Why I Chose to Be Childless

Forty years ago, Stephanie Mills vowed not to have children.Did she ever have regrets?

By Stephanie Mills
"The most humane thing for me to do would be to have no children at all.
Photograph: Photo by: Gary Howe

Even though my decision not to have children was made on what might be called political grounds it proved to be a good personal choice. I am cussedly independent and I love my solitude and freedom. Nevertheless, over the years I have revisited my decision. I never felt an overpowering enough desire to have a child to grow my own or to adopt. But the chagrin of going back on my vow wouldn’t have deterred me if I had changed my mind about motherhood. Other women, I know, have been able to combine demanding vocations with motherhood. Given my particular nature, the responsibility and distraction of childrearing most likely would have prevented me from pursuing my work as a writer, which has been immensely rewarding, if difficult and uncertain much of the time. Now that I’m old enough to be a grandmother, I sometimes wish that I had a granddaughter to commune with, but I am friends with some spectacular young people and can learn from them as well as pass along whatever wisdom I’ve developed. That will have to do.
P.S. In 1969, world population was 3,636,562,333. As of August 1, 2009, it was 6,774,705,647, with about 148 new souls being added every minute

Stephanie Mills is a writer and teacher who lives near Maple City, Michigan. She is featured in the new documentary Earth Days, about the pioneers of the modern environmental movement (in theaters late August). For information about her work, visit www.smillswriter.com.       

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