In Nigerian society, traditional expectations often place great emphasis on marriage and motherhood for women. However, a growing number of Nigerian women are challenging these societal norms and bravely asserting their choices to remain unmarried and childless. Their voices are powerful reminders that personal fulfillment and happiness can manifest in diverse ways. In this thought-provoking article, we delve into the experiences and perspectives of Nigerian women who have chosen a different path—one that deviates from the traditional notions of marriage and motherhood. While some may assume that these women are simply defying societal expectations, we discover that their reasons for eschewing marriage and parenthood are multifaceted and deeply personal. For many, it is a deliberate choice rooted in their pursuit of personal goals, career aspirations, and the desire for self-discovery and personal growth.
I don’t really care about marriage. It has never been important to me, and currently, it looks unlikely that I’ll ever go down that road. I have many reservations about its social and political implications in today’s world, especially as a woman, a feminist, and as a person who does not fit neatly into heterosexual culture. What I long for in life is love and companionship, and that can be had with or without marriage. Regarding children, I’m ambivalent but functionally tend towards negative right now. I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time, and tbh, I mostly just want to focus on myself. It’s enough for me to love other people’s children, I don’t feel a compulsion to birth children of my own. I just do not care much for that lifestyle. My advice for women who feel the same way is stay strong, girl. We plenty; and many years from now, we may meet somewhere, chill, laugh and swap stories.
I’m indifferent about marriage. I don’t really care whether I am married or not and I am a woman of many women and men so I’d rather have multiple short, loving relationships all through my life but I don’t mind getting married to someone either. Tbh I am just a go-with-the-flow type so whatever happens in future, as long as I am happy, I am good. I just don’t want children and I am not interested in being a parent, it is as simple as that. I’ve just never been interested and I know I will not change my mind. Live your life as audacious as a Nigerian man. Life is too short to care about what society expects of women, no one should ever tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your life as long as they are not YOU, their opinions are not valid enough.
I’m not sure if I want to get married. Right now, I don’t think I want to but I’m open to it if I change my mind in the future. I can’t say why exactly, but I think it has to do with not seeing the benefits of marriage and feeling like I can have a full life without it. Plus, experiences with family haven’t exactly sold me on the subject. I don’t want children. It’s just not something I want for my life. I hate it when it is made to seem like having children is compulsory for one’s life to have meaning because I would hate to bring people into the world that I won’t give proper love and attention to. My mind may change later on because I might experience things that alter my outlook on life, but as of now, no. If you feel the same way, follow your mind and heart because, at the end of the day, it’s your life, not anyone else’s.
I don’t want to get married. It’s something I’ve known since I was like 10-years-old. I’m very particular about what I want for my life, freedom especially, and marriage doesn’t fit into those plans. I don’t mind the idea of long-term partners but it’ll never lead to marriage. Plus, I only like African/Black American men. This current stock of men? I’ll pass, thank you. I don’t like children and I can’t hide or fake it. I only like kids when they’re not mine and I can return them once the tears and fussing start. I hate the idea of pregnancy and what it does to the body and I’m never putting myself through that. It’s not worth it. Maybe when I’m much older, I’ll adopt an older child. My decision is influenced by the reality of our economy, not just in Nigeria, but everywhere; the disinterest, I just don’t care about getting married or giving birth, and the sacrifice necessary— your money, time, and personal space. Everyone around me thinks it’s a phase that I’ll get tired of, so I don’t bother explaining anymore. I will not change my mind, maybe unless they use jazz on me. To other women who feel the same way, stick to your guts. Do what feels right for you and your body.
I don’t want to get married or have children. I don’t think I can have the facilities required to properly take care of them, and I’m not talking about money, I have to prioritise my mental state. There’s pressure, but I’m hoping that in the future I can insulate myself from anyone and anything that would try to pressure me into doing these things. I don’t think I’ll change my mind but should I ever get baby, then I will plan to adopt. Ultimately, nobody can force you to do whatever you don’t want to.
I don’t know if I want to get married, but I’m mostly leaning towards yes. I want to have 1 or 2 children and if I don’t have mine, my siblings’ kids will suffice. I love caring for children and I hate seeing them suffer. Weirdly, I’ve figured out a way to give children and teenagers advice without flogging them. I don’t feel pressure from my immediate family. My parents talk about me and my siblings making it well in life often. I think it’s because they understand that we are still young and there’s still time to figure things out. I don’t know if I’ll change my mind, I think the universe will decide. Everyone needs to try to figure out what they want and how they want it, it will help deal with the pressure from family and society.
I want to get married because I’ve seen what great companionship translates to and I want that for myself. I don’t want to have children though, I don’t think it fits into my long-term plan. I also don’t think I’ll ever be prepared to have children and I don’t want to go into it half-baked. My upbringing and the ideals I currently hold are the main influences behind my decision. There’s definitely pressure to marry and have children. I’m only 20 and my mum already talks about me moving out and having kids. My mum raised me and my sisters alone and her idea of a job well done is all of us grown up and well settled in ‘good’ marriages.’ I think I might change my mind about having kids if/when I ever attain a level of growth that I think is necessary to attain before thinking of bringing up human beings.
The thing is, sometimes I want to get married and sometimes I don’t. I want to get married because that’s what I’ve been taught to want and also because I really like being in love and having my own person. I don’t want to get married because people change and I am not certain that I actually want kids and I don’t know if I’ll meet anybody on the same wavelength.
I don’t want to have children because of how gruesome childbearing is but sometimes I think I want to adopt, then I realise that I haven’t even adjusted well to my life so I doubt that I can help another human being adjust. I’m also scared that I might bring an asshole into this world and I don’t want to do that. The factors that affected my decision are my mental health and my environment. Children are already plenty enough on earth please and there’s no space again. Also, with depression and anxiety, I don’t know how well I can raise a child. I don’t want regrets, so I’d rather not. My mom is always reminding me that I’m old and it’s almost time to get married. She hasn’t mounted a lot of pressure on me though, at least not outrightly. It’s just the subtle “Is this what you will do in your husband’s house?” and the rest. Also, I have about 4 friends that are engaged, so while there’s no horrible pressure right now, the thought is there. I may change my mind because change is constant and I change my mind a lot, but ultimately I know I will make the best decision for myself. For women who are unsure of what they want, they should listen to themselves and weigh all the pros and cons. It’s going to be something they have to live with forever so they should patiently make their choices.
I want to get married because I love the conventional idea of having a family of your own; my husband, our kids and I going through life together. I want to see mini versions of me and care for them. I grew up in a conventional family and I loved the stability that came with it and there’s no pressure.
I’m honestly still conflicted about marriage. I love being in love, but I don’t think I’m monogamous. I’m also pansexual and I’d love to explore that side of myself outside of a marriage. I love children and I’d love to raise mine but the process is something that scares me so much. I definitely feel pressure. I’m the first child and only girl child of my parents. They expect me to want to have a family and in the past, my mum has tried to set me up with a man. As it is, I’m not sure of anything and I hope to make a decision soon.
I want to get married, for companionship, but I don’t want to have children for a number of reasons. A lot of factors influenced my decision. Physical, mental, emotional and financial. I’m the first born so I’ve been a mother to my siblings since I was a preteen, I never got to even have my own childhood. As an adult, I can’t fulfil everything I want for myself because I have younger ones and they all depend on me. Why then do I need kids to make it even worse? There’s absolutely nothing that can make me want to experience that trauma and baggage all over again. Kids are extremely exhausting and that’s an understatement. I’m yet to see the positive side of putting my body and mind through pregnancy and labour. It’s just not worth it. The pressure is definitely there but I know how to ignore things A LOT. Live your best life, stack your paper, be with someone whose views and beliefs align with yours, and ignore the pressure. Do you and everyone else will adjust. If they don’t want to adjust then that’s their family problem!
I want to share intimacy with someone, so strong that we don’t even need an official wedding certificate to validate it, we might just end up getting the certificate for the benefits depending on how we’re feeling. On the other hand, I don’t want to have children, they’re a big responsibility. I’ve had children around me since I was a child. My mum would have her friends bring their babies over for me and my sisters to look after while they went to church meetings or even work and for my js3 and ss3 holidays, I looked after my cousins for months too. Raising children is a big responsibility and people don’t like to acknowledge it. I love children and I love having them around but I think it’s too much of a responsibility for me to have to attend to them 24/7, even to the point where I lose myself or forget who I am as a person and my entire identity revolves around being a mother, that’s huge. My relationship with my mother, my friends and their relationships with their mothers and essentially how our society views childbearing and raising have reinforced this decision. If I get to a phase in my life where I’m in a better place to attend to those responsibilities with love and not out of obligation, I might change my mind. Be confident in your decision, ask yourself why and search yourself for these answers, they’re within you.
I do want to get married. I’m demisexual (I think) and the idea of a partner that knows me and my body inside out to share life and travel with appeals to me greatly, especially because I’m not getting sex now. Marriage itself provides some security, it’s a sign of commitment. However, I do not want children. I want to love life for myself and travel as much as I want, and children don’t fit into that. Children need a lot of care, stability, security and all that, and I can’t provide that on my own, and men aren’t reliable for childrearing, so I won’t ever do it. It’s a bad idea, in general, to rely on having a man in your life to help raise kids. Actually, most of my reasons apply to toddlers, so maybe in the future, I’d adopt an older child. There is a bit of pressure, being a Nigerian firstborn, but I’m not too fussed. We go run am.
Honestly, I feel if I were to get married, it would be for financial benefits. For example, I hope to travel to Canada in future so if I were to find a partner with a Canadian visa, I’d marry him. The idea of marriage is rooted in patriarchal/religious origins so I’m not particularly interested in it. I don’t mind having a long-term partner and not getting married. But if I do get married, it has to be for a reason other than societal validation. I don’t see myself birthing a child with this body. I’m preferential to adoption. I hope to raise children one day though, even if they aren’t biologically mine. I have always felt that nonexistence beats existence. I don’t see a point in birthing more children when there are a lot who need parents. Also, I experience debilitating menstrual cramps every month so I refuse to willingly put myself through more pain, including childbirth. I don’t feel pressure, I do what I want, and everyone gets in line. I may change my mind, who knows? Life is uncertain. Do what you want. Your life is yours to live. We’ll be okay last last.
I love the idea of being bound together with one person for the rest of time and I want to have children because I want to be able to impact a growing being positively. As much as I’ll say I was not influenced into this decision, I still acknowledge that the society I live in encourages these decisions.
Marriage takes work and children are a huge responsibility. Decisions regarding these things should be made with utmost consciousness as the impacts are far-reaching. The decision not to get married or have children is a personal choice that Nigerian women are making in increasing numbers. Their reasons vary, from wanting to pursue careers and personal goals, to concerns about the state of marriage and motherhood in Nigeria. If any one chooses to have children, they should do it because they want to and are dedicated to doing it and being the very best they can for their family. Whatever the reasons may be, it is important to respect and support these women in their choices, and work towards creating a society that values and respects their decisions. It is clear that Nigerian women are breaking away from societal expectations and taking control of their lives, and we can only hope that this trend will continue to be celebrated and encouraged.