'There's never been any pressure on me to become a mother'
Kelly Mulgrew (38) is single and lives in Downpatrick. She is a company director of her own safety consultancy business, Mulgrew Health and Safety, and a part-time model at CMPR. She says:
I am not married and I've never been engaged - although I've had a couple of proposals over the years, but I never said yes because it wasn't right for me at the time. In fact, I've never really lived with anyone, although I have just started dating someone. I was brought up to not live with someone before marriage.
When I was in my mid-20s, I just assumed I would meet someone, get married and have three or four children but it just never happened for me. While I never made a conscious choice not to have children, I have never felt any real desire to have them either. There has never been any pressure on me to be a mum and I've never felt as though my biological clock was ticking and time was running out for me to have a family.
I have a niece and a nephew and I love spending time with them, and I hope I am a good auntie to them because they may have to look after me when I am older. While I really enjoy seeing them, they go back to their home afterwards. Surprisingly, I am quite a maternal person and am known as Auntie Kelly to all my friends' children, so some of them are quite shocked when they find out that I am content never to have children.
Some have said to me, 'but it's what you were born to do', but I don't feel that way. They have warned me that I may regret not having children later in life but my attitude is that being a parent is not necessarily for everyone.
When I started my own business six years ago, I threw myself into it and now I travel all over Ireland all of the time for work, and occasionally have to go overseas. When my career started to take off, clients I was working with encouraged me to go out on my own, and when I saw an opportunity in the market I did.
I work hard and have long days - sometimes from 6am to 8pm and I sometimes wonder how I would have time for a child if I was a mum.
I have a good life and while work is important I love getting home, closing my door and sitting down to read. My friends include people who are married with kids and those who aren't. While I absolutely adore children - if it happens it happens, but if it doesn't I am not worried about it.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both being child-free and being a parent which I am very aware of.
I know my life would be different if I was a mum; it would be a lot more restricted and I wouldn't be able to just pick up and go off which is what I often do."