Ellie Gonsalves: Viral 118 reasons not to have children star | Stellar

The picture painted on Mother’s Day cards of an idyllic mother/daughter bond has never rung true for Ellie Gonsalves. After years of enduring a relationship that she says was based on lies and manipulation, the Gold Coast-based model and influencer chose to cut ties with her mother when her father passed away 10 years ago.

“Mother’s Day is not something I celebrate,” she tells Stellar. “It’s just a really unhelpful reminder of what I don’t have with my own mother. But when I made that decision, I knew it was going to be uncomfortable at times.”

And Gonsalves isn’t afraid of making uncomfortable choices. Last November, the 33-year-old – who has 1.2 million Instagram followers – published a list of the 118 reasons why she doesn’t ever want to have children.

In her post, which quickly went viral, she said that while she and her entrepreneur husband Ross Scutts often get asked if they plan to have kids, a simple response of “no” never seems to end the conversation.

Listen to the latest episode of Stellar’s podcast, Something To Talk About, below:

“Conversion therapy starts to happen,” she explains of people’s reactions. “It’s like people get offended that I’m saying I don’t want to live their life, and then go into this defence mode of trying to change my mind.”

What those people don’t seem to grasp is that Gonsalves’ defiant stance isn’t one that she came to flippantly. “In my teenage [years] and early 20s, I thought I’d have kids – because we’re fed this over-romanticised life of everyone wanting kids,” she explains. “You’re basically encouraged not to ask questions about it, so I didn’t.”

But the death of her beloved father to suicide and her tarnished relationship with her mother caused a massive shift in her perspective.

“My disconnect that I have with my own mother is one of the reasons I decided not to have children,” she says. “And my husband and I have worked really, really hard for peace. Now we just don’t care to disrupt that peace. Bringing another human being into our dynamic would massively change that, and I don’t want to play second banana to a baby.”

This was one of the reasons she put on her list, which she had kept on her phone before making it public. Some of the other entries on that list were clearly meant in jest – items such as “You have to take your kids to sport on the weekend” or “Body odour gets bad during pregnancy … you could smell like onions”. Others, like “Life hardships are tougher with a kid along for the ride”, were serious and considered.

Perhaps because the list focused on the challenges of having children, it caused controversy. “People have put me in the Cruella de Vil category and think I hate children,” she says with a laugh. “But I love being able to cuddle my niece and nephew. I love cute kids. But there’s no element where I think I would love this for myself. There’s nothing about having my own children that’s appealing to me.”

Far and away the biggest piece of negative feedback hurled at Gonsalves was that she was being selfish and hence would not make a good mother in the first place.

She counters with the notion that putting so much time and effort into deciding to remain child-free shows she would be a thoughtful mum.

“I’d make it my priority to be a f*cking amazing parent!” she insists.

“My mission in life would be to make sure that child grew up with empathy, kindness, and happiness. All of the amazing things that I lacked from my own mother, I would pour into that child.

“If someone’s mental health is impacted severely by having a child, they shouldn’t have a child – period,” she adds.

“If they’ve come to that decision for their own mental health and their life and happiness, surely somebody shouldn’t disagree with that.”

On the flip side, Gonsalves also received grateful messages from women who felt the same as she did but were too afraid to speak up for fear of ridicule.

“It’s important for me to be a voice for those people, and they feel seen,” she says.

“It also might give others a little bit more empathy and understanding towards people who say that they don’t want to have children. Maybe it means people might choose their language a little bit more selectively next time before they start jumping into trying to change someone’s mind or saying we’re selfish.

“Hopefully it just gives those people another side to another story to that life decision, which is so huge. Why am I not given the same respect as women who say they want to be pregnant and have a child?”

So while Mother’s Day might be a reminder of what Gonsalves doesn’t have in her life, she says it also highlights to her what she doesn’t need.

“Some people’s purpose is to have a child and nothing else matters to them. And I love that for them,” she says.

“And then other people, their purpose in life is to make themselves happy and have an amazing thriving career.

“Everyone’s purpose in life is different. I know what my purpose is – it’s to genuinely live for myself, and to live for the people that deserve a place in my life.”

To see Stellar’s special Mother’s Day cover story featuring Brooke Blurton, Sarah Davidson, Fifi Box and Ellie Gonsalves pick up a copy inside The Sunday Telegraph (NSW), Sunday Herald Sun (VIC), The Sunday Mail (QLD) and Sunday Mail (SA). For more from Stellar, listen to the latest episode of podcast Something To Talk About below:

Originally published as ‘It’s like people get offended that I’m saying I don’t want to live their life’: Real reason Ellie Gonsalves doesn’t want children

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