Jayla Ores knows at 25 years old that parenthood is not a journey she desires to experience.

The Atlanta resident noted that the responsibilities of being a mother are not appealing and that the way others glamorize the role strays away from reality.

“While I understand that it can be very rewarding, parenthood requires a lot of sacrifice financially, emotionally and physically,” Ores shared with 21Ninety. “When people share unsolicited reasons on why I should consider kids, the points do not sound convincing. Knowing and staying true to myself was the main factor that led to my decision to not have children.”

Another reason that solidified Ores’ choice coincides with the health disparities and unfair treatment of Black women in hospitals. Her concerns about the medical inequities Black women face while pregnant and postpartum plays a major role in her decision. In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related issue than white women. The stark difference in quality healthcare, higher rates of chronic illness and medical bias are only a few of the multiple contributing factors that lead to high Black maternal mortality rates. 

As a result of the potential life-threatening experience, many childbearing women of color are turning towards alternative birthing practices. The healthcare industry has seen an increase in requests for midwives and doulas. These providers work to improve childbirth outcomes and serve as a support system for mothers postpartum.

Even with more women taking a nontraditional route to motherhood, Ores admitted that starting a family is not a priority. 

“My top priorities right now are my finances and physical and mental health,” Ores told 21Ninety. “My goal is to live a happy life full of love, wealth and great health.”

Ores sentiments are a common thread shared by other Gen Z women. Unlike former generations, such as the Baby Boomers, Gen Z’s interests in parenting are less important. According to a 2021 survey conducted by Pew Research, 56 percent of non-parents younger than 50 said they don’t want to have kids. Inflation and climate change were other deciding factors that diminished the appeal of parenthood.

Despite the outside factors, there are some Gen Z’ers who know they want to be parents. However, like Stephanie Washington, they know that they are not going to have children soon.

“My ambitions are a large part of why I have chosen to postpone having children,” Washington shared with 21Ninety. “I just completed a 20-year stint of education, and children would’ve made that much harder than it already was. I can’t even fathom coming home from studying all day to crying children.”

As a recent graduate from the American University Washington College of Law, the 25-year-old added that her responsibilities look different in her twenties than when her parents were coming of age.

“I wasn’t as independent as my parents were when they were my age,” Washington said. “I am just getting the hang of taking care of myself. It feels irresponsible to add a child into the mix of the pursuit of me trying to create a better life for them.”

For the parents of Gen Z and previous generations, achieving the “American Dream” was prescribed as the marker of success. The white picket fence, parenthood, home and dog may have been attainable years prior. However, that dream seems more like a fantasy for current generations. Instead, success looks different for Gen Z, and priorities have shifted due to the country’s present political and economic state.

“While children are a blessing, they can be very expensive, especially with today’s cost of living,” Ores said. “Gen Z is more career-focused. Many of my peers are pursuing graduate degrees or job hopping, whereas older generations at the age of 25 were already settled down with multiple children.”