Fortunately, it's becoming increasingly acceptable and common not to reproduce, so I hope people are beginning to understand that it's not the best decision for everyone, and people shouldn't become parents if they're not suited for parenthood.
If people try to question your decision not to have kids, you have the right to stand up for yourself.
I think she just had them because that's what people do, and now she resents me." I realized that if I had kids, I would be doing them a disservice by giving them a parent who doesn't want them. Choosing to devote my life to a significant other, the family I already have, and a career that helps others is not selfish.
Some variations of this one are "Once your biological clock starts ticking..." or "Once that maternal instinct kicks in..." These are overgeneralizations that ascribe to biology what is largely a cultural expectation that doesn't apply to everyone. Even only counting women ages 40-44, 19 percent have never had children.
Given how common it is not to have kids, nobody can tell you with confidence that you will change your mind.
I'm not going to lie — the numbers are scary: 91 percent of men 35 and under have kids or want them.
Part of me wonders whether these responses are the result of societal pressures — although that's ultimately irrelevant, since it's not my call whether or not someone has or wants kids.
And lastly, it's important to remember in these conversations that women often don't have the same privilege as men of having children without sacrificing their careers.
While I would hope no partner would press me to do that, the reality is that it often happens, and that would be a less fulfilling life for me.
But I didn't always know how to respond to criticism for not wanting kids.
When people told me I'd change my mind, I figured maybe they were right since I was young; I'm 25 now, though, so the idea of me changing my mind is becoming less likely.
I do know that even if I were on a desert island with only one other person and he wanted kids, that still wouldn't be reason enough to compromise on something so important to me.