More women than ever are choosing not to become moms. Society needs to be OK with it.

Hannah Blum is a 39-year-old corporate executive living in San Diego, California. Motherhood isn't her thing.

Sadly, she keeps encountering people who want to offer their sympathies to her — even during a routine trip to rent a movie at Redbox.


Hannah chooses not to have kids, and she's a very happy woman. All photos are from Hannah Blum and used with permission.

"After a bit of small talk with the guy in front of me in line, I told him that I didn't have any kids," Hannah said. "He was shocked that a woman like me didn't have kids and looked at me with pity to say he was 'so very sorry.' But actually, I just don't want kids."

You're a mom? Cool. We all love moms. But what about the women who choose not to be mothers?

It doesn't matter if its online or offline, it's almost impossible not to see imagery of motherhood at every turn.

America loves moms, as we should. GIF from "Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream."

Witnessing a woman caring and nurturing her children is a beautiful sight, and the world is undoubtedly a better place due to the great ladies who take motherhood seriously.

But more women than ever are choosing not to be mothers at all. In fact, the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey in 2014 noted that over 47% of women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 44 do not have children — the highest percent since the government began tracking that information.

Sadly, stigmas exist about what it means to be a child-free woman in America, so I asked Hannah to provide her thoughts on the situation.

1. She doesn't want any pity.

Experiences like the one at Redbox happen quite often, and when Hannah's child-free life is revealed to people, they react as if she revealed a terminal diagnosis or that she has a screw loose instead.

"Wait, you don't have kids? Sorry about that." GIF from "The Steve Harvey Show."

"It's not that I'm unable to have children or can't find a man," Hannah said. "I'm just extremely happy with my current lifestyle, and it's frustrating when society doesn't understand that."

2. It doesn't mean she hates kids.

Hannah grew up in a family with six children. Not only that, but by the time she was 15, she babysat her 2-year-old twin sisters and her 3-year-old brother while her parents enjoyed a their weekly Saturday night date. She loved it.

"I bathed them, sang to them, read to them, fed them, kissed their boo-boos, you name it, I did it," Hannah said. "And it was fun for me."

Even today, Hannah enjoys spending time with her friends' kids. She's even pretty good at soothing crying babies because she had plenty of experience when she was a teenager.

In other words, she loves kid time but doesn't want it all of the time.

Hannah enjoys spending time with her friends' kids, Sadie (left) and Dana.

Today, she enjoys coming and going as she pleases, sleeping in on weekends, and watching her beloved New England Patriots play football uninterrupted. "I'm thankful that I can enjoy my friends' kids as often as I'd like, but I also enjoy some me-time," Hannah said. "By not having kids of my own, I have that choice."

3. It doesn't mean she's selfish.

This is the big one.

Oftentimes Hannah and her child-free friends are labeled as selfish. Being a good parent means putting your kids' needs before your own, right?

Hannah looks at it a little differently.

"I'm the friend who will pick you up in the middle of the night because your boyfriend broke up with you," Hannah said. "I also volunteer many hours a week cleaning garbage from our oceans, working at homeless shelters, and raising money to find a cure for cancer. That doesn't seem all that selfish to me."

Hannah (center, red shirt) pictured at the national leadership conference for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2014. She's the chapter chairperson for the San Diego-Hawaii region.

Shouldn't we celebrate people who don't want to be parents?

Parenting is hard. People with and without kids know that. Moms and dads deserve all of the credit in the world for taking on such an important task.

But if an individual feels that he or she doesn't want to raise kids, shouldn't we be glad they realized that before trying to have a baby?

That alone makes the world a better place.

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Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign, is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

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Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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