Yes, that’s right - I don’t want kids - having children is not for everyone

People need to realise that having children is not for everyone, so says BRENDA DENNEHY, who tells us why she doesn’t want to be a mother
Yes, that’s right - I don’t want kids - having children is not for everyone

Brenda Dennehy at Ballincollig Regional Park, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

WHEN someone says they don’t want something — whether it be an extra slice of cake, another inch cut off their hair or even extra fries with their Big Mac meal — you wouldn’t question it twice, would you?

Well, then, why is it OK to almost interrogate someone like me when they say they don’t want kids?

That’s right, I don’t want kids.

And no, it’s not some sort of way to make myself feel better due to the fact I’m 36 and childless, that I need to say it just to make myself feel better and then people won’t pity me. When I say it, I actually really mean it.

It’s been said to me before that I am on the wrong side of 30 if I want to have kids.

I even remember a GP some years back when I was getting my pill. He made a remark: “I would want to get on with things as time is ticking!”

There have been many instances where I have been in the company of others and have confessed my feelings on this issue.

People mostly reply: ‘Awh, that’s because you haven’t met the right person, you don’t mean that. How could you not want them?’

No, sorry, this is just me being brutally honest. But why am I even apologising for not wanting them? People need to realise that kids just aren’t for everyone.

I remember many of my friends all looking forward to being mums in school, it never appealed to me. I even remember at a young age if I had to babysit — oh goodness, I would dread it. It’s just not for me. I don’t have a maternal bone in my body. It’s not one of these things I can fake!

Brenda Dennehy with her beloved dog Winston.
Brenda Dennehy with her beloved dog Winston.

I could be well settled by now and have a baby with the wrong person for the wrong reasons. But why fix something if it’s not broken?

See I love my life, but society has made women like me who choose to be childless feel bad about ourselves, make us feel some sort of shame — guilt even.

If I hear once more ‘what will you do when you are 60 and lonely...?’

Darling, don’t you worry about me, I have never been lonely and I am my happiest when I am completely on my own.

Honestly, if I ever did settle down with someone, I would even try what Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton did, living next door to one another.

The way I see it, if someone feels they need to bring a child into this world to be content, then they’re off to a bad start already.

I see myself footloose and fancy free in my 60s, 70s, 80s — all going well with no regrets. Hopefully retired in Tenerife, singing Karaoke with the Spanish equivalent of the ICA!

In all of my 36 years, I can never look back on a moment of loneliness — I never depend on others to entertain me, I do it for myself, so cheers to getting older.

I prefer to say ‘I want to grow old disgracefully’ rather than gracefully. I never want to stop laughing and keep getting up to ‘devilment’ when my bones start to hurt!

See, I love life, and thankfully most of my days are full of light and happiness. Why would I want to change any of that?

I really can’t bear it when I hear people say: ‘Oh, you would change your mind fast if you had them?’ Why can’t people just accept that there are hundreds of women like me who just don’t want them?

Don’t get me started on the women who are newly married and they constantly get asked “when are you expecting?” or “any news”. The bride hasn’t even taken off her veil yet and people are expecting her to be with child!

Brenda Dennehy at Ballincollig Regional Park, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Brenda Dennehy at Ballincollig Regional Park, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Why do they even have to have kids? Did it ever occur to those people who ask that they may want to focus on their career and are happy with their other half?

Take Oprah, for example. One of the most successful women in the world and also the first black female billionaire in history. She has never had kids. She has been in a relationship with her partner Stedman Graham since 1986. She once famously said that if she had kids, they would have hated her, because in order to be the success she is, something would have had to suffer and she believes it would have been her kids.

I have a good friend who is married, living the dream, and has chosen not to have kids. I really have never seen a happier couple in a long time.

I have come across some women who are hitting 40 and the panic and stress they are under to meet someone or to conceive is just awful. Many have even gone on to freeze their eggs, which I do think is a great idea and more women should consider it if they really want children.

Thankfully, as a result of me choosing to not proceed with having them, I have no stress and there is no ticking time bomb in my head — I rest easy.

Then we get the “ah that’s selfish, what about your poor parents wanting more grandkids?” No, I think it’s actually selfless. Why would I want to bring something into the world I didn’t want in the first place, and they have grandkids already so there is no pressure, and there never even was in the first place for any of my siblings to have kids.

People may have pity on me, but I kid you not — I fall asleep within 60 seconds of hitting my pillow at night and the only thing I have to worry about is my dog.

When society is all about women’s rights, then please respect those of us who don’t want children. My main reason — I am pretty damn content on my own. I always have been and I always remain to be.

And what happens if I hit 50 and I feel something is missing? I will just buy another dog!

Why is it such a bad thing to everyone that I don’t want kids?

Just because I’m a woman, it doesn’t mean I’m obligated to reproduce. And just because I don’t desire children, it doesn’t make me selfish. Motherhood has never been an ambition. It’s not my destiny.

See, I love my life, but society has made women like me who choose to be childless to feel bad about ourselves, made us feel some sort of shame.

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