childless by choice

In my interviews with over 100 happily married childfree couples (and in-depth interviews with 40 of them), I found many interesting parallels.
I've elected not to breed -- from a very young age I just never thought of myself as a mother. I've never pictured myself in that role, even though I didn't know what I did want from my life.
And no, they won't "eventually" change their minds.
What is criminal about a childless woman wanting to have a meal without the distraction of children? There are countless venues that cater for children and carry the child-friendly tag.
I believe our purpose is to experience life from our unique perspective, and be happy -- not simply reproduce. That is just one of the countless experiences available to us.
Did I make the biggest mistake of my life by not having kids? Not building my own family? Who will take care of me when I'm old? Would kids make me feel less lonely?
I have to come clean: this not actually about a pot, even though it kind of is. This is really about being single, childless, and therefore not ever receiving a Le Creuset or a salad spinner or a dream catcher or anything ever as congratulations for having hit one of the marks of adult society.
The mandate that you must have children to be a "real woman" is completely false, but you are real. How could anyone ever tell you otherwise?
Children can't be let out in the yard to play until you get up at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday because you were out late the night before. Dogs can. Cats don't even need to be let out, you can ignore them.
Why does non-parenthood continue to be pitted against parenthood? It's like continuing to ask: "Are children the key to happiness in life?" and continuing to try and prove the answer is yes. Yet the real answer is already known.