Ask Layla

‘Despite feeling confident in my decision to remain child-free, I find myself constantly facing questions and criticisms from those around me’

Ask Layla: When people ask me questions like, “Why don't you want children?" or say things like "You'll regret it later," it really affects me deeply. It makes me question myself and wonder if I'm making the right decision. How can I maintain my inner strength and confidence in my choice despite these ongoing doubts and criticisms?


I'm a woman in my thirties, happily married but intentionally child-free, and I'm reaching out for some advice and support as I navigate through a particularly challenging aspect of my life.

It's not always easy being in a society where motherhood is often seen as the ultimate fulfilment for women. Despite feeling confident in my decision to remain child-free, I find myself constantly facing questions and criticisms from those around me. It's tough, sometimes it feels like I'm swimming against the tide, trying to hold on to my beliefs and choices in the face of so much pressure to conform.

The comments I receive, like, "Why don't you want children?" or "You'll regret it later," can get under my skin. They make me doubt myself and wonder if I'm making the right choice. How do I stay strong and true to myself in the face of such persistent doubts and judgments?

And it's not just in personal settings – even at work, I've encountered biases and discrimination because of my decision not to have children. It's frustrating to feel like my worth is being judged based on whether or not I have kids, rather than my skills and abilities.

Social gatherings have become a bit of a minefield too. It seems like every conversation inevitably turns to children, leaving me feeling left out or even judged for my decision to live a child-free life. How do I navigate these situations without feeling like I'm constantly on the defensive?

And then there's healthcare – even there, my decision isn't always respected. It's disheartening to be questioned or even denied services because of my choice. How do I advocate for myself and make sure my autonomy is respected in these situations?

I know I'm not alone in this, but sometimes it feels like it. I'm just looking for some guidance on how to stay true to myself and embrace my child-free lifestyle with confidence and authenticity. After all, my worth as a woman shouldn't be defined by whether or not I choose to have children.


I empathise with your frustration of having others constantly scrutinise what should be a deeply personal decision. I think it's important to recognise that parenthood isn't for everyone, and every individual's choice should be respected without question. If someone doesn't bring it up themselves, it's important to respect their privacy and avoid discussing their decision to have children unless they choose to share it with you.

There's a growing number of women and couples opting out of traditional parenthood, and yet the judgment and stigma surrounding this choice, particularly for women, persist in our society. It's an unfair burden to bear, as if not desiring motherhood somehow diminishes a woman's capacity for love or femininity compared to others. "Comparison is the thief of joy” Ray Cummings astutely said. When we're subjected to judgment based on societal norms that we may not fit into, it can lead to feelings of rejection and alienation. However, it's vital to remember that our happiness shouldn't be contingent on meeting external expectations.

Ultimately, only we can truly understand the intricacies and experiences that shape our decisions. As it's only us who will live with the consequences of those decisions. In facing external judgments and opinions, perhaps embracing our choices with confidence and wholeheartedness is the key. Some may understand, while others may pass judgment, but regardless of the external noise, what matters most is finding fulfilment in our own path.

There might be a part of you yearning to shed the societal narrative of motherhood and step into the lead role of your own life's story. And that, in itself, can be a liberating and empowering realisation. After all, living fully is about honouring our true desires and aspirations, even if sometimes they don't align with societal expectations.

In our modern society, both women and men have the freedom to decide whether they want to embrace parenthood. While becoming a parent can bring immense joy and fulfilment to some, it's important to point out that it doesn't automatically mean a more loving or connected society, or that their lives are more meaningful as a result.

Here are some useful resources: Ruby Warrington, Women Without Kids;;

To send your questions to Layla, click here to fill out the form (this is an anonymous process) or email