’s what I felt for a long time – that I had to get pregnant, and had to have the experience. And it was an experience that I didn’t want, or didn’t care for.
I just read that our generation has the lowest birth rate, and I think a lot of women are being more conscious of how having children impacts us and impacts the environment.
It’s like we’re breaking a chain in the cycle of, go to college, get married and having children.
Was there one specific point when you realised that you didn’t want children? Or were things happening in your life that led up to it?
When we got our second dog from a local shelter, I really felt like “This is our family.” And it felt complete.
When I see my husband and the dogs together I know it’s not a traditional family, but it IS my family.
When I was still in my hypothetical mindset about having children I felt like I was hitting so many roadblocks thinking about where I would live, and taking care of another life. There’s so much to think about. My decision has alleviated that stress for me.
Have there been any real challenges in deciding not to have children?
I’m afraid of not being able to relate to women my age who talk about their children. It’s hard not to be in the club. The saddest part is not being able to relate to your closest friends who have decided to be mothers. My friends, and even my mother and I will never relate on that level. That makes me sad, but it speaks to how my decision relates to other people and not to me.
Talking to people who aren’t in my family about it is hard. I recently had a conversation with a woman who kept asking me when I was having children. I was happy to explain, but she kept telling me, “That’s not life!” and that “Being a woman means having children.”
Maybe she had never met anyone who decided not to have children. But she kind of made me feel bad about it. And at the end of the conversation she said, “The next time I see you I want to see you pregnant!” It made me very upset.
With some family members I get some remarks like, “Oh your parents would love to be grandparents.” Just little small, or snide remarks that made me feel like I’m doing a disservice to my family.
My husband’s brother passed away when he was younger, so he’s an only child now. If his parents were going to be grandparents it would be through him. So it’s an added pressure to feel like you’re breaking that cycle.
When I would think about reasons to have children, that would always come up. It’s that Catholic guilt! Not fulfilling my parents, or my partner’s parents’ dreams of becoming grandparents. That’s been the biggest challenge for me.
The hardest part was knowing how my decision was going to affect the rest of my family.
Do you feel that your decision to not have children has impacted your relationship to your body at all?
I’ve definitely looked up what happens to women who don’t have children. Like, what happens to their bodies and couldn’t find much there.
I hate periods, I have really bad PMS and I think “man, I’ll never have that little chunk of time where I don’t have my period for 9 months!” So, in a way I’m looking forward to menopause.
Honestly though, I think I do need to find a more permanent form of birth control. And having a Plan B in place, because I know anything could happen. And it makes me think that there should be some sort of long term birth control for men too other than just a vasectomy!
For the most part, I’m just happy that I don’t have to push a watermelon through my vagina! It’s reduced A LOT of anxiety for me. I’m really happy that I won’t have to go through that. I don’t doubt that it’s a beautiful experience. But it’s just something that I do not want to put my body through.
You can’t experiment with being a mother. You can’t “see how it goes.” There’s no return receipt.
We have spoken to some of the negatives, but for you what are some of the positives around not wanting to have kids?
Instead of feeling like I had a door shut on me, I felt like so many doors have opened I feel like there are so many possibilities without children.
I’m doing YouTube now, but I also love to sew, and eventually I want to be a full-time content creator and business owner.
Honestly I’ve never been hit with that question, because people often equate it to a door being shut.
It feels like we’ve hit that fork in the road, and made a decision. I can go back to school or open up a business or go live in a different country for a year. For me it’s a lot of opportunities.
In a way it feels like in our Anotherhoodness, we’re kooky in a way, maybe oddballs a little. I am proud of women who are childfree by choice. Because it is a hard choice. You’re going against the status quo.
For thousands of years womens’ role was just to have children. Just to procreate. I’m so thankful for the suffragettes, thankful for birth control, thankful for the women who have paved the path for us to be able to make this choice.
My husband hardly ever gets asked if he wants children. It always comes down to me. And I tell him that I hope I don’t seem like I’m the bad guy, that I’m taking the opportunity from him.
I do feel like we are breaking a link. My great-grandmother had 12 children. My grandmother had 5 children. My mom had 3 children. And I will now have 0 children, but 2 dogs!!
There are a lot of children in my life that I give a lot of love to. And I’m a firm believer that it takes a village, and I’m grateful to be a part of that and help out.
If you could change one thing about how not having children is viewed, what would you wish to change?
I would like that when childfree by choice people tell their people to hear the response it’s more like, “That’s awesome. Good for you. What do you plan to do now?” rather than, “Why?” or “You’re gonna regret it.”
I would love people to be more celebrated for it, the same way people do babyshowers and baby announcements. My husband and I joke about it and say that maybe we should do a childfree announcement. “We’re expecting NONE!”
A lot of women decide later on in life not to have children, but I think there is something unique about making that decision in your mid-twenties. There are a lot of people who know from very early in life that they didn’t want to be parents.
I want to encourage more childfree by choice people to come out to their families. It’s good to break that taboo and it sets boundaries. It feels good to come out, it feels good to set that boundary.
Anotherhood is about connecting women with shared experiences. Can you share anything you’ve found that’s helped you embrace your life and your decision?
Reading stories from the Childfree reddit community helped me connect with people in different parts of the world who were sharing the same experiences helped me a lot. We ARE Anotherhood. We’re choosing another type of being nurturers. Even though we’re not nurturing children, we are nuturing ourselves and people around us, our family and friends. So it is Anotherhood.
I loved reading stories about women who were already past childbearing age looking back and saying that they didn’t regret it. I have FOMO, so I’m curious if I’ll get to that age, will I regret it? But I don’t think I will.
My partner has helped me a lot too. Talking about it, and letting me decide. I have the womb, and I love that he encouraged whatever I decided and was supportive of that.
I think it’s great that you’re doing this blog so women can read other people’s stories so they don’t feel so alone.
Has there been any books or podcasts that come to mind that you have found inspiring?
I love My Favorite Murder, and they’re both childfree. And seeing two badass women talk about it and mention it is very encouraging for me. I also love Oprah’s podcast. She made a conscious decision to not have children. She lives a very fulfilling life, while motivating others to live their best life. I definitely aspire to be in her position someday.
Instagram has helped a lot, I follow the #childfreebychoice hashtag and I follow @respetfullychildfree
I’ve found a facebook group also called Respectfully Childfree which I like.