Some Nigerian Women Share Why They Do Not Want Children

January 4, 2021

We live in a society where having kids is expected of every woman, but there are some that do not want them, and will never want them. So, we asked some Nigerian women why they do not want children.

Olamide, 34

When I was a teenager, I always told everyone that I was going to be a rich aunty because I do not want children. My parents told me I would grow out of it, but a decade or two later, and here I am. I adore my nieces and nephew, and they adore me in return. Whatever their parents do not want to buy for them, they ask me and I do it. They spend weekends at my place and we go out and have fun. This arrangement works so well for me because I get to return them. Once I have important work to do, or I am too stressed, they get returned. That is why I do not want any of my own, because they cannot be returned. This is one of the best decisions I have ever taken, and I regret nothing.

Anu, 20

Honestly, fuck them kids. What can they ever give me that I cannot get somewhere else at a cheaper rate? All the money I would use to train them can be used to enjoy the baby girl life I deserve. When I retire, I will pay to stay in a nice nursing home where I can be around other old people. We will laugh, trade stories about life and just relax.

Ada

I’m old enough to know myself and I’ve always known, from the time I was about 11. Not wanting kids is as natural to me as my identifying as a straight woman (obviously, people feel the same way with different identities as well). I was born this way. Being a woman is not a path, function or identity defined by what organs I was born with, or what society has historically/dangerously stated women should do with their bodies. The reason for my not wanting kids is – the desire does not, and has never existed. I was simply born without the inclination for such.

Theresa, 24

I don’t want children because they’re a lot of work and I’m a lazy person. You can’t do anything alone once you have them. They’re noisy as well, and you can’t give them back and can’t even take holidays from being a parent.

Bolu, 21

After I removed the lens of having kids because of family pressure and as a backup retirement plan, I just didn’t see the point. From a practical view, kids just don’t make a lot of sense.

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Odion, 42

I love myself too much to want kids. This is not saying that people that have them do not love themselves, it is just that I love myself a bit too much. I love life, I love living, and I want to do all of that for myself. Kids make you live for them. All the money you earn goes to them. All your time, energy, love, them. I do not hate kids, I just am not selfless enough to have them. My husband is all the companionship I need and I love it. I am very lucky that my husband holds the same view I have, so he did all the fighting when family started causing trouble.

Halima, 24

I’ve never really dreamt of having kids. In fact, seeing the way my nephews and nieces have put their mom’s lives on hold has solidified my stance. Not everybody has the resources to hire many hands to help them with their kids. Even if you did, Nigerians would judge you for that. Let’s not even talk about the permanent changes to the host’s body. I also don’t want to bring anybody to this world to come and suffer. I can’t tell my mum though, she’d run mad. So I had always secretly hoped I was barren so at least when I got married everyone would understand that my not having kids was not my fault. But recently I got pregnant (and terminated it) so I’m not barren after all. I hope I find someone that doesn’t want kids as well and I live happily ever after.

Linda, 35

I do not want children because life is too unsure to form strong emotional attachments to people. What if something happens to them and they die? Or something happens to me and thy have to watch me die? That is too much to ask of anyone. I watched both my parents die, and I know how much it hurt. I do not want to go through that again.

Anna, 20

Kids are not only biological leeches, they are freedom and wealth stealers. When I think through my checklist and picture my future, I don’t see myself drinking wine in Ibiza and worrying about some kids. I have all sorts of ambitions, and none is directed towards procreating. I didn’t have this conviction till later years though. Growing up, I just did not want kids because of a pregnant woman in my neighborhood that lost her legs. It made me see pregnancy as a thing of pain. Asides that, I have an autistic cousin who was hated by his father. It gave my Aunt so much pain and I just felt “their problems” would have been avoided if they never gave birth. There’s also so much harm and hatred in the world and it is extremely selfish to expose another soul to all of that.

Elizabeth, 23

Call me selfish, but I’m not about to have a weight gain pre or post a baby. Postpartum depression and stress too isn’t something I think I would have time for. I’d actually say fuck them kids if it’s going to mean me maintaining my youthful glow and shape. Asides all these, I have actively never thought for long about the thoughts of birthing any child. I’ve thought and fantasized about having dogs more times than I have about kids.

Fatimah, 20

I don’t want kids because space and quiet are my top priorities. Noise makes me extremely cranky, and we all know noise is children’s entire brand. Plus, I’d like to enjoy my life without the responsibilities of kids. At the mere thought of life as a mother, I can already see myself feeling trapped and regretful. I don’t deserve that, and no child does either.

Ruth, 22

I don’t want them because life is uncertain and sad. I blame my parents for bringing me into this mess, and I don’t want that for anybody else because of me

Jacinta, 25

I don’t want kids because I have underlying health issues, and I don’t want any kid to go through what I go through every day. I grew up a sick child, and spent half of my childhood between hospital beds. That’s my life, and I cannot handle the stress that comes with training children. I can’t be trying to live and have a child hold me back.

Esther, 23

I don’t want kids because I think existence is a horrible phenomenon. No matter how good life is, you’re either going to die or live long enough to watch the people you care about die. Why bring an unsuspecting child into this world to suffer either of those fates? They’re better off wherever they are.

Itunu, 31

I don’t want kids for a few reasons. I’m kind of getting too old for it, and I don’t know how my body will react to the whole process. Secondly, kids disrupt your whole life. You stop thinking about you for like 18+ years. I don’t know how they’ll turn out. I know one can only do their best, but kids will turn out however they want. What if my kids become assholes, or homophobes? My mum does not know I feel this way, and I think she might collapse if she finds out. At the end of the day, she will be alright.

Cynthia, 20

Since I was younger, I’ve not liked babies. They eat your life, while they just cry, piss, and shit with no regard for you. I have depression and sometimes I don’t want to speak to anyone, but you have to be there constantly for a child. You can’t just pack your bags and travel, or check into a hotel when you need a break from your wife. Your life is now for them and it makes no sense. Then when raising them you don’t even know what you might do that could cause problems. My parents were always at work trying to get money to better my life, yet it’s what I have to deal with in therapy. They were always at work and hardly around. Pregnancy is giving up yourself, your life, and your body. I am barely in control of the life.

Bimbo, 37

I do not want children because I enjoy life. I have travelled round different parts of the world with nothing but a backpack and my camera. Children do not allow for that to happen. I do not want to put my life on hold to care for another human being. I have my husband, my plants, and our dogs and that is a good enough life for me. His parents at first thought I was a witch, but they have come to accept it. I am an adventure junkie, and I consider children limitations.

Chisom, 22

I’ve seen and heard stories of women dying at childbirth and I’m scared of that. In fact, it is not just dying. It’s also the way pregnancy changes your body (loss of teeth, brain fog, vagina tear etc). Also, children bind you to a marriage somewhat. If things go south, I want to be able to up and go without it affecting the kids.

Tobi, 25

I never wanted children, because the idea of it doesn’t appeal to me. They are expensive, and there’s a lot of expectations on both ends when you commit to child bearing. Also, it’s a painful process and you can just opt out of having to go through. I chose opting out. Everyone thinks it’s a phase, and I’d change my mind when I’m older. A few years ago, I said I didn’t mind one child, trying to be accepted by my partner and family members, but after deep social searching, I don’t see the long term benefits of kids. I made a firm decision at 24, and I’m in the process of taking out my womb so I’m free of any accidental babies.

Mary, 23

I don’t want kids because I don’t see the point, have you seen pregnancy? Also because I’m afraid I’ll fuck them up. For every me, there are like 10 people that want kids. They’ll repopulate the earth just fine. If somehow people like me are more, then humanity may go extinct and that’s fine. My mum knows because at the time it was tied to me also not wanting to get married. We fought, there were tears, and it ended with me saying I will do whatever she wants since her happiness is more important than mine. Obviously I was lying, but I had to say it to keep her off my back. She has three grandchildren already, why is she stressing me? My stance has changed on marriage or at least a life partner since then, but children? Still a no go area.

Chioma, 31

I do not want kids because I just do not want them.

Hafiza, 20

I do not want kids because I have never really understood the concept of having them. Apart from the subtle influence of the society as to what should be and what shouldn’t, I find myself looking for something beyond that stereotype. Plus, I do not think I am capable of a long term relationship with anyone, especially if that person would be around all the time. I’m the type of person that could decide one day I want to be alone and by myself for months. I cannot simply commit to having kids of my own.

Janet, 19

When I picture my future, I never actually see kids and I think that’s reason enough to not being a whole human being into the world. Especially because I need to have conviction about parenthood so as to not mess them up for life. I also know that I won’t love them unconditionally. Imagine bringing someone into the world and they’re a supporter of Bubu. God forbid.

Martha, 25

I realized I just wanted them cos it was like a rite of passage, and I don’t feel strong emotional connection to kids. I just don’t see them in my future. Since I realized that I actually didn’t want them, it’s like a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

Amaka, 18

I don’t think I would be able to live with myself knowing that I contributed to someone’s childhood trauma. I don’t have a good relationship with my parents, and that has made all the other relationships in my life suffer. The possibility of my kids feeling the same way I feel towards my parents is not one I think I can handle. Also, not enough people talk about how kids are bad vibes. They are. They can’t speak, can’t form coherent thoughts, and they’re essentially useless. I’m a very impatient person and one day my intrusive thoughts might kick in and the next thing you know, I’ve drop kicked my 3 year old

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Itohan Esekheigbe

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