By Cynthia Hornig – It started after college. I was dating a man who wanted to know what our future was. He wanted a future with me, but I knew he wanted children, and I didn’t. We were young, so it didn’t matter at the time, but I knew the topic would resurface again, and it did. He said he never met a woman who didn’t want children and he couldn’t really understand my choice. I was atypical, I knew it and now he did too. We went our separate ways.

When I did decide to get married, my husband and I were both clear and on the same page when it came to procreating… we didn’t want to. Well, it was clear for us, but for family, friends and strangers… not so much.

As many women can probably attest to, when you are in your 20s and 30s, people – and by people I mean everyone – feel free to broach the topic. My response became rote, “I will never say never, but not right now.” It seemed to satisfy most of the inquiries, and was much simpler than what I really wanted to say, which was more along the lines of, “I am not having children, I don’t want to have children. Stop asking me, it’s none of your fucking business.” But, I didn’t dare. God forbid I made anyone uncomfortable. But that was then, and this is now.

“I am not having children, I don’t want to have children. Stop asking me, it’s none of your fucking business.”

Ironically, I am more prepared today to discuss my childfree choice than I was when I was younger. And, now that I am in my mid-40s, fewer people ask why (my guess is that most folks probably think we couldn’t have kids and are being polite by avoiding the topic), but I wish they would!

The reality is that I have no definitive answer as to why I chose to be kidfree. I am just wired this way. I have no dark confessions, no intellectual reasoning, and make absolutely no apologies.

Although it hasn’t always been easy, I am proud of my decision, and of the fact that I never allowed myself to feel guilt or shame for choosing to not have children, despite societal pressure. Going down a different path, no matter where you are headed, is always a bit bumpy.

There are many schools of thought (rational and many irrational) on the connection between motherhood and womanhood. One argument is that a female who does not bear a child is somehow not a “real” woman. But nothing could be further from the truth, because womanhood is not contingent on motherhood, and that’s the real truth!

Oh… and if you were wondering about some of the perks of a childfree life…here they are, all in one funny video. 

Cynthia Hornig is Co-Founder and Editorial Director of Women You Should Know.