Kate McDonough doesn't want kids, and some people can't seem to wrap their head around that.
She's thoughtful, patient, and enjoys working with kids. She even hopes to be an art therapist one day. But that doesn't mean Kate is interested in motherhood.
"I have never felt the desire to be a mom, even when I try to force it," she wrote on her blog."It’s just not in me. I think it would be much worse to become a mother to a child that I do not want than to disappoint people who expect motherhood of me."
McDonough isn't alone — more women than ever before are choosing not to be parents.
For most of them, the decision is easy. Some may choose to focus on their education or career; others may not be able to afford it or might choose not to for medical or health reasons. And some just aren't interested in raising kids.
Frankly, their reasons aren't anyone's business. Because the only problem with not wanting to have children is how much other people take issue with the choice. Women who choose not to have kids are often singled out for being selfish or not understanding what "real love" is (whatever that means). While other questions or remarks are less malicious, that doesn't make them any less frustrating or hurtful.
"Part of the problem is that child-talk has become ingrained in small-talk," McDonough wrote in an email. "Many people don't even realize how invasive the question can be. There are a million different reasons someone may not have children, and it's a sensitive topic."
She decided to illustrate her frustration and pitch-perfect response in her comic "Pretty, Pretty Ugly."
The resulting strip beautifully depicts why McDonough doesn't want kids and offers support for other women making their own choices.
McDonough's story is not every woman's story, but that's the point. Motherhood is a personal decision.
Since she posted the comic to her Tumblr seven months ago, most of the feedback has been positive.
The original post has more than 58,000 notes. Many readers thanked McDonough for putting their feelings into words (and pictures). Even parents chimed in to voice their support. And the feedback wasn't limited to McDonough's peers either.
"I've had girls in high school ask me if I worry I'll regret the decision someday and I've had women in their 60s and 70s tell me they don't regret their decision to remain childless at all," she wrote. "It's pretty awesome to see all the encouragement. It gives me hope that demands on the next generations might not be the same!"
No matter how you look at it, kids change your life.
Choosing to raise a child is not an easy decision and looking to your partner or trusted friends for support can be valuable. However, it's not anyone's place to suggest or assume they know you better than yourself. You know your situation, preferences, and lifestyle best. Trust it and make the best decision for you and your family.
And if you choose kids, pack wet wipes. So, so many wet wipes.