When Women Tell me “You will regret it”

Ashwini Sriram
2 min readMay 16, 2024

People (especially women) feel ridiculously comfortable asking me — a 33 year old woman, who has been married for eight years — why I don’t have children.

Do I plan to have children at all, they ask.

I better have them quickly, because the clock isn’t on my side, they say.

I don’t want kids, I quip.

Oh! But you will regret it. Motherhood is beautiful, says the woman sitting next to me on the 22 hr flight from San Francisco to Chennai, as she tries to feed fruit snacks to her screaming toddler.

Look, I am sure it is, for some people. As I look at the hassled mother and the loud, snotty-nosed child she has to entertain for an entire day, I just don’t see it for myself.

Here’s the thing: nobody asks women why they have children. Nobody dares tell them “you will regret it”, although many women do regret motherhood. Considering how child-bearing and rearing are almost always more expensive, more anxiety-inducing, more painful, and generally a lot more effort than being childfree, I’m surprised that that’s not the conversation we are having.

Nobody tells women, omg, I am so sorry you had kids so early in your life and that meant having to give up on several things that you’d rather have been doing. I am also sorry for all the sleepless nights, and the absolute lack of social, employer, or government support (especially if you are American) as you pushed a human out of your body which, by the way, refuses to ‘bounce back’.

I am sorry about the gender inequality of this whole exercise. I’m sorry that society expects mothers to “have it all” without a complaint while gaslighting them into believing something’s wrong with them if they aren’t blissfully happy.

I am so sorry.

I am sorry that you have to bring children into, and protect them from, a world where climate change induced calamities, and gun violence are a reality.

I wish people told women we are enough, as often as they tell us that our life’s purpose is to procreate.

Childfree women never voice these (legitimate) concerns to mothers, so it surprises me when mothers are so convinced that their decision to have children is the “right one” for everyone.

I am sure some women have found joy in being parents. I know friends who love being parents! I am happy for them!

I’ve found joy in not being one! :)

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Ashwini Sriram

Technology leader from Chennai living and writing in San Francisco.