I’ve ALWAYS been firmly in the “no kids” camp

Guest post by VirtualAlicia
NO mug by “mhuglife”

When I was 12, my mom took me to meet her gynecologist who became my gynecologist. When I was 16, this gynecologist and I made a deal that if I still didn’t want kids when I turned 25 he would tie my tubes. My long-term first boyfriend and I got pregnant at 17 and we decided to have an abortion. He was going away to school in another state. I could not raise a child alone. It was for the best. Neither of us regret this decision. He’s now happily married with two kids. I’m also happily married. Yay!

At 24, I went on exchange to another state, fell in love with the place, and decided not to move back home. I got a new gynecologist. Shortly after my 25th birthday, I had an appointment with him, and I explained the deal my former gynecologist and I had. I asked him if he would honor that agreement. He said, “let me ask you a question first. Is there ever a situation in which you will want to have children?”

I said, “If there was a cataclysmic event, and we needed to repopulate the species, yes, I would want to have children.” He told me he wouldn’t tie my tubes because it is harder to reverse than a vasectomy. Plus, it would be harder to find doctors to do it. I was crushed.

At 27, I was thankful. I had a vision of being a mom. Since I hadn’t yet found my person, I was seriously considering artificial insemination. I couldn’t afford any treatments though, so I spent about a year and change thinking about the joys of kids. Then, I went back to my home in the “no camp.”

When I met my person, he wanted tons of kids. I mean TONS. I shared how I want kids of my own, but I don’t want them to be raised with other people’s kids. This is impossible in a society (duh), but the primary reason why I went back to the “no camp” is that in my experience, most people are mean and hurtful when they don’t understand something or someone. I’m no saint, but to have to watch a child get belittled when they didn’t choose to be here (if you believe that. Some people don’t and that’s okay) just seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

Anyway, time went by, and we both wanted to start a family. We want four to five children, we have their names picked out, and we start trying. Then, the Mister’s dad got sick, we moved to take care of him, I took a pill, and we stopped trying. When I went home to the “no camp,” I took him with me. He loves it there.

Over these past three years, I’ve thought about how great it would be to have kids with this beautiful, amazing person. I even put out feelers to see if his thoughts had changed. This is mostly because I’m eight years older and if we were going to try to conceive, it should be sooner rather than later. My feelings got hurt a couple of times, but that’s okay because we had honest conversations. After meeting a lot of older people with no kids and interviewing them about the quality of their lives — do they feel fulfilled, successful, like something’s missing, and so on — I realized that it is okay that our home is in the “no” camp.

The choice we’ve made has caused issues with my family because they would love our children. Our family have unrealistically set goals that revolve around our decisions though. After a talk with my mom, she has set her own goals for her life — it’s a start. My person and I are going to have a happy, successful, full life of love and adventure. We hope to be healthy. We are working towards many things we want to look back on at our 40th or 50th anniversary. None of those things are kids, and we are okay with that.

Comments on I’ve ALWAYS been firmly in the “no kids” camp

  1. This resonated with me soooo sooo well. I have always, ALWAYS been in the “no camp” and even when me and the (now) hubs started dating we were both in the NO zone. However, recently (like, within the last year), with everyone else in our lives shootin the little creatures out, it is much more difficult to be in the no camp, and we have both found ourselves yearning to have a child. We have not started trying to conceive yet, because I’m afraid I will end up back in the no zone at the last and latest minute. We are still wonky in this decision and will hold off completely until we know absolutely that there is no going back, but day by day I find myself going to the “yes camp.” I guess we will wait and see! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Thank you for sharing what you’re going through with your person.

      It’s a hard decision because you can’t ever undo it. Once you have a child, it’s there in your life forever, and even if the worst happens, your life is forever changed from that little person. From seeing what my friends with kids post on facebook, there are days when they oscillate to the No camp and question why they had kids in the first place.

      For me, there are many reasons to not have kids. They are deeply philosophical and things I’m sure not a lot of people think about. An example is that people we know who had traumatic childhoods have come out as better humans than those who’ve had a regular childhood. Another is that there is no formula for their outcome. You can’t do a, b, and c and be guaranteed your child will be a good person.

      Those reasons are hard for me to reconcile. I love and admire people who have kids and are still working toward their personal goals. I just don’t know if that could be me.

      Again, thank you for reading and sharing πŸ™‚

  2. Yup, this piece has brought up a lot of issues I’ve had in the past year. My partner and I are unsure of whether or not to have children- and by this I mean he is on board with whatever decision I make because ultimately it’s my body.
    I have strong care-giving urges, but they’ve always been focused on pets, family, or friends. I don’t particularly LIKE being around babies, and I don’t understand people who coo over random babies they don’t know. But recently there seems to be a baby-sized hole in my life. I like the idea (in theory) at least of leading your child through the world and giving them the experiences they need to become complete humans. But I know that parenthood in reality might not live up to those idealized fantasies!
    So I guess my indecisiveness is rooted in my own insecurities of whether or not I would be a good parent and how it would change my marriage. Is this actually a good idea or just hormones telling me I need to pass on my DNA? How do you know if this feeling will pass or if you will regret not trying to have children?

    I believe in and support people who are child-free and I know not everyone who claims to be child-free now will eventually want babies. Possibly changing my mind is really freaking me out, so I am relieved to hear that other people jump back and forth between camps too! Any advice on the decision making process is appreciated!

    • Thank you for sharing!

      You wrote, “I like the idea (in theory) at least of leading your child through the world and giving them the experiences they need to become complete humans. But I know that parenthood in reality might not live up to those idealized fantasies!” I like that idea and fear that outcome too. I wonder if my life will feel unfulfilled without that experience, but we are both okay with adoption, and we would like to do that one day.

      I talked with a lot of people who are older (in their late 50s-70s) and don’t have kids. The people who are unhappy with their decision are those who sacrificed their own desires to have children to be with their partners. They are the women who wanted kids but didn’t have because their husbands didn’t want them. Every person who is happy with their decision is happy because they didn’t have to give up anything for their family.

      You never know if the feeling will pass or if you have to seize that moment. Because we are both okay with adoption and would love to do that someday, our time to expand our family is practically infinite. That helps too because if biology has told me I cannot have kids, I have three godchildren who are awesome, and we can adopt. You have to evaluate your life in your terms. What are your person and you okay with? What do you both want? Can you imagine being fulfilled in your twilight years without children and grandchildren? Also, don’t be afraid to talk with older people to see how they feel about their decisions to either have or not have children. Ask them how their life is and if they are happy. I hope this helps.

      • It makes sense to me that a person who wanted kids but did not have them due to their partner’s wish would be unhappy. Have you talked to anyone about the reverse? I’ve known multiple men (ranging in ages from 24-70 years) who didn’t really want children or didn’t care too much one way or the other. But they had them or say they will have them because that is what their partner wants and he will do anything to make her happy. And they all seem happy in their relationships. My husband is somewhere between this scenario and in the “yes camp”. And the one woman I met who had kids for her husband’s sake is now going through a divorce and doing 95% of the childcare… She regrets having HIS kids maybe, but not having kids in general.

        Overall we decided that having children would likely add to our lives, rather than us sacrificing our lives to have children. But I am not convinced that having children will make our lives “complete” like it does for other people. I could see us being happy throughout our lives with 7 dogs at a time. πŸ™‚

        • Your partner’s and your decision as well as your conclusion about what kids will mean in your life are amazing!
          I haven’t talked to anyone that I know of about how having kids they didn’t want affected their lives. I know a woman now who is around my age that is going through this now because she feels it is her duty to have kids. She seems to like the idea of kids even though she says she doesn’t want them. We’ll see how having them affects her life though. I think she’ll love it.

    • When my husband and I met 7 years ago, we were both firmly in the no camp. Like, firmly, completely, irrevocably NO. And then sometime last year, things started to change, and we were both thinking it might not be so bad. Now, we’re 10 weeks along with a surprise, and alternating between terrified and excited.

      For us, the decision making process involved a ton of talking and thinking and reading. There were days where I wanted a baby more than anything, and days where the very idea was more terrifying than a clown standing in a dark room.

      But my husband and I just kept talking, from little things like commenting on a cute Falcons onesie in Target, to long conversations after two bottles of wine. Even though we wound up on the yes side before we were really ready, we never would have gotten to the “this might not be bad” point without talking to each other.

  3. Thanks for writing this! I have had my feet planted firmly in the no camp for many years. When my spouse and I discussed children prior to marriage, I was relieved that he did not feel strongly about having children. We’ve been married for 5 years now and children have only come up once. He let me know that if I ever wanted to have them that he would be ok with it, but he still didn’t feel strongly about it. I can’t quite pin-point it, but I just…don’t feel like having kids. I think we can live a wonderful, fulfilling life without them (and have been). I like children, but at the end of the day I want to give them back to someone and say, “here’s your kid, see ya later!”

    There is some pressure from our families, but we’ve talked with them both and they’re finally realizing that they can’t coax us into changing our minds. It’s the worst when someone says, “oh, you’re young, you’ll change your mind!” It drives me bananas to hear someone tell me they know what I will or will not do. I wish the no camp decision was more accepted and not so frowned upon by some.

    • People should say “You may or may NOT change your mind!”

      After several years of telling my parents that the only grandchildren they would get from me would have 4 paws, I am possibly changing my mind. Obviously not everyone changes their mind, but I feel like I am perpetuating the cliche. :-/

      • You shouldn’t feel that way! It’s natural to go back and forth and there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind. I do wish people would be more sensitive about how they say things in regards to children. If I don’t want them, I don’t want them. Period. I shouldn’t be made to feel like a freak or an awful person for feeling this way. I usually just brush it off now, but jeez it gets old!

        On another note, I also tell our parents they better love their granddoggie and grandkitty because they’re the only grand-anythings they’ll be getting from me. lol.

  4. This article confused me – the title says “why we never plan to have kids,” but I didn’t read any explanation. I mean, there was this:

    “the primary reason why I went back to the “no camp” is that in my experience, most people are mean and hurtful when they don’t understand something or someone. I’m no saint, but to have to watch a child get belittled when they didn’t choose to be here (if you believe that. Some people don’t and that’s okay) just seems like cruel and unusual punishment.”

    – but I honestly have no idea what the author is saying in this paragraph. And other than that, she never says anything about “why.” It just read, to me, as a lot of back and forth without much explanation. I would have liked to read more about the decision-making. As it is now, this article just seems like “First I wanted this. Then I didn’t. Then I wanted this other thing. Then I didn’t. Then I did, but now, I don’t.” It leaves me with a lot of questions and not a lot of understanding.

    • Hey, I changed the title to clarify! Thanks for the feedback. Also, the post author has been notified that the piece is up, so hopefully she’ll jump in for any further details/questions. I have my own interpretation of that paragraph, but it may not be her’s.

    • Thanks for your questions, and thanks to Stephanie for changing the title. I really love the new title. It fits πŸ™‚

      My reasons are philosophical ideas that I can’t get over. I gave some examples in reply posts both above and below. Not having kids isn’t about making a decision for me. When we decided to stop trying, it was because we were moving to another place where we had no one to rely on. It was a terrible idea to both of us to try to start a family when we had to focus on taking care of a family member until he either got better or passed away. That was a decision.

      My person and I are both thankful that, for the most part, when we check in on this topic with each other, we are usually on the same page. I guess looking at it that way, we decide by doing an evaluation of our current state (financial, living situation, mental health, physical health, hours we spend at work and school) and see if a child fits. It doesn’t. Then, we evaluate if that matches what we feel about wanting to have a child. Usually it does. I hope this helps.

  5. Although I totally believe it is COMPLETELY OK to have this way of life, these goals, and to be a no-kid house, a little concern popped up when I was reading your article. It is purely concern that I mention and I hope it’s not construed in a way that would make your life decisions “wrong” “bad” whatever, because it’s your life, your choices.

    The reason I was concerned is that your Mister seemed to change his mind around his father being sick. I would worry that something might be going on there, and if kids is something he’s putting off out of fear/worry/hurt that would be terrible for him in the long run. I felt a little bit of this for complex reasons growing up.. Might just be worth breaching it in that frame (rather than “hey want to make some babies?” more “did stuff with your Dad change your mind, or just life/choices/etc”). Obviously you know him and the situation FAR better than I do, but it just made me stop, and I’m a big one for not letting fear hold you back.

    Otherwise, this all sounds awesome. Although me and hubby want kids, and will be having one shortly, sometimes I do wonder what we could do with *just* our lives. I don’t think it’ll be enough of a “what if” for me to regret anything, and I will love my children, but it keeps me grounded in making sure my kids don’t become my life and I still keep going as ever.

    • Thanks for your concern. I didn’t even realize it would have been interpreted that way. I’m happy to clarify. The Mister loved his father, and they had a relationship like friends. His father was sick for many years. I don’t really feel like it’s my place to share their relationship without his permission, but I can express what I’m comfortable with.

      What changed had nothing to do with their relationship but that we were losing one of many valuable support systems we had lost as a result of moving to take care of his dad. We realized how unequipped we were to actually have kids because we were trying to take care of a grown person. We went through some serious turmoil when we moved. We went through therapy and eventually made it through that terrible experience. The Mister would have hated to go through that and have a child or been expecting.

      That said, for my person, the primary reason to not have kids is financial. We live in an expensive place, and we can barely afford to take care of our needs and accomplish our goals. The Mister would love nothing more than to know that a piece of his father was still in this world in the DNA of our child. That is a strong motivator for my person to have a child that we made, but we can’t afford it, don’t have time, and are still trying to accomplish our goals. That’s what changed– his perspective about our situation– and it wasn’t rooted in emotional turmoil but in the realization that we are broke and have no one to help us.

      We also have three godkids, and they’re awesome!

      I hope this addresses your concerns πŸ™‚

    • Hello EKMcronin,
      I am the authors husband. Thank you for your comment and concern. A few years ago my father passed from this life. It was tragic and really changed how I perceived the world. I questioned everything I knew about life, the world, love, children, philosophy..etc. when I came around to re-evaluating the children issue with my wife, we were still for the “No” camp. It’s been a couple of years since then and I am happy to say that we are still firmly in the “No” party. Things always change and no one can stop it when it does. If ever we want children and if for some reason we can’t conceive, we’ve decided that we’ll adopt if and when that time comes.
      Congratulations on your upcoming child. Again I want to thank you for your comment. It’s nice to reflect on this subject.

  6. I am a ‘no-er’, and I’m 45. I actually totally love & adore kids. I enjoy being around them. It’s just that I decided, if I was with someone who reallyREALLYreally wanted them, they’d have to be prepared to shoulder a relatively equal load of all the work that gives with that – not just wiping bums & going to dentist appts, but the increased loads of laundry, meal prep etc. When my then-boyfriend (now husband of 13 yrs!) & I started having chats about kids, he was really refreshingly honest about it – he didn’t care if he had kids or not, & couldn’t see himself doing a lot of the work that went with it, as his job is a 12 hr+/day exhausting one. And for me, that was that, and it was just fine. Done deal. We have our nieces & nephews on weekends a lot, & it’s all good. No regrets. However…as pro-choice as I am, and even with the extra precautions we were taking, I told him after a few years together that if he really did not want kids, to get a vasectomy, because if we rolled the dice & came up pregnant? To me it would’ve been “meant to be” & we’d be having a child. He got one. (Rather than me tying my tubes, because that was major surgery, & a vasectomy is an hour at the dr’s office….not downplaying it, he didn’t really enjoy it per se, but it just made more sense).

    • I’m glad you could look at your situation honestly and have that conversation with your person. It’s great that he got a vasectomy.

      I sit in the same place as you now that I’ve found the person whose DNA I’d like to mix with my own πŸ™‚ If we came up pregnant, it would definitely be meant to be to me now, but would I want to live with that?

  7. From ages 16 – 37 I was FIRMLY in the “no” camp while my hub always lived in the “maybe” camp. Then one day when I was 37 I realized I couldn’t see my life ending without having the experience of raising a child. It took 2.5 years to actually conceive and at the 2 year point is when I found myself back in the “no” camp… if only because I thought there was no point in being in the “yes” camp if it wasn’t in the cards for us to have a kid. Naturally when we stopped trying/wanting is when it happened. I’m really glad I did it, although it has been an even bigger change to our lives than people said it would be. I’m often totally jealous of our kid-free friends because they still have freedom and money! Enjoy your choice, whatever it is, is what I say. Your gut feeling is the best judge you have, and while lots of folks have opinions about what you should or shouldn’t be doing you’re the only one who can make the ultimate decision.

  8. This is an interesting article to read.

    I have been firmly in the No camp since my earliest memory although I have always worked with kids and love it. My better half made it very clear to me that he didn’t want kids very early on, and I the same. We both have strong reasons.

    This being said, there is a very small piece of me that could possibly be good with a kiddo. And, I do think he would grow into an awesome Dad if it were to happen. But, there is a much stronger part of both of us that is super happy with just the two of us and our furries.

    We just got married last month and are still living a long-distance relationship for a year or two while our paperwork comes through, so definitely no kids in the near future.

    We’re just happy to see how things work out in the coming years.

    • Thank you for sharing. I hope you enjoy your next couple years of marriage as well as the life and family you choose to build together.

  9. I’ve been in the no camp since I was a child myself. I don’t believe I’ve had more than a few moments of “what if?” worth of doubt in 38 years. And I STILL can’t find a doctor anywhere who will tie my tubes or, better yet, give me a hysterectomy. Having the whole works removed would improve my quality of life on so many levels (endometriosis, ovarian cysts, currently using hormonal birth control to stop my periods altogether so I can function, AND my mom was recently diagnosed with that type of breast cancer that feeds on estrogen, which I probably also carry the gene for.) and it still isn’t possible, because according to every doctor I’ve spoken to, I might somehow “change my mind” because I have yet (in almost middle age) to experience the wonderfulness of shooting a child out my vagina. It’s a distressing double standard when I went to COLLEGE with dudes who had already had vasectomies.

    • Bells ringing loudly over here!

      I am in the UK and have managed to find a doctor who is willing to give me a hysterectomy to do away once and for all with my periods. I have endometriosis too but trying to control my horror show periods hormonally doesn’t work for me because of the hormone scrambling effects of my PCOS. Currently I am on injections which totally shut down my hormone system so I’m in a chemical menopause. I also take what I call fake HRT – its not synthetic copies of the missing hormones (ie regular HRT) but something which breaks down into something I can use like the hormones.

      I have come and gone backwards and forwards from each camp over the years and really I think there is more than just a yes and a no camp. Several posters already have talked about the difficulty of allowing yourself to admit you are in the yes camp when you don’t think it’s possible. When I was a child and a younger woman I couldn’t imagine life without kids. The periods have been a total nightmare from the start, so from the moment I showed the outwards signs of fertility I was terrified that mine was compromised. I was diagnosed with PCOS in my mid twenties and I took this as the terrible news I’d been waiting for. Of course actually it isn’t an infertility sentence but I took it as such, however this did allow me to face what life would be like without kids. After some time and therapy I found the new unexpected picture was ok, in fact it was great because it put my happiness and future back in my hands rather than being dependant on an event very much beyond my control. I felt very much in the no camp, not a position I could have ever imagined myself taking. When I got the endo diagnosis last year (after the periods got even worse, not something I had thought was possible) it made thinking about treatments much less of a wrench than it could have been (although it was still difficult) because I had already let go.

      That said there has been a kickback. My siblings are reproducing at a rate of knots right now and I have had a few wobbles. But the wobbles were not about anything real (I can’t imagine being a mum right now, there is no actual desire as such) they were more about the hugeness of never. I’ve had some counselling to help me think about this, because I know the doctors can’t. I have met a huge resistance to the idea of that as a woman I could be happy without children, from both male and female medical professionals. I think you can know it, absolutely, but I think that knowledge is no less sure if it’s accompanied by a few doubts and emotions which is categorically not the same changing your mind. I’m a big believer in the idea that you really can only make decisions for now, because you live now – it’s really hard if all your decisions are made on the basis that in the future you might wake up and wish you’d done the other thing. I”ll admit that’s easy to take when applied to which colour sunglasses should I buy but seems pretty hardcore when applied to having kids or not, but that is what I’ve done and for me, it’s been very freeing.

      Having met and got together as people not planning on kids the big surprise has been that my partner’s feelings have begun to change recently. She’s not sure and I wasn’t sure how I felt hearing it but we basically decided that we were both open to the thought of adoption if it feels right when we have got the house we are currently saving for the deposit for and I’ve finished my PhD. We’ve not climbed into the yes camp by any means but we are currently testing the water in the maybe-but-it’s-not-the–sum-total-of-our-happiness camp.

      • Wow. Thank you for sharing your story and the intimate details of your body and your struggle. You wrote, “I have come and gone backwards and forwards from each camp over the years and really I think there is more than just a yes and a no camp.” I think you’re right, but the gray area is a place not a lot of people are comfortable in. Even as we sit in the No Camp, we would love to adopt one day. It’s great to hear you are considering it too. I hope you have so much success and happiness in the life your person and you create together!!!

  10. When I was young I wanted 12 children but as I grew older I got to know myself more and more and have decided to join the “no camp” I love children ( I even work in child care!) but for me I can’t handle have the responsibility of having a child 24/7 – i need my own space and time to do things by myself. Being able to hand them back at the end of the day is more than enough for me plus i have a many nieces and nephews to dote on.

  11. I just wanted to leave my experience… I’m 39.
    In 2008 I had my tubes tied. I was happily child-free. My then boyfriend, now husband, was 10 years younger than me and only 24, I surely wasn’t having HIS children. I had a long, laundry list of horrible dating experiences, and years on psych meds in my back pocket. Then… well then, we MOVED.

    We relocated to a warmer climate, got married,
    I got off the meds, found a great therapist, and we decided that we wanted nothing more than to parent!

    My only advice is that no matter how you spin it you can NOT predict how you will feel or who you will be in the future. Ok, maybe YOU can, but I surely missed the mark.

    So in 2011 I had my tubes untied, one side opened, and with yoga, Mayan abdominal massage, standing on my head, and nothing short of a miracle; we conceived our now 10 month old baby girl. And let me tell you, she is MY ENTIRE FREAKING WORLD! And I still LOVE my husband who is also MY ENTIRE WORLD. And I love myself!!

    I love being a Mom. Granted, some of my more intense artsy hobbies are on the back burner until little one is a bit older, but ask me when I was 34 and I would have laughed at you silly. But now, charging forward with one ovary and one tube, we hope, and pray for a number 2!

    You just never know. Time changes stuff. And that is pretty much all I have to say about that. <3

    • Congratulations!!!!! Your story is amazing!!! I’m so happy you’re happy with your family and your decision!

      Yeah, you never know. We would love to adopt one day. We’ll see…

  12. I adore my mieces, nephews and godchillens. I love interacting with them, talking to them and being in their lives. I feel like my husband and I play important parts in their lives as role models, mentors and friends. Every one of them knows they have an extra adult in their lives who would do anything for them. I couldn’t contribute to their lives the way I do if I had kids of my own. Since neither myself or my husband have any real desire to have our own kids, we’ve agreed it is better to focus are energy and resources on the kids around us instead.

  13. I am in the I have no CLUE what I want anymore camp. On the one hand I’m craving children. To have a little me or him running around. On the other hand I’m terrified of giving up my lifestyle. I love the freedom we have to go where we please, do what we please when we please to do it. I enjoy cooking, cleaning, creating and playing. I have never enjoyed babysitting unless the children were older; however adoption is NOT an option for me. I was adopted myself and I do NOT want to attempt to bring another child up with the same emotional issues that I had/have. The question I face is this; do I love my current lifestyle MORE than I love the idea of having little ones?

  14. Thanks for this. I’m hanging out in the wobbly gray area on children. My main concern is that if I do have kids with my partner, they would pick up all of our worst qualities:

    his side’s materialism, elitist/entitled attitude, hatred of vegetables and curly hair, obsession with enforcing gender norms, bad teeth/vision, and body snarking;

    my side’s explosive tempers, and using food to medicate depression. … Yeesh. Plus my career is no where near where I’d like it to be. Likes miles away.

    • These are important things to consider before making the decision to have a child. Some, like body snarking and gender norms, are learned socially. Because we are a social world full of social creatures, some of these things get picked up on the way even if children aren’t born with them.

      I had an acquaintance whose child started socializing at 2. When this happened, he picked up the habit of hitting. Even though his partner and he didn’t teach hitting to their child, they had to deal with the problem of their child hitting others. It’s super-stressful to me to think about things like that.

  15. I’m in the NO NO NO camp, but man, it is a difficult camp to defend! Thankfully my partner doesn’t want kids, but my best friend started having kids and saying “Oh, you might change your mind,” and my mom keeps saying “I’m saving this-and-that baby dress, in case you have a little girl someday.” I told her up front that I don’t want kids and have zero maternal instinct, and she said, “Oh, I was the same way. It wasn’t until I had your brother that I wanted to be a mom.” Well, hell.

    When I get the “Why don’t you want kids?” question I tend to argue that my partner and I have terrible genes – cancer and heart problems on my side of the family, immune deficiencies on his side, plus he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 22 years old (and might be sterile) – but most everyone says “So?” Sometimes I’m tempted to ask myself the same thing… but I also feel certain that I’m too depressed to be pregnant/give birth/care for an infant, and the whole process would destroy me. I’m not brave enough to tell anybody that, though, and definitely too passive a person to say “None of your business!”

    • Saying “we have personal reasons” indicates that you’ve thought about it and discussed it with your partner. And labeling them as personal will hopefully stop future questions.

      And I do have to say that the language you quoted is better than what most people hear, though I am sure it still is annoying! πŸ™‚ They are using words like “might” and “in case” instead of “you WILL change your mind” or “just wait, you WILL feel differently.” Obviously you know them and I don’t, but it sounds like they are still recognizing that it’s your choice. And it will be YOUR choice to make over and over again with your partner as the years go by!

      I do have to admit that in a moment of frustration with my own mother, I told her that if she doesn’t bring it up to me or especially not to my husband, I will inform her of any changes on our position. I was surprised, but this worked for us, and she never brings it up unless I do!

  16. Thank you for sharing, both the story and comments. All the posts resonated with me, so much so that I forwarded the link to my husband and he’s read it too. Which felt incredible because amongst our bunch of 30-something year old friends we are the only ones still kid free by choice, and here is a bunch of people feeling the same feelings.

    It causes us a bit of confusion and conflict, mostly when we’re drinking and we start playing the ‘What If?’ game. More often than not we sit together in the no camp, but hormones and emotions bring on feelings of uncertainty and one of us spends some time in the yes camp. Oddly our trips to the yes camp have never coincided, and we always return to the no camp. Confusing, right?!

    So thank you for being honest, you have returned some confidence and sanity to our home. We will continue to swing from no to yes and back again. And that’s okay.

Join the Conversation