One thing people love telling me when they find out that I don’t want to have children is that I’ll change my mind. I remember when I was living in Shanghai, when I was 23; I was with an American friend, his Spanish girlfriend, and another American guy. All three of them kept insisting that I was going to change my mind, and that I should “never say never” and a bunch of other clichéd expressions. I was a woman, after all, and all women want to have children. Even the ones who are absolutely certain that they don’t want children will change their minds, because women are too stupid and fickle to know what they want. Clearly.
I told them that I didn’t appreciate being patronized, which set off another round of patronizing drivel. My friend said it wasn’t patronizing, because did I believe the same things now that I believed when I was five? No? Well then, I shouldn’t be so sure that I would never have children, because I would change my mind someday.
A Ghanaian and American friend of mine (as in, same person who is both Ghanaian and American) kept insisting that I would change my mind. A few years ago, I was going through an awful break up and trying to find a way to convince myself to have children (because I certainly didn’t want to have them). She said “you’re never going to change your mind, so why bother?” I was really confused, and said “Aren’t you the one who kept insisting that I’d change my mind?” She said that she had been convinced that I was on the fence, but now she realized I wasn’t.
Why would you think I was on the fence? Why does anyone ever think that I’m not sure about what I want? I never say anything that even comes close to implying that I might change my mind about wanting children. I have always been 100% certain and clear about the fact that I absolutely do not want and will not have children.
One of my best friends who is a mother, but still supportive of childfree people “That’s like telling someone that you’ve gotten engaged, and that person saying ‘oh, don’t worry, you’ll change your mind.’” Interesting analogy, but she has a point. Why is it that one’s personal decisions need to be met with condescension if they’re not the same choice you’ve made for yourself? I’m the one living with my own mind, I’m fairly certain of what’s inside it. I will not change my fucking mind.
Do any childfree African men or women have people keep insisting that they will change their minds? How do you respond? Have you ever had anyone not insist that you’ll change your mind and just accept your decision?