Jessica Hawks is a 52-year-old teacher in Southern New Jersey. She is mainly known as MyTeacherFace on the Tik Tok app. She uses it to talk about her life as a teacher and normalize the topic of being a childfree woman.
‘I kind of always knew that I didn’t want to go the mother route.’ she says. Even when she was a little girl, her mom would notice that she never played with dolls. Instead, she would play to be a businesswoman or a teacher. ‘I just didn’t feel that maternal urge that I think somebody who’s going to have children should really feel.’ she adds.
Wanting to be childfree was a big thing to admit in the early 90s because nobody talked about it. But she believes the conversations are getting more accessible now.
‘When I started expressing myself and my feelings when I passed the age of 20, everybody talked about having children and marriage. People were always saying to me: oh, you’re young, you’ll change your mind.’ says Jessica.
But in many cultures, many women still hear this kind of thing, and it drags them down. That is why Jessica has decided to create a tik tok account and spread awareness.
‘I have girls around the world who are in cultures where it’s expected to get married young and have children.’ As she says, many young women message her to look for advice, but unfortunately, on Tik Tok, there is only a certain amount of letters she can write. ‘But some of them find me on Instagram, and that’s when I can have an actual conversation with them. These are especially women from the Middle East, like India or Mexico. Because it’s unheard in their culture to live a child-free life.’ she explains.
Jessica can understand what these young childfree women go through because it happened to her when she was younger.
‘The worst thing I’ve ever heard was that I’m selfish.’ she says, but she believes she is the generous one there. ‘When I ask other people why they have children, they never say anything like: I believe this child can be happy and this world is beautiful.’ she adds. Instead, the answers always start with ‘I’: I want a child; I’ve always dreamt of being a mother.
‘I think it would be awful for me to do it just for society. Some people truly feel this maternal urge, but I’ve never felt that. But I’m happy for them because I know they will make their children the happiest.’ she admits.
‘Of course, many trolls on Tik Tok, for example, say that I’m sad and lonely.’ she laughs. But in real life, she has many friends and a loving boyfriend. So whenever she seeks some company, she has it. But she also enjoys staying at home by herself and having a quiet night.
Jessica was around 40-years-old and happily married for about 17 years when people finally stopped asking uncomfortable questions.
‘That’s when people finally understood: oh, she really is not going to change her mind. Besides, I was going through menopause, so it wasn’t possible anymore.’ says Jessica.
In her tik toks, Jessica shows what her childfree life looks like. She can travel whenever she wants, have a career she has always dreamt of, and live a debt-free life.
‘I know some women would be able to do both simultaneously. But I wouldn’t be able to do it. And because of that, I wouldn’t be a good mother, you know. If I had kids, I’d prefer to be a stay-at-home mum, but I don’t think I’d feel happy. So there would always be a conflict between the two things.’ she says. She remembers her childhood as a pleasant time of her life. Her parents were divorced, but she could always count on them. She was always around someone.
‘See, you’d thought that someone with such a good upbringing would love to have a family on their own. But I just don’t see myself in this role.’ she says. But in reality, she did have her little family with her ex-husband, who also didn’t want to have any children.
‘I remember when the first time I told him I’m not planning to have children, and he was like, oh my god, neither do I.,’ she says. They were married for almost twenty years without children, and she believes that if they decided to be parents, their marriage wouldn’t last that long.
‘It was never difficult for me to find a partner or friends. But when I was dating, I was always straightforward. I think that is what you need to speak about at the beginning of your relationships, just like you talk about your past, dreams, religion, or plans for the future.’ she says.
Jessica laughs when asked whether her ex-partner would face the same reactions she did.
‘The interesting thing is, he was asked all of these questions and told he would change his mind. But he was never told he would be missing out, while I was told I’d be unfulfilled because children would make my world whole.’ she admits. Her partner has never experienced uncomfortable questions or reactions. There is a big difference between how society portrays childfree men and child-free women.
‘My advice for women who struggle with this kind of feeling is to follow your heart. I know it’s not easy, and people will not be pleased. But nobody will live their lives for them, and if they do something against themselves, they will regret it for the rest of their lives.’ she says. ‘And life without children really doesn’t have to be lonely or sad.’ she adds at the end.