I come from a large South American family. My mother is the seventh of thirteen children and it is unspoken in Venezuela that you start to have your own children from about 24 years old.
My parents never pressured me to have children, because they understand I am fiercely independent and I love my freedom. However, my extended family, and also my husband’s family have been quite inquisitive about when I will have a child.
My husband and I never really talked about it for the first 10 years we were together, and it has come up more recently, but we’re on the same page. Our life is full and wonderful as it is.
Now that I’m 39 the family’s conversation has turned more to "maybe she can’t have babies". Sometimes I just lie and say it’s not happening for my husband and I because it’s easier than explaining that it’s not something I desire.
I work in a big bank and my job is quite involved, but my friends sometimes joke that I only work so I can go on holidays. It’s kind of true. We love to travel. We have the freedom so why not?
It was on a Buddhist meditation retreat in Nepal where I began thinking about all of the children that are already on the planet but need to be looked after and nurtured.
Why bring more children into the world when there are so many that need help?
It was this that led us to finding the Lotus Children's Home, an orphanage in Nepal, that we support. They were two orphans themselves that fell in love and had two children, but then they found 11 other local children who needed family and a home.
I feel supporting these 13 children and knowing that my contribution is helping them not only to live but to become educated and potentially break their poverty cycle is very fulfilling, and that is enough for me.
When I was a little girl everyone used to always say things like “when you grow up you’ll be a mummy too,” but even as a small child I thought “but what if I don’t do that?”
I never really thought I’m never having kids, but I was more open to the idea that there was more than that one possibility for my life.
When my ex-husband and I met I was only 23 so for years we said there was plenty of time, and I did actually fall pregnant at one time, however, even as it was happening I knew instinctively that I would not have a child.
I miscarried and the experience further solidified for me that having children was not something I wanted. We ended up separating, and I now have a new partner who has teenage children, and they’re great.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. It’s just the way it is now and we need to be tolerant of that.
We live in such a pro-natal society, and wanting to have children is considered normal, so not wanting one can be viewed as abnormal.
With my work as a life coach at Sacred Self I now help women who have not had children for whatever reason, to deal with the judgment they may be facing from society.
There is also a real issue of social infertility where women would love to have children, but they just don’t meet anybody and they need to learn how to accept this and find other things in their lives to give them that fulfillment.
If you are not a mother you can often feel unclassified in society, so Unclassified Woman is the title of my podcast series where myself and guests unpack these issues for child-free women.
Michelle Marie McGrath
When I was about 11 I decided that motherhood was not something I wanted to do.
Choosing motherhood is a very involved choice, and I knew that I would want to be the type of mother who gives that child my all, but there were so many other things in the world that I wanted to be giving my attention to.
I never changed my mind. For me, it was as simple as following the things that light my heart up.
How do I feel about being a journalist? Amazing.
How do I feel about being a tv presenter? Awesome.
How do I feel about my new path as someone who wishes to teach the world about how we need to be more mindful in the way we use our planet? Excited.
How do I feel about having a child? Nope.
By the year 2050 our population will be 10 billion people, and we are currently using the resources of 1.5 planets, if for no other reason than not contributing to this epic population problem choosing not to have children is a massively valid choice.
I love my life and my freedom. I recently went on a 10-week spiritual pilgrimage, alone, to sacred rock formations around the UK. I love being able to follow my heart and have adventures like that.
I told my partner how I felt about the subject of babies on one of our very first dates. We were in England, but he’s an Aussie so I said I’d move to Australia if he wanted, but I did not see having children as something that I wanted for my life.
Thankfully, he agreed to both of those things, so now we’re here living an amazing life here together by the beach, and we have everything we need.