LAURA HENSHAW: 'I'm not sure I want to have children. But I feel like I have to.'

The 'Australian dream' is to get married, buy a home and have a baby… right? Society makes us feel like the only way to have a 'successful' life is to have children. Well, that's the 'picture-perfect' scenario we’re sold.

My life, as I am right in this present moment, is full of love, happiness and purpose. I have my husband, my beautiful dogs, my family, my friends, my work and the incredible Kic community. I'm able to fill my cup to the brim, I know what makes me happy. I know what makes me thrive.

I have the flexibility to lean into whatever it is my body and mind are craving. Whether it’s exercise, sleep, sex, travel, drink, dine, dance, work or just simply, relax. I have the freedom to be me. How is that not deemed successful?

laura henshaw: 'i'm not sure i want to have children. but i feel like i have to.'
Lauren Henshaw with her husband, Dalton. Image: Supplied.

Some women feel like they are born to be mothers. Growing up, I always assumed I would have children, because that’s 'what women do'. But I've never had that innate feeling of knowing that I want to be a mum. I thought when I hit 31 I would feel ready, but over the past few years, the older I have gotten — the less ready I feel.

Time is a major factor. So many of us feel that we need time to make the decision. Time to get ready. But time is also the thing that can strip the decision away from us.

When we don't have the answers and we don't feel ready, all we want is more time, but the fear of waiting too long feels crippling. It's almost like I'm in a room, filling with water. Before I turned 30 the tap was just dripping, but once I entered my thirties, the water has started gushing in, and time is running out, fast.

Choosing to have children is such a complex decision — one that isn’t even guaranteed. Infertility is such a heartbreaking reality for 1 in 6 Australian families. If and when I choose to have children, is this even possible for me?

Watch: Things People Who Don't Want Kids Always Hear. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Last year I opened up on a KICPOD episode about my fear of losing myself if I became a mum. I am genuinely scared of losing the life that I love, that I have worked so hard to build. I felt so isolated, but when I opened up, I have never been inundated with so many messages from women who could relate.

There's so much to take into consideration. What if I wait 'too' long? I’ll lose momentum in my career. My priorities will shift. I'll no longer have time for myself or my husband. I started asking myself, do I actually want kids?

I searched everywhere for resources to help me with this life-alternating decision. But in a pro-natal society, this topic felt really taboo. I felt an innate responsibility to use my platform to speak up. To voice the conversations that I was struggling to find answers for.

So, the Do I Want Kids? mini series was born — a safe space to ask the questions we feel like we can't ask, but are so important in shaping our decision.

A space for insightful and meaningful conversations for women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, who are feeling alone and overwhelmed in this decision. Together we explore all of the elements, without the expectations of society or the people around us.

In the research for this podcast we spoke with over 1,000 women, who shared their feelings of shame and isolation around not knowing. But through this process I've learnt that we are not alone, and there is NOTHING to be ashamed about. The more we talk about it the less taboo it will become.

I spoke with women from all walks of life. From parenthood mentors to child-free advocates, career-driven professionals, stay at home mums, young and older parents, relationship experts, medical specialists and finally, my husband Dalton. Hearing different perspectives has been truly empowering.

I've learnt that life can be beautiful and full of love, community and joy with or without children, and exploring this has been incredibly freeing. Hopefully, I can help you feel the same way.

Do you feel pressure to have children? Tell us in the comments section below.

You can follow Laura Henshaw and Kic on Instagram.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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