‘You can lead a fulfilled life with or without children’ – living child-free in dentistry

‘It’s not been something that I have felt an overwhelming urge to pursue’ – Alison Edisbury talks through why it’s important to not bow to pressure to have children if you feel it isn’t right for you.

Choosing to live child-free – do you think it is an important topic that should be discussed?

Yes, I do think it is an important topic that should be discussed. I believe that there is a lot of shame around the subject and worry about what other people will think. There’s often this narrative that if you choose to be child-free, it’s because you have chosen to pursue a career instead.

But, you can be a parent and have a career, it’s not one or the other, and you can choose that being a parent isn’t for you, for whatever reason!

Have you always known that you didn’t want children?

No, if you’d have asked me in my early 20s I would have said I would have had children.

However, as I’ve got older, I’ve just never felt that urge to pursue motherhood so it was never really on my mind until I hit age 35. It was then that I had to start thinking if it was something that I wanted.

I would say for me, it has never really been a conscious choice not to have children, but more that it’s not been something that I have felt an overwhelming urge to pursue.

What’s the most outrageous thing someone has said to you because of this choice?

People have assumed that it is my partner’s choice not to have children, rather than mine.

I’ve never really had a negative comment – I think when people ask if you have children and you say no, the conversation just seems to end there. I think people presume that maybe you can’t have children and it’s a sensitive subject so they don’t question further.

My mum did start to put pressure on me to have children after my nephews were born and eventually I had to have a word with her about it.

What would you say to someone who feels pressured into having children when they do not believe it’s for them?

Ultimately it is your decision and you have to live with it. Don’t have children for someone else – they are a huge blessing but a lot of responsibility, and if you truly feel that it isn’t what you want, don’t let anyone else pressure you into it.

You can live a fulfilled life with or without children – you have to choose what is best for you.

Are you ever misunderstood about this and how does it make you feel?

As above – people assume that it is my partner’s decision rather than mine, or that I’ve chosen a career instead of children, but this really isn’t the case.

People used to say – ‘you’ll change your mind’– and I might! I would never say never. But I’ll be 40 this year, and I’ve not change my mind yet, and I’m comfortable with that.

People have also said that I’ll regret it, or that I don’t know what I’m missing. This does annoy me a little because I would never dream of saying the same thing to someone who has chosen to have children.

We all have to live with the decisions we make.

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