According to a new report from the CDC, the number of women age 20 to 24 giving birth has fallen 4 percent since 2016 to a record low of 71 per 1,000. While some millennials are putting off motherhood, others don’t want children now or later—and Khaliha Hawkins is one of them. Here’s her story, as told to Juno DeMelo.
My 11-year-old sister was born when I was a freshman in high school. Being around for her birth and watching my parents—who both had full-time, demanding jobs—raise her, I was like, yeah, that’s not for me.
Don’t get me wrong: Of course I love and care about my sister, and I still babysit her. But my parents were straight-up with me about how expensive childcare is, and I was flabbergasted. And even though my mom had great insurance when she was pregnant, I was in shock about how much my sister’s birth cost.
I also know that you have to have a lot of patience to be a parent, and my tolerance for bullshit is low! I have friends who stop what they’re doing when they see babies, who have always dreamt about being parents, and that’s just not me.
People ask me all the time whether I want kids. I’m usually hesitant to tell them I don’t, because then they ask why, and I don’t feel like I need to give them an explanation. If I do respond, I simply say “no” and leave it at that. If you’re not my partner or a close friend or family member, it’s none of your business.
“I know that you have to have a lot of patience to be a parent, and my tolerance for bullshit is low!”
I have a really large family, and they bring it up every Thanksgiving. My mom always says you should have kids early so it’s easier on you and your body and so you can grow together, and I’m like, no! I can’t imagine it happening, but if I somehow decide down the road that I want to be a mother, I would just adopt.
Even though I’ve been warned that supposedly every man wants a child, I’ve actually been set up with a guy based on the fact that he also didn’t want kids. I’m not dating anyone right now. If I did meet someone, I’d make sure to bring up the fact that I don’t want kids before things got serious.
Obviously I’m on birth control, the importance of which was drilled into me early on. I used to be on acne medication, and I didn’t want to have to remember to take multiple pills every day, so I use a hormonal birth control I don’t have to think about as often.
I know how much you have to sacrifice to be a parent. Some of my friends think I’d be a great mom because I’m so passionate, but I’m passionate about art and politics and my career, not children! People always say it’s selfish to not want kids, whereas I feel like it’s the exact opposite. It would be selfish of me to bring a child into this world knowing I’ve had these convictions for so long.