YOU probably have fewer children right now than your parents did when they were your age. Even just by looking around and comparing the number of children that you and your siblings have when compared to your grandparents, you will realise that Jamaica's birth rate is decreasing. Last year, there were about 16 babies born for every 1,000 Jamaican women, which is less than half the number of births per 1,000 women in the 1950s. The current number of children per woman in Jamaica, on average, is about two, and even that number is declining annually.
Included in this average are those Jamaican women who choose not to have any children at all. As women seek better opportunities for themselves and pursue their individual aspirations, an increasing number of them are deciding against starting families.
These young women shared with All Woman why they choose not to have children.
Shari, 23, student:
Unless I become filthy rich and still have enough time and good eggs to make babies after I've achieved all my goals, this bloodline dies with me. I grew up seeing too many poor people around me having children just because they could.
Tianna, 28, teacher:
I don't want children because I've never really felt that maternal drive in me that some women around me just seem to have. But also, I had really bad period pains and the only thing that worked for me is the birth control injection, so I've been on it for over two years now. If I wanted to get pregnant I would need to come off it for a while so that my period would start coming back. That is just too much pain to even consider. Plus the pain to carry and push out a baby? Then the pain of breastfeeding? No thank you.
Tamara, 26, sales representative:
I spent a lot of my teenage years and early 20s caring for my younger siblings, and it's really not something I want to continue for the rest of my life. Neither do I want to have children and then expect them to be caring for each other so I can work to take care of them. We already have a population problem so I will be one of those nice women who take one for the team and not have any.
Trevann, 24, writer:
They cost way too much money. The whole experience looks stressful and I want to have life as relaxed as possible. Life is hard enough without children. Finally, I just don't have a desire to be a mother.
Kay-Ann, 28, nurse:
I watched my sister almost go crazy when her baby was born prematurely and died after two weeks. That is a pain I don't think I could endure, or ever want to risk having to endure. I like being an aunt. That's enough. Parenting just seems a bit too full-time for me.
Annecia, 26, soldier:
I have enough younger siblings and nieces and nephews to fill any gap I could ever have for a child. And really, I don't see the point of bringing another working-class life into this capitalist society. Things are hard enough. I would only be making things harder for myself, and unnecessarily hard on a human who did not ask to be here in the first place.
Kady, 30, content creator:
The idea of children just never really appealed to me. That's it. They seem nice and all, but I just never wanted one for myself, and I don't think I ever will.
Samantha, 29, pharmacy assistant:
My mother raised me and her two other children by herself for the most part. We are all for different dads, and she was not a loose woman. Men just don't share the burden of children equally in our culture, and that's a big turn off for me. It's as if children only belong to mothers and men have the option of helping, if you treat them right. I can't see myself giving anyone that much power over me, or taking on all that responsibility by myself.