When her partner of five years suddenly expressed the desire for an offspring, she had to choose between him and the life she had always wanted for herself.
Contrary to the popular belief that having children will give you a fulfilling life, Jackie Dives, a 39-year-old artist, advocates for women who choose childfree lifestyles. She has gone viral on TikTok by sharing how she spends her day as a woman without kids for those considering leading a similar life. The increasing awareness on the subject highlights that women who choose not to have children are not selfish, emotionally stunted or basing their decision on a traumatic childhood. If anything, they are the opposite; they are women with self-knowledge and maturity who resist enormous social pressure and choose a life right for them.
Dives knew she never wanted to be a parent and when her partner of five years suddenly expressed the desire for an offspring, she had to choose between him and the life she had always wanted for herself. “When my partner left our relationship after five years because he wanted to have a baby, I knew I did not want to be a parent, but I felt lost because I had no examples of what my life could look like,” Dives wrote in the description of one viral video. “This is what a happy child-free life can look like.” In the video, which racked up over 41.3K views, Dives shows herself as she gets up for a peaceful morning of meditation and journaling, then heads to the farmer’s market with a friend for breakfast and shopping, goes for a run and later makes kimchi and quilts before bed.
However, the society we live in loves to pick on women and criticize those who choose to live a life of their own. Dives faced many accusations in her videos, with people asking why she needs to mention that she is childfree in her “day in the life” videos. In another stitched video, with over 3.7 million views, Dives explains why she mentions being "childfree" in her TikToks. She talks about her ex-partner saying, “After we separated, it was hard for me to visualize what my life would look like. I could see my life if he and I had stayed together. I would be with him, and we would have a house, a baby, a family, great in-laws and a white picket fence, the whole thing.”
“But because we are never shown examples in media or pop culture about what it looks like to be a woman who does not have children," she continues, "I had no idea what my life would look like if I didn’t go down the path that everyone expected me to go down. It felt lonely and strange, and I had to seek out other women who had also made that choice.” While growing up, Dives was told by many people that she would change her mind and eventually want to have kids.
Many women are victims of this narrative and are scrutinized for wanting to live independently and be child-free. There is a severe lack of support and representation for women who want to live that lifestyle, and Dives is sharing hers on the internet so that other people like her can have somebody as an example.
“My whole life, people have dismissed my conviction around being child-free and have told me I would change my mind,” Dives told BuzzFeed. “Having to defend me for years, in conjunction with losing my partner because of my choice, meant that I experienced a deep, deep feeling of grief and alienation around being child-free.” She has now created a safe space for like-minded women, something she wished she had while growing up.
Commenters under the video shared that they, too, felt alone and discouraged until they found her account. "The freedom of being child-free is unmatched. It allows me to grow and focus on the child that needs me the most- my inner child," said @TheOnyxOracle. "I have found my side of TikTok,” wrote @LifeOfBeenz, “42, no kids, single, and have felt moments of not fitting in. I love it here.” "Nearly 42 years old, married almost 20 years, and childfree. It’s a good life!" shared @ChristieTrilla.