Nancy’s Story

Nancy got in touch wanting to share her story with Anotherhood and we are delighted that Nancy took the time to share her thoughts on deciding not to have children.

Nancy shares her feelings and thoughts around how choosing not to have children can still be viewed as taboo subject, speaking to the reasons why her husband and her decided not to have children, covering subjects including the climate change and debunking the notion that all women will feel broody and want to have children.

We hope you enjoy this read as much as we have.

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?

Normalize childfree and childless women! There are so many women who cannot or simply do not want to be mothers for a multitude of reasons but it continues to be questioned and viewed as unusual. I personally identify as childfree, as it was a decision I have chosen to make and wholeheartedly celebrate. I wanted to share my story because there aren’t enough spaces for childfree by choice women to openly and freely discuss our choices and experiences. I think it is especially important for me to share this as a Latina woman, as our narratives often lack representation to begin with. 

 I hope that our stories not only lead to normalizing our existence as women without children, but also spark the realization that motherhood is a CHOICE and that we are capable of resisting these societal and often, patriarchal expectations if we feel like it’s the right thing for us. It’s crucial that society recognize that women without children are just as worthy of respect, and are capable of contributing in meaningful ways that do not revolve around being a mom. 

Can you share with us what was happening in your life when you realised you would not be having children?

I don’t think there was any particular thing going on at the moment in which my husband and I decided we weren’t going to have children, the realization that we did not really want to be parents just happened over time. Like a lot of other women, I grew up with the presumption that I would someday become a mother and never really questioned it. I come from a decent sized Mexican family and many of my cousins had children pretty young so I feel like I was always surrounded by little ones and the idea of motherhood being the norm for women in our culture. 

I think there’s a common misconception that when women reach their 20s and 30s, we develop an emotional desire for a child, or baby fever. Well, I’ll definitely say that’s not true and I think it was more of the opposite for me once I started to realize the physical and emotional challenges that come with having a baby.  The first couple of years my husband and I were together we talked about having children, but I don’t think either one of us was seriously considering whether or not this was something we truly wanted, it was just the thing that was supposed to happen after getting married. My husband and I began having more intentional conversations about it and really just came up with SO many reasons why we both did not want or need to be parents. When it comes down to it though, our biggest reason for making this choice and what would likely stop us from ever changing our mind is climate change and the uncertainty of the future on this planet. We see climate change as a pretty serious threat and the impacts we are already experiencing are sad and terrifying, not knowing how bad things could be in just a few years is even scarier. Furthermore, I think that living under a fascist and racist government in the U.S. the past four years and more recently the pandemic, has actually helped to affirm we are making the right choice. So while we respect other people’s choice to have children, personally we just wouldn’t be comfortable and don’t see it as an ideal time to bring a child into this world. 

What has been your experience in sharing your journey of not having children with those who are important to you? 

Most of my friends and family who I have shared this with have been supportive. I was a bit nervous to tell my mom, especially because this type of decision is pretty unheard of in our Latinx family, but she was very accepting and encourages me to do what I feel is best . I do often get the “but who will take care of you when you are old?” and “won’t you two get bored with each other ?” reactions from friends, but these types of responses are so ingrained in our culture that it is to be expected. My friends generally respect the decision and it really doesn’t become a big deal for the most part. I’ve also had people reach out on social media that have been really helpful, including parents who admit their struggles and aren’t afraid to suggest I’m making a smart choice. However, there are still others, both people I know and complete strangers, who have made me feel uncomfortable to discuss my decision to be childfree, but I think a lot of that has to just do with doubts and their own insecurities as parents so i don’t let it bother me too much!

I wonder has it impacted relationships with those around you, in the past and to this present day?

I think we’ve stopped relating to some people with children and it’s assumed we don’t understand a lot of what they are dealing with anyway.  However, this isn’t always the case as we have become closer to my sister and her partner since they had their first child a couple of years ago.

Do you feel not having children has impacted the way you view your body?

Like many women, I’ve always struggled with my weight and body image, although understanding diet culture has been really helpful in learning to love and accept it. But, I do feel that the physical and mental changes along with the ridiculous pressure to “bounce back” after having a baby would be detrimental to my mental health and self esteem.  So, I choose to continue my progress towards body acceptance and healing uninterrupted. It brings me so much relief to know I won’t have to go through that experience

I also think that not having a child has enabled me to think more critically about the way in which society attributes strength and femininity to the child bearing experience. Women are powerful, worthy, and amazing beings regardless of whether or not they give birth to a child and/or experience motherhood.

What has been the most challenging part of your experience of not having children? 

The only challenges I would say have to do with outside perceptions and how folks react to childfree people, especially childfree women in general. The way people inaccurately judge childfree women as being selfish or immature, when in reality we have given more thought to the decision of not having children than lets say 95% of people have given to actually becoming parents. Making this decision can be very layered and complex and it’s interesting how people think they know you better than you know yourself by suggesting you’ll change your mind and regret it someday.

It’s also definitely hard to discuss climate change and the current state of the world as a big factor in our decision. I would assume that if you have a child you have given some real thought to this and are comfortable enough with your choice that you wouldn’t take offense to mine. I do hear many parents constantly express fear and anxiety over what the world will be like for their children one day, so I’m hoping that more people will be able to at least respect and accept this as a valid reason for opting out of parenthood soon. My hope is that if we start having conversations about this, more people will be inclined to organize and advocate for better climate policies.

As well as the challenges you have experienced, I wonder can you share any positive aspects?

I can honestly say that everyday I am thankful to have made this choice. I really enjoy the freedoms that come with being child free, from easily keeping a clean and quiet home to focusing on my relationship with my husband. A lot of people suggest that children bring more happiness into a couple’s lives, but I think we live our happiest and best lives being able to fully enjoy each other’s company and skipping any added pressures or stressors. We have three dogs that we adore and are able to give our full attention.  I also enjoy having the availability to advocate for social justice issues, and donate my time and energy as much as possible. Most importantly, I think that being childfree allows us to better support the people around us who do have children. We have so much love for our 2 year old niece/goddaughter and as she grows older we have hope that she will really see us as a second set of parents. We feel so much joy and fulfillment in our roles as her ninos (godparents) and will always be there for her as much as we can.  We also have a couple of close friends who are expecting or are currently planning to grow their families and we are so excited to see that happen and maybe be allowed babysit someday!

If you could change one thing about how not having children is viewed, what would you wish to change? 

I really wish people would stop taking it personally and finding offense to our joy as childfree people. If folks are able to freely celebrate having kids, we should also be able to celebrate not having them. 

Anotherhood is about connecting women with shared experiences, I wonder can you share anything that you have found that has helped you to embrace your life without children? 

I think finding childfree communities through social media has been so helpful to me, and further helped to affirm my decision to be a childfree woman. One of the most helpful has been the account, Rich Auntie Supreme curated by Black educator and writer, Rachel Cargle. Rich Auntie Supreme encourages women to really own and celebrate the childfree lifestyle while recognizing the ways in which we give to our families/communities. I love this because It also acknowledges and honors the different kinds of care work a lot of childfree women are doing, like taking care of an elder or supporting the growth and development of children as their teachers. Rachel also really highlights and uplifts the role of the auntie, which is so underrated in our society!

Are there any podcast/ books that you have found have helped you on your journey? 

Not at the moment, but I am interested and look forward to reading  Dr. Amy Blackstone’s Childfree by Choice as well as an anthology called The Truth about Motherhood.

Izzie Interview

Izzie lives in Edinburgh and has a love for travel, having a shottie and embracing the freedom of living a life without children.

Izzie shares the life plan she had envisaged for herself when she was young.  How it all changed as she lived her life and embraced the moment,  and how a diagnosis brought her to question if children were to be a part of her life.

Can you share with the Anotherhood readers a little about yourself?

I am a corporate librarian working for a consulting firm.  I like trying new things – I like having a “shottie”.


Can you share with us what a “shottie” is?

Sure, so I have jumped out of a plane. Once. I have sung The Messiah at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.  Once. I like to go and have a look at how things work behind the scenes…see what’s it’s like. I don’t really want to do these things for a living or as a hobby, but I want to have a shot at them.  That’s what a shottie is.

Hobby-wise I love going for walks, heading up the Pentland Hills.  I like to travel and visit new places.  Making the odd bit of furniture.  I like process and I like making processes and I like following process.  It is almost embarrassing how much I like it.


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 hadn’t really considered it until you asked if I would be willing to be interviewed. In some ways it didn’t occur to me that my situation would be of interest. I am a quite insular person and self-sufficient, so I don’t really think about what other people might get from me.  So, when you asked, it was more a case of “why not?”.  If someone gets something from it and even one person is interested in it, then that’s great.


Can you share with us what was happening in your life when you decided not to have children.

There is no one moment really.  When I was 12 or so, my life plan was to get married at 23 and have children at 27.  (At that point it was always three children, as I was one of four and there were never enough biscuits in the packet for all of us and four in the backseat of the car was very difficult too. We didn’t have people carriers back then.  It sounds very pragmatic and simple but I was 12!)

Then, at the point I turned 23, I was out in Australia having great fun and didn’t even think about marriage and at 27 I wasn’t thinking about it, or children, either.

But then in 2003, at 28, I found a lump under my arm and got that investigated. The lump was removed and they found I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  It was caught at a very early stage and it was very treatable. After diagnosis but before treatment started, I went to the Maggie’s Centre at the Western General Hospital (Maggie’s in a charity that provides free emotional and practical advice with those and their families diagnosed with cancer) and was talking to them about my treatment.  One of the things they said I should consider was the possibility of freezing my eggs if chemotherapy was likely to be part of the treatment plan.  That question really focussed my mind and I realised I didn’t know if children were something I actually wanted.   It just seemed the least of the things I needed to think about right then.

Then it turned out I only needed radiotherapy and I didn’t need to make that decision at all.

From then on, I don’t think…well I don’t know, its hard to describe…I wasn’t generally consciously thinking about whether I wanted kids or not…but whenever the thought of having kids came up it was “mmmmm, I don’t think so”.


It feels like your diagnosis of Hodgkins and the question of having to freeze your eggs, really made you engage with the question if you wanted to have children.

Yes, but then you hear of people who say they never want kids and that changes.  I had a friend who said she would NEVER have kids, but then, as she got closer to 40, the broody feeling kicked in. So, I didn’t want to say I had no interest in having kids, with the potential that that feeling of broodiness might appear.

But I’m 44 now and I think I can safely say that I have absolutely no interest in having children. I like them, I just don’t want my own.

I think that’s partly…I don’t like using the word “selfish”, but I don’t know if I can think of a better word at the moment…maybe “self-preservation”..?  I have had episodes of anxiety and things like that and I am a control freak, which wouldn’t be easy to manage with children. I think my mental health is too important, I like to have control over my circumstances, and you can’t with a child.  Even pets are too much of a commitment for me.

It is that culture norm – you get older, you find a partner, you have a child – and I haven’t found a life partner.  Would my opinion be different if I did have a life partner? I really don’t think so.  In part, I think that’s why I have not found a life partner…I do not want to be responsible for someone else not having children.


What has been your experience in sharing your journey of not having children with those who are important to you?

In some ways, it doesn’t come up.  I don’t think I have ever been particularly maternal.  I don’t think anyone who knows me thinks I am maternal.  I just don’t think it occurs to people or maybe it is because it just doesn’t occur to me.

In my circle of friends, there are quite a few who don’t have children.  For some of them, it’s definitely circumstance but for a lot of them, it has been a choice. I don’t think of myself as unusual.


So, it’s normalised in your friendship group?  I wonder does that allow you to relax more into your life, and have less pressure surrounding you.

I do try and remove pressures wherever I can, so I am sure I have influenced that in a way, by surrounding myself with people that I don’t feel pressured by.


Like-minded, understanding people?



Do you feel that has come more as you have become older, now that you have a better understanding of self, so you start to choose those people and realise, that some of the people that were in your life were not good for you?

Yeah.  Every relationship has to have a bit of give and take, but if you feel like you are only ever giving, that’s just not good for your wellbeing. It’s just draining.

This is going to be one of the wordiest days I have ever had, probably. I have a quite low word count, and I need quiet, and a child would be, well, I would just be broken by a child. Even babysitting…I have to come home and have a nap (laughs). I can’t bear it!  Oh dear, that sounds terrible. I CAN bear it, if any of my friends who I babysit for read this.

I just like my own space and I have to limit my exposure to people who emotionally exhaust me.  It sounds very calculating, but I know my health, my mental endurance and what is good for my own wellbeing.


Has the decision to not have children impacted relationships with those around you?

There is always that little feeling of guilt for my mother.  She mentions so-and-so with her eight grandchildren…but I have been quite open to her about my thoughts and what she can expect from me in that regard.

I don’t see my friends with children less; I make as much effort to see them as I do my friends without.  I know some people, once they have children, tend to see people who also have children more but I try and make that effort. But then, as I said before, I have like-minded friends, so that’s not too difficult.

Family wise, I don’t really think there is any expectation of me.  I think people are far more aware it’s not that natural a progression. My extended family? I don’t get asked, I don’t know if that’s me being me, as I don’t necessarily share very much so people don’t ask, or that they are very aware that there are so many reasons why people don’t have children.


Do you feel not having children has impacted the relationship you have with your body?

With my body it’s kind of difficult to say…I have dodgy hips and dodgy knees and a dodgy shoulder.  I know from experience that holding a baby for more than 10 minutes is a real trigger for the shoulder! Part of me feels like physically I am not put together for children.

But I don’t think I view my body differently because I’ve not had children.

I was talking to someone at work about menopause, and she was saying she is very anxious about how it will affect her sense of being a woman.  I’m embarrassed to say that hadn’t crossed my mind.  I’m not in denial about my own upcoming menopause, I just don’t connect me and any changes to my body with my sense of being a woman.

I don’t even have periods.  I had terrible erratic heavy periods and I went on the pill, and I take that through so I don’t have periods.

I just don’t think of my body in that sense.  I don’t know if it is because I am such a pragmatic person…I don’t have any expectations to have children, or the desire, so I don’t think of my body like that.

In some ways I’m very lucky because I can’t imagine, for people who would love to have children who can’t…I can’t imagine how that feels. And I feel lucky that I don’t have that desire in me…I can’t imagine the frustration and torment it must bring.


Have you found there have been any challenges in not having children?

I can think of nothing. Nothing springs to mind, because it wasn’t like one bang moment…no one’s had expectations of me.


I wonder can you share some of the positives in not having children?

I am lucky enough to have a job that pays me enough to have a nice house, I can go on holidays… financially I am in a relatively good place. I have some lovely friends and colleagues.  I can sit at work and decide on a whim to go to the cinema on the way home.  I love not having to think about anyone else.  My time is my own and I don’t need to answer to anyone.  I should be able to sleep better but I don’t (laughs).

I feel free and I know that there are lots of benefits to having children, but I get lots of cuddles from friends’ kids and less of the tantrums, and I don’t get the constant “why question (…although I do quite enjoy a good “why?” session…I can come up with some good answers).

I just feel very comfortable without pressure and expectations.


If you could change one thing about how not having children is viewed, what would you wish to change?

Children don’t define a person, they shouldn’t.  If you have them or not is no one else’s business, especially nowadays when everyone is aware there are many reasons why people might not.

So many people think they are entitled to ask about it, and some people are just interested, but there is a thoughtlessness behind it.  If people want to tell you their story, they will tell you.


Anotherhood is about connecting women with shared experiences, I wonder can you share anything that you have found that has helped you to embrace your life, your body, and your life without children?

I feel that sentence should just be your life and your body. I don’t define these things based on whether I have children or not.

I just think I have managed expectations and I get contentment out of quite small things, like a nice crisp day, going for a walk, filling your lungs with air and the satisfaction of physical exhaustion. I just love that.  Hot water…every time I get in the shower I think “oh, I bloody love hot water”.

That probably sounds so small but I don’t need much and I’m grateful for what I have. I have a quiet, comfortable wee life.

One thing that is more recent….my work does a lot of mental health awareness and community engagement is one of the things suggested to help you feel you are making a difference to others so I started doing more volunteering a couple of years ago.  I first started helping out down at Saughton Park…


Can you explain what Saughton Park is?

Saughton Park in a large walled garden in Edinburgh. It had fallen into quite bad disrepair, they got some lottery money and help from the council, and they have just refurbished.  It’s this spectacular space.  There is a group called the Friends of Saughton Park who try to promote the park and encourage community engagement. There are various groups: there is a little physic garden, a wildlife group, and there is an orchard group; and they have regular community events through the year. I know nothing about gardening but I’m learning and it’s just somewhere you can go down and you feel like you are making a difference to the community. It’s doing something that impacts more than you.

I also give ad-hoc administrative help to Neuroendocrine Tumour/Cancer Support. They are an organisation that provides support and networking for people with neuroendocrine tumours.

The volunteering has just been in the last two years; I had been feeling I needed to do something that is more for others.  I could quite happily go through my life focussing solely on myself, but it’s been really nice and very rewarding and it’s obviously something I needed.


How’s that been for you, sharing your story with Anotherhood?

Fine. Part of me worried that if I start talking about it and it made me think about it in a way I haven’t before and what if I find I DO want children?…but it doesn’t, it hasn’t…it is just not like that for me. I don’t have regrets about it.




Thania Interview

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.

Claire Interview

Can you tell the Anotherhood community little about yourself? 

I have just turned 40, and I live with my husband and our two cats in South East London. I have a background in law and I started off as a criminal lawyer, I then shifted to become an Ombudsman.

I’m a bit of a workaholic and I’m very career driven. My job has been my saviour for a lot of things as I’ve been able to focus on it when times have been tough.

I have always had a bit of wanderlust.  I moved to Japan on a whim in mid-2003. I suddenly decided I wanted a new career change. At the time, I was a duty solicitor, I was in and out of police station at silly hours – such as 3am in the morning, and I just started to hate it. So I saw a job advert in the back of the Times newspaper and suddenly I was quitting my job, my house and my boyfriend! But I loved it! Absolutely loved it. I was there for nearly two and half a years and I met my husband there.

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 remember after my hysterectomy and cancer diagnosis, desperately trying to find some kind of positive group for women who couldn’t have kids and there just wasn’t anything. I found groups but often I would find the women in those groups to be sad and bitter. Although I have had moments of feeling like that I knew I couldn’t live my life being cross or unhappy.  I hope that by reading my story, it offers support to someone going through something similar.

Can you share with us what was happening in your life when you made the decision not to have children?

I got married in 2007 and we planned to have kids. I had already had an indication that something wasn’t right my periods were really infrequent, painful and heavy when they did come.

As soon as we got married we stopped trying to not get pregnant and nothing happened. After three years had passed I remember saying in passing to my GP about it. She was very supportive, and was like “mmm that’s not right, let’s send you for some tests”.  The tests came back that I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the advice was pretty much, loose weight and it will be fine.

I did every diet you should do and lost weight, but still nothing was happening and then they started to talk about IVF but I was still to big.  I needed to loose more weight.  Then work and life got in the way and I thought I am not quiet ready for this yet, so I put the IVF on the back burner.

When I was about 32/33 my periods suddenly got horrendous. Every period I was bleeding so heavily, it was horrific. I got a referral to a consultant and they said to me it’s because of your weight and your PCOS its just one of those things. I was given medication to help me clot quicker so the periods were shorter and more ‘manageable’. I would still have days where I couldn’t leave the house or go to work. When I wasn’t having periods I was having constant light bleeding and the whole trying to make a baby thing was completely off the cards.

In summer 2014 I began to feel awful I had extreme exhaustion, my usual ten minute walk from the station to my house was like climbing Everest. I just kept thinking, “I am so unfit, I need to get fitter.” I really hated myself.

The crunch point came when I bled all over a bench during a meeting at work. It was absolute carnage, I was mortified.

I went back to my GP and said, “this is not normal, and I can’t live like this! I want to have a baby, I want to have sex, I can’t do either like this, help me.”

I was referred to a different consultant and straight away she was concerned and I was sent for an urgent biopsy. It took ages for the results to come back, like four weeks. When the results finally came back, I went to the appointment, thinking my consultant was going to say what everyone else says, ‘its because your overweight’, but she didn’t.

The reason it took so long was the first pathologist was so concerned by the result they sent it to a pathologist in Ireland who was an expert, and what came back was worst case scenario it’s cancer, but best case scenario its due to the hormones I was taking to help reduce my periods. So I was told to stop taking the drugs and have a retest.

I had a second biopsy in October and the same results came back. This kick started treatment by oncology, involving hospital stays, MRI’s, PET scans and CT scans. Numerous dyes pumped through me and lots and lots of blood tests! FUN!

When the Multi Discipline Team (MDT) reviewed all my result, they divided a room full of consultants and specialists. Half thought there was definitely cancer there they just hadn’t found it. The other half were satisfied that there wasn’t cancer because it hadn’t been found but to be on the safe side I should continue taking the hormones but at a increased dose and be re-biopsied in three months time.

I knew I couldn’t keep on taking the progesterone it was making me feel insane.

I went back to my consultant and she said “I was one of the people in that room saying I think there is cancer there they just haven’t found it yet.”

She advised me to have a hysterectomy and explained she would rather me have that finite surgery and there not be cancer then there be more delays and suddenly I’m being diagnosed with stage four cancer.

So December 11th, 2014, I had a total hysterectomy, removal of both my ovaries, cervix and fallopian tubes. The full lot!

On 22nd December 2014 they told me that they had found cancer and it was graded stage 2.

So I did have cancer so I had made the right decision. Thankfully the operation got rid of it all, and no further treatment was needed.

I did something that saved my life, and I am pleased that I did. I think I was just so relived to be feeling better, even being pushed into a surgical menopause I felt better than I had done.


 Do you feel your decision to not have children, has impacted the relationship you have with your body?

I think that constant hatred of myself that constant “it’s your fault you feel so unwell it’s because you’re overweight”. Hating the way I looked because as far as everyone was concerned I was making me sick. I know I am not conventionally sized, I don’t care any more, I am like “fuck it, I survived cancer who cares what you think about me?!”

(see Claire’s instagram post below)


What has been the most challenging part of your experience of not being able to have children?

Before the surgery I was trying to get my eggs saved. The NHS refused, as my BMI was too high. A private consultant we paid explained that ‘if’ I had cancer it was linked to hormones and the last thing he wanted to do was therefore pump me full of hormones and potentially make it worse.

That was the hardest thing, and I remember crying and crying and crying, it was the one thing that nearly broke me. I was so angry that this, amongst everything else, was being taken away from me. It still makes me upset now, five years on.

In one way the choice being taken away about getting pregnant meant I could grieve quicker. I could move on from that hope, in that you know, every time your period is late, or every time you have sex, you know, its maybe like this time, maybe this time, now that’s physically impossible.

Me and my husband had always spoken about adoption, that was something that kept coming back around and I am sure you know, its always the knee jerk reaction from everyone “you can adopt, what about adoption?” yeah because adoption is literally like this stork flying in and dropping a baby in our lap, its that easy.

We did try and adopt and my weight was the slammer again. It boiled down to 2 things about my weight; one; I might die, but two: their biggest concern was that I might raise my child to be fat.

People ask have you tried adopting again, and I think, try having your heart broken twice and then tell me if you would go back for a third time?

Also when you get sent a sonogram or you get that dreaded text saying “hi we’ve got news” it’s like being punched in the face.

I know its grief, I lost my Dad when I was nine and I recognise it as the same. I always describe grief to be like treading water. When it first happens you will be treading water and the waves keep coming and coming and keep washing you under and then you eventually you get stronger and you get ready to anticipate those waves. You cope with them better but, then once in a while you will get side-lined by a massive wave, and you’re like “where the bloody hell did that come from?” and you’re back to square one where you are scrabbling.


As well as the challenges you have experienced, I wonder can you share any positive aspects of choosing not to have children?

In some perverse way, having that hope taken away is really freeing! I’ve learned to listen to my body. It was telling me that there was something wrong and it saved me. That completely changed the way I think about my body. To not hate myself when I look in the mirror but to love that my body and me fought this together and right now we are WINNING.

Travelling has really helped, my husband and I like a bit of adventure and we like heading off to places. It’s likely if we had had a child, we probably wouldn’t be able to do these things.

We are learning to embrace that we are double income no kids (D.I.N.Ks) and really enjoy that.

Last year we had four amazing holidays included a roadtrip down the east coast of American for nearly four weeks! I also did my masters last year, worked full time and completed it because I had the time.


If you could change one thing about how choosing not to have children is viewed, what would you wish to change?

Society, that you’re only valued as a woman if you have a baby.


Anotherhood is about connecting women with shared experiences, I wonder can you share anything that you have found that has helped you to embrace your life, your body, and your infertility?

There is a saying in Japanese philosophy “you make the best life of the life you are given.”

I remember being invited to an event by a Japanese friend and speaking to an older Japanese lady in her 60’s or 70’s she said“there is no guarantee if you have children they will be there for you in old age. There is no guarantee they will even like you or you will like them, don’t fear getting old without children.” It was a resonating conversation; you will have a good life, which I think is an important message to tell people.

I personally think it’s important to have a happy place. If, anyone asks me my happy places, one is a temple on Kyoto and another one is on the shores of Loch Eck up near Dunoon. They are the two places in the world if I ever want some peace or soul searching. They are where I mentally go if I am trying to sleep at night.

Going and getting good quality therapy, by that I mean finding a therapist that understands you.


Are there any podcasts, books or anything you might recommend that has helped you, lifted your spirit? 

Randomly the book, The Lido, by Libby Page. One of the main characters is a widow who wasn’t able to have children but the bond she makes with a young journalist whilst trying to save a local lido (open air swimming pool). It gave me hope – that even if I lose my husband I can still find love and support.

Interview by Laura




















Melinda Interview

About Melinda

Melinda is 38 and lives in Edinburgh. Melinda coaches entrepreneurs for a living, and has a clear passion for her work noting, I absolutely love my job, and it is great to help people achieve what they want from life.

Melinda loves exploring the outdoors, being in the mountains, swimming in the Scottish sea, and finding the time to reconnect to herself through yoga.

Melinda’s life journey has led her to a point where she has embraced a life without her own children.

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?

Everyone is really different and sometimes it feels like society expects certain things of people especially women and what they should want.

I would like to be someone who shares their voice to show that everyone has different lives, different choices. I want to help make people feel comfortable with what they decide to do with their lives and embrace what lives they have.


Can you share with us what was happening in your life when you realised that you did not want to have children?

It really wasn’t that clear-cut for me, when I was about 16, I was completely clear that I didn’t want to have my own children, I was absolutely certain that I wanted to adopt. I had it so clear in my head and then as I got older it became foggier. When I was with my ex partner, I would see other people have kids, see my friends having kids, I felt so different and like I was getting left behind


I have very good friends who have children and the friendship has not changed.  But it did change a lot in me; it suddenly made me feel different. I had been with my partner for 10 years, I thought this is weird, I have been with him longer than everyone else, so why aren’t we getting married and having children

 Looking back I know I was just thinking it because thats what I felt like I should be doing, thats what I was expected to do, that was how to keep up with society, to keep in with my friends and what is natural.

 Now that I am older and recently diagnosed with endometriosis, there is high likely hood that I cannot have children.

I dont know how to explain it, its not that I have made the decision not to have children its more the decision to be happy with whatever happens. I dont feel the pressure to have my own kids.

 I really want to adopt and to foster, because I think there are so many kids out there that need help. 

 I want to adopt because I want to have an impact and a positive change in somebodys life.  I want to foster kids to help them, even if it thats just for a few weeks.

I am well aware how difficult that will be, but to me that fits who I am.

If I were to get pregnant, I would be happy; I just dont want to put pressure on myself to try to have a child.

I have recently written my vision of the future, in it I am 68 and I have 2 adopted kids and 20 foster kids.

That feels right, thats how I feel at the moment, and its weird that thats how I felt when I was 16. I have gone through this weird journey all back and forth and then came back to that decision. I think realising that and accepting thats what I want to do has been my process. 

I also thank whoever might be up there (gestures to the sky) that I didn’t have children at the time I was with my ex boyfriend and thinking where I would be now. When I split up with my boyfriend I moved to Edinburgh and it made me who I am today, its weird how everything happens for a reason.


What has been your experience in sharing your journey of not having children with those who are important to you? 

My family doesn’t seem to judge me either way.  My Mum occasionally goes on about it and tells me “you’re not to old”. 

They have never been pushy with me either way, I think I have been quite lucky with that and I dont think it was ever expected of me and friends have been the same.


I wonder has not having children impacted relationships with those around you, in the past and to this present day?

I used to get really upset and have arguments with my ex boyfriend about it as he definitely didn’t want any kids and its probably one of the reasons we split up. But actually I hadnt really sat down and thought about what I wanted.

 I am in a relatively new relationship, just over a year, we have sat down and talked about having kids and he is quite similar in thinking to me about adopting.  Sometimes I worry he does want his own kids as he is amazing with them, but the reality is he knows my situation, he knows I have endometriosis, so he knows its unlikely, and he has stuck with me so far, and he stuck with me through the 4 months I was poorly with endometriosis.


Do you feel that this experience has impacted the relationship you have with your body?

I think only for the positive, but then I think I am very body positive person, I like getting naked everywhere. I have been naked in front of 3449 people for a big art exhibition where I was painted blue.

I have no qualms about my body at all, the endometriosis made me think about my body a bit more.  It made me get frustrated at my body, for being in so much pain but not related to having kids. If I am being completely blunt and really honest, the thought of being pregnant terrifies me, what it does to your body, what I have seen my friends go through, I dont understand how it works; it also makes me think of Alien (haha).

So I would say only for the positive.


Have you experienced any challenges or fears around not having children? 

Being really honest I used to have a big fear of not having kids, that no one would look after me when I am old.


I wonder where are you with that now?

When I think about it logically, I wouldn’t want my kids to look after me anyway.

I am one of the most stubborn people in the world, so I would be useless at someone looking after me.

My plan is to be an 80 year old yogi, teaching yoga classes all over the world so I won’t need looking after.

It’s not a fear anymore, it was a really stupid reason to consider having children, but it was definitely a fear that was there.


I wonder can you share the positive aspects of not having children?

Loads; I do think I have a amazing life, I get to do what I want, I get to travel I get to go where I want, I get to sit in bed all day on a Sunday if I want to, I love my life.

Sometimes I wonder if I am just a really selfish person, people who have kids give everything to their kids, I admire that, and I am in awe of it.

 Obviously, when I adopt children I know my life will be very different and I want that. I dont know why but I see it very differently, I think its because I naturally help a lot of people in my job, so by adopting kids I feel like I would be doing something worthwhile. I want to help people who aren’t going to get support, to me that makes me feel I am making the difference I am meant to make.


If you could change one thing about how not having children is viewed, what would you wish to change? 

The perception that women should want to have children, it is an individual choice. I think women should be respected for their decisions, men are. When men dont want to have children its not thought of as weird in the slightest, and I dont see why it should be for women.

I also feel people shouldn’t feel sorry for me because thats the most annoying thing in the world.

I just think its that perception, like everything else we have a choice, a choice of who we wish to date, and a choice where we live, and a choice what we do with our lives.


Anotherhood is about connecting women with shared experiences, I wonder can you share anything that you have found that has helped you to embrace your life, your body, and your life without children?

It’s having the right mind-set, which is very typical for me to say, but I do feel I work very hard on having a positive mind-set. I did a vision board workshop a few weeks back and I picked a card, the card was about my attitude it said do you mostly have a negative attitude and do you have to work on having a positive attitude?and I always thought I had a positive attitude, but when I thought about it, I have worked really hard to build tools to help me have that positive attitude. I say all the time you can’t always control what your body does, you cant control what life throws at you but you can control your attitude towards it. Any situation I am in, I work really hard to make it positive, I think thats the best thing I can share.


How has this experience of sharing your story with Anotherhood been for you?

Yeah good, it feels really good; to talk it all through, its helped.