Stories & Articles

Miss Childless-by-Choice

Vanessa de Largie | The Huff Post | July 24, 2015

My name is Miss Childless-by-Choice.

People assumedly call me — Miss Child-Hater, Miss Sterile, Miss Barren, Miss Infertility and Miss Anonymous.

I was never one of those girls, the ones who gush in yearning for a child. The ones who believe marriage and motherhood will somehow complete them. Those girls felt alien to me and me to them.

I yearned for other things — unlimited success, a career in the arts, travel and generously sized penises. Motherhood was never on the agenda — there was always another country to visit, another career-achievement to reach or another man to pursue.

In my teens and twenties — my life was accepted. The acceptance was based on the assumption that I was sowing my wild oats. It was assumed that once my wildness had been tamed — I would eagerly surrender to marriage and motherhood. My wildness only increased.

I’m now 38 and still blissfully unwed and childless. My unconventional choices have gifted me with a life of freedom — a life that I embrace.

I love being the number one priority in my life. I love my peaceful mornings and long sleep-ins. I love the fact that I can move countries tomorrow without having to consider anybody else.

Unfortunately when a woman who is childless by choice speaks, she is promptly shot down in flames. Her honesty about her enjoyed freedom and disinterest in children is seen as being selfish and hateful.

Childless women often run second in the workplace when it comes to rosters. This has happened to me on many occasions. Employers are more accommodating to mothers; early shifts are reserved for them. They are not reserved for actresses like me, who have to schedule auditions around work. A childless woman’s obligations are deemed meaningless outside of her day job in comparison to the martyr mother.

“But you don’t have the responsibility of looking after kids.” One employer exclaimed after I questioned her favoritism.

This is true but when you decide to have children you sign up for those responsibilities. A childless woman shouldn’t have to come second because of your choices – that is not what I call equality.

Childless women have to contend with a condescending tone, used by parents who assure them that having a child is the most important thing a woman can ever do. Thanks so much for devaluing my life.

In 2012, I wrote an article titled Should There Be More Child Free Dining Options in Australia? The article was published by Topic Media and it hit a nerve. I had angry mothers everywhere spitting their vitriol; many of the comments had to be taken down because they were so nasty. I was repeatedly labelled a child-hater for writing such an article.

What is criminal about a childless woman wanting to have a meal without the distraction of children? There are countless venues that cater for children and carry the child-friendly tag. But it seems that any child free venture, whether it’s air travel or dining — is always viewed in a negative light. Why can’t we discuss child free options civilly? Why does there have to be your team and mine?

Just because I do not want to be a mother myself does not mean that I hate children. I just want a different kind of life.

My name is Miss Childless. Miss Childless-By-Choice.