Can we send a "We aren't having kids!" announcement to family and friends? #I've got a parenting question!#childfree#relationships Updated Aug 29 2017 (Posted Aug 16 2013) Guest post by Holly Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. Cats Not Kids T-Shirt by DumbShirts My hubs and I got married in our mid-20s, and are now approaching mid-30s after ten years of marriage. We've been really happy through all our ups and downs, and love our life as is. The thing is, some of friends, and definitely our parents, have begun really pushing the baby thing. The parents want grandkids. Hubs and I have siblings with a few small kids as well as friends with kids of varying ages, but our parents want them from us. Early in the marriage when this conversation would come up, we could just say "Oh well, we don't think we want any, plus we're too young to be thinking about that right now," and that would be that. But now, we're pretty settled and that answer just won't do. Recently, we got a "we eloped!" announcement from one of his cousins and he said "Wouldn't it be great if we could send an announcement that we aren't having kids!" I laughed, all "Yeah right," but he really liked the idea. He said we could do it in a light-hearted way, but with a serious yet gentle note included that says we know everybody really wanted us to have kids, and we love everybody and thank them for their thoughts and opinions on the matter but we've decided that having kids just isn't for us; we are looking forward to the many years we have to share together, and in sharing those years with everybody else, too. I feel like taking this kind of step is the only way to make it "official" to our loved ones that we are not having kids. I feel like it could also be kind of cute and fun to do, but I really don't know… would it be seriously tacky/rude/untasteful to send this kind of announcement to our family and friends? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Holly PREVIOUS The right answer to "how is the baby?" and why we have kids in the first place NEXT Our house is drowning in toys so we're cutting back Show/Hide comments [ 80 ] I'm Child Free, but I couldn't see myself doing this. Announcements like baby announcements and wedding announcements are announcing something that happened, not something that didn't happen. You've gone ten years without kids; why announce it now? Why not in five years? Why not five years ago? Basically, this choice of yours wasn't made at one point; you've made it over a long period of time and will continue to do so. So I don't think an announcement is appropriate. That said, it's your choice. If you think it's a good idea and you want to do it, do it! It's way offbeat though, so you need to prepare for confusion, hurt feelings, and anger as a backlash. You may not get that backlash, but you have to prepare for it anyway. As we've discussed here many a time, your children are, for some reason, something that people feel they have the right to discuss/want/dictate. If you really want to make an official announcement, I'd say throw a "We're not pregnant!" party. You could say no gifts allowed or to please bring baby things that you can donate. You can celebrate the fact that you don't have kids and you'll be inviting your families to participate, rather than stew over an announcement and wonder what it "really means." You want to make your family feel loved and respected and that's always easier to do face to face. Reply YES to the party. I love the concept of the announcement, but it didn't seem quite right. People might interpret it as being passive aggressive. But a party is a celebration of your choices and offering your family and friends a good time is hardly passive aggressive! Reply A party like this would also be a great opportunity for everyone to come together for some more discussion/explanation of your choice, which would likely be done over the phone or over a bunch of individual meetings over time. Reply I like the idea of having a party. Especially the idea of no presents but if you want to bring an item to donate to X charity (women's shelter, animal shelter….whatever!) It gets your point across in a lighthearted way and tempers any negative feelings people might have with the act of donation. Reply I could see a "we're having a vasectomy/tubes tied!" announcement, because as Cassie said, those are events. Those events also underscore the permanence of your decision not to have kids, so they put a stop to the "you'll seeeee" comments. Not that you need to undergo surgery to legitimize your choice, but accidents do happen and minds do change. Reply Oooh, I love this idea! Because a decision like that should totally be celebrated — it's a big one, it's life-changing, and no one likes to voluntarily get their innards messed with. Give those peeps a party and some cake! Reply My friend threw her husband a party when he got his vasectomy. We all brought penis-themed foods and sat around and watched Lord of the Rings while he had a bag of frozen peas on his lap. It was called "The Lord of the Rings Testacular". She is pretty awesome. Reply Some childfree friends of mine threw a party, with invites/announcements, when the husband got a vasectomy. I couldn't make it, but heard that the party was awesome. I highly recommend this route. Reply A Vasectomy Festivity! Reply My brother told me about 6 Years ago that him and his partner were not going to have children. My daughter was two at the time and I kind of thought they were young and might change their minds. Now they are 30 and they still have no interest in becoming parents. There is part of me that is really sad about it, but I am completely aware that it is for selfish reasons. I would love to be an aunty and be able to enjoy his kids in a role that is different from being a parent. I would also love for my daughter to have cousins she could grow up with and hang out with and share that understanding that cousins seem to have. Some of this comes from never having cousins near my age growing up. I suppose I have a bit of a romantic view of what it would be like. At the same time though, because my brother and his partner have no children of their own, they have a huge amount of love for my daughter. When they see her they really enjoy being playful. I also see that having children just because other people think they should would be stupid. I think an announcement of sorts would be taken well by some and not so well by others, but it would certainly put the issue to bed. Reply I totally get where your coming from but i did grow up with cousins around my age and it was cool until we were all 18+ and realized we didnt like eachother. Its actually caused alot of drama. Of course thats not everyones experience. Just mine. As for the announcement i say go for it! Reply Funny how that works, isn't it? I have a sister and 9 cousins on my mom's side, and we grew up doing a LOT of family get-togethers, birthday parties, camping trips, etc. The 11 of us were really tight and had tons of fun together as kids, but now that the oldest is 30 and the youngest is 14, I realize that some of us reeeeally have nothing in common anymore. Guess it's just part of growing up! Reply I hung out with my cousins as kids and then somewhere around puberty we realized we had pretty much nothing in common and now barely speak. There was no drama, fortunately, just awkwardness and zero connection 😛 They were fun as kids, but not that different from siblings or friends (depending on the ages.) Reply I thought I was the only one! I have a ton of cousins around my age and we all played together growing up but then we hit high school and realized we have nothing in common. family functions are so dang awkward and it gets me down a lot! Reply "I also see that having children just because other people think they should would be stupid." If more people understood this, we wouldn't need to think about making announcements. Reply Hmmm. I was trying to think how I would feel if I received this in the mail. I think I would be a bit confused. As a parent, I think I would feel hurt. Like my kids couldn't talk to me about something so important. I would say don't do it. You can't control people's reactions and the fallout probably isn't worth it. If asked if you are having kids, just continue to say no and change the subject. Reply I felt like I needed to respond because you had 22 agrees, and I strongly disagree. I don't understand why you would feel hurt, anymore than I, as a non-parent, would feel hurt at your birth announcement. "Continue to say no and change the subject?" I don't want kids. These lovely folks don't want kids. Maybe they don't want to explain it anymore. Maybe they want to say it in a way that's clear and public, and not in a way that's constant and involves "changing the subject." Some people are child-free, and that choice deserves announcements and parties and celebration as well. Reply I could be wrong, but I think Krissy was saying that she was looking at it as if HER kids had sent that to her. I don't think she was saying that every parent who received the announcement would be hurt. Since the OP was talking about their parents primarily, Krissy was trying to empathize with how their parents would feel receiving said announcement. Reply Yes. I only meant that this is how I would feel if I received this in the mail from either my of my own kids. Reply I think what FeministJen said still holds some weight though: It sounds like the OP has been doing the "say no and change the subject" route which clearly just has not been working for them so it seems like the OPs parents have been talked to on this subject and just aren't getting it…at least that's how I'm reading it. "Like my kids couldn't talk to me about something so important." Well actually, most of the time, we have talked about it with our parents and they just keep on asking. So if they feel hurt that you wouldn't want to talk about something so important with them…well they haven't been listening. And that is hurtful too. But I do think a annoncement could be interpreted as passive agressive, even a vasectomy announcement. But a party might be fun and it is a good way to tell family that you are not excluding them with that decision. I wish I could send an announcement though if it would keep people from asking and assuming all. the. time. Reply Hell yeah, and have a non baby shower and register for awesome gifts like whiskey and adult bibs! Turn the decission which can be hard to swallow for some people into an epic celebration of a conscious decision you made! Why only the ones who decide to have baby should get shower and gifts (well, i have two lil ones and no shower yet, so i guess you could go without, but imagine people mingling and celebrating you and only you!) Reply I think that having a party and asking for gifts for a charity or even for something specific you need help with–cash for your grad school fund or something–would go over better than an all-about-me shower. One of the negative stereotypes of people who choose not to have kids is that they're selfish, and I think this would really play into that assumption. Reply Hmm, I think it is a neat idea, and I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it. If your intention, though, is to forestall the conversations about kids, I wonder if it might have the opposite effect, and cause more people to bring up the topic with you. If that is what you want to avoid, I wonder if you might have more luck just having a standard polite but firm line that you could use whenever talk turns that way. If the conversations are already happening, though, maybe putting it down on paper will convince people you're serious. If you do it, I'd love to see what you come up with! Reply I think this is best handled when the question comes up in conversation, and not through an announcement. Like Tobi says above, I think it will just prompt more questions and discussions and possibly push back on your decision. I can't quite tell from your question what the current problem is – are folks in your inner circle continuing to ask and not taking no as an answer? If this is the case, and they are relatively good humored, I could see a cute "announcement" working as a way to reemphasize your point. But I don't think it's something that would work if it was sent widely, or as a way to head off future questions – enough folks may find that off-putting and it just wouldn't be worth it, IMO. Reply I was indifferent about having kids. My mom was always pushing and I never understood her urgency. Well 41 rolled around and I got pregnant. This post isn't going to go where you think it is so hear me out… I respect the choice to not have kids. I still maintain, much to the horror or anyone around me, that I could have been happy either way. However, now that I have a son of my own I have a better idea of why parents are so anxious for their children to marry and have children of their own. There is this thing called mortality. One day I will be dead and I will leave that kid, whom I adore more than anything in the world, all by himself on this Earth. One's instinct as a parent is to make sure that kid is happy, well, and loved and that he has a family when we are gone. I get this now. Like I've never gotten it before. I think most people see this in very narrow parameters- husband, children, grandchildren. I'm telling you this to try and give you insight into the machinations of all that urgency. Please don't make light of it. Tell your parents under no uncertain terms that you will not be having children, but reassure them that you will not be alone. Tell them about your dearest friends. Tell them about the children involved in your life that are not your own but whom you love, or your dedication to work or art that will always fill you with a sense of being complete. I think you will accomplish more by having a bare bones conversation about it than by being flip. When they see the earnestness and thought that you have put into your decision it will finally be the end of the discussion. Reply This is such a great insight. I am also currently indifferent, and not sure what all the panic is about. This makes sense why people would be concerned and how to help them understand you'll be ok. Reply I totally agree with this comment. Well said. Reply Holy crap. I think this just made something click in my brain as to why parents are so fucking agro about their kids having kids. Wow. Thanks for this insight. I also (as an Offbeat Editor) think that this could totally be expanded to be its own post. Reply I agree, I never thought of it this way before and I would love to see someone expand upon this idea. Reply I feel like you know your family and loved ones, and how they might respond, so I would use that as your baseline for decision making. That said, I think the idea is awesome. The point is to celebrate all families, not just the ones that "fit the mold." Recently some folks I know threw a party for a friend because she's not getting married or having babies any time soon (though she always comes to our showers/ceremonies/other functions and is amazingly supportive). We had a party where people have her money and gift cards to help her save to buy a house (something she really wants) and to show her we really appreciate all of her big moments in life. Even people who thought it was weird in the beginning were really glad they came and supported their friend in the end. I guess the point of the story is that it might help people get where you are coming from and find new ways to appreciate and celebrate you! Reply "The point is to celebrate all families" Yay! Parents + children aren't the only type of family. Someone recently asked me when I was "starting a family." Whether or not I am planning on having kids, I just find this offensive. I already have a family! My husband and I and our pets are a family. We are both fortunate to be part of extended families, including biological relatives and non-bio relatives. Also it sounds like you have an awesome group of friends to look at each individual and what they need, not give them parties when they reach the typical milestones. 🙂 Reply had to: You don't need kids to "start a family" 🙂 Reply Haha, awesome! Any time a social situation makes me feel weird or I can't wrap my head around why people do certain things, there's probably a post here that helps me figure out why and put it into words, haha. Feel free to stick the link right in my comment next time! Reply I just got excited and was going to link you to my post. AMEN! Yay! I always prefer to say "expanding our family" instead of "starting." We started our family when we decided to stick together for life, thanks! Reply It's great to celebrate family! In the vein of "pets as family" I recently saw that Martha Stewart is offering an announcement template for a new pet announcement. If your pets get to have their own announcements, I think it should be fine to have a "We are a family of two" announcement. Reply You know, if I received something like that from someone I knew well enough to consider it my business, I'd be extremely hurt that they hadn't chosen to speak to me in person about something so personal. And if I didn't know them that well, I'd consider it, well, too much information. Either way, it would be awkward. But then I move in circles where we might discuss having children — or not — in conversation, and we might ask about reasons why (if we knew someone well enough to consider it our business) but it would be considered the height of bad manners to do anything other than listen and accept the response. If you want to have a party to celebrate yourselves, throw a tenth anniversary bash. Reply I love the 10th anniversary bash…and it could totally be your 'childfree announcement time.' You could combine the idea of the non-baby baby shower, like, on the announcement says something like: Celebrating 10 years! Since we've decided to stay childfree, please bring a baby item to donate to the local women's shelter. Maybe that's combining too many things, but it could show how dedicated you are to being childfree and have a reason for a bash? Though I also really love the Vasectomy/Tubes Tied announcement! Reply Agreed on the anniversary bash/child-free fun, but I really don't get the suggestions (above, too) to donate baby items. At what other celebration are folks expected to bring something to donate towards the opposite purpose of the party? Reply Hmmm… interesting topic today! I like the idea someone mentioned above to just keep saying "no" when people bring it up and change the subject. Or, even more firmly, say something like "I think you already asked us this the last time we saw you and the answer is still no". The thing I would be worried about with an announcement is that if you accidentally slipped one "past the goalie" and your feelings changed once you got the confirmation you were pregnant. That would be really confusing and also not great if your future child ever found this announcement. I'm not saying that if you became accidentally pregnant you would have this epiphany and the heavens would shine down rays of love and light and unicorns would cry tears of diamonds and you would instantly know your purpose in life (no, no, not at all) b/c I don't think I had any feelings towards my baby until I actually had him in my arms. I'm just saying that if you did decide to keep your "happy little accident", you might regret that announcement. p.s. side note – I find it *extremely* rude for ppl to ask anyone about their conception plans. I wouldn't even ask my closest, best friend if she was "thinking of trying". NO. What if they are trying and can't get pregnant? What if they just miscarried? I always wait for someone else to bring it up before I start talking about plans to have/not have kids. Reply Gosh I hardly ever come over to Offbeat families because there so much kids stuff and that just isn't relevant to us but today I come here and there is the most relevant article OF ALL TIME! My partner Clay and I aren't even married yet, aren't even out of college yet, and we're already getting kids questions…kind of ridiculous right? Well, I love this article because of all the responses! I am so going to be bookmarking this page for reference down the road because on the one hand I could totally see Clay and I doing the "no babies" announcement or party thing, but on the other could see the few close people (who have been talking about it with us already -.- ) being self-righteously offended at the idea we won't be having grandbabies…. Long comment short, thank you for this post and I'm really looking forward to reading more comments on this subject! Reply Alternate idea? Print up a stack of "No, we're not having kids" business cards. Whenever someone asks or jokes about you having kids, whip one out of your wallet. Maybe include a cheeky FAQ on the back to answer all of the inevitable questions. Reply OMG, I may have to do this! Maybe it'd cut down on reminding the same ppl over & over again — like, weirdly enough, the dental assistant who cleans my teeth. She asks me at every 6-mo. appt. if I have kids / am going to have kids. ugh! So annoying, so not her business. Reply Have you TOLD her that it's not her business? Or awkwardly replied "Er… no." I think too many people think it's acceptable to ask about other's conception plans and the more that people are okay about shutting them down, the more people will think twice about asking! Reply Holy shit. I'm stealing this. Like… YES. Reply As I read this I went back and forth A LOT. I feel like you should be able to announce big decisions like this and be proud of them, but I do get that for something personal those closest may wish you had just told them face to face. On the other hand, dealing with inappropriate baby-related questions (on our side it was "You're too young!" and more painfully "At least you can be careful now" after a miscarriage (infact almost both of our two miscarriages) I feel like there could be a decent reason for this to the point statement. What you might like to try is the almost painfully awkward but funny statements, for example: "So when are you two going to have babies then?" "Well, actually we're perfectly happy with the non-baby making sex we're having right now. Would you like some more potatoes?" or "When are you going to give me grandchildren, I've been waiting forever!" "Well, we decided that instead of a nursery we'd make a sex room, because we'd rather spend more time with each others genitalia than nappies and bibs." If anything they will be shocked enough to stop the conversation, and if they continue then you just get to be honest and say, actually kids aren't on our agenda and we have plenty of other plans to keep us busy. You'll be OK, and by all means have a party, but possibly when people closest to you are a little more in the loop. Reply I always wanted to give shocking responses……Pre-marriage, my mom was super super super no-premarital-sex, because (as she often reminded me), "Birth control is never 100%!" I always wanted to respond, "That's OK, you can't get pregnant from anal sex!" or something that would be sure to shut her up. I feel like this could work for the no-babies thing. "When are YOU going to have kids?" "Oh, we haven't decided yet…But we keep trying ALL THE TIME. Like, seriously, LOTS of trying." Or, "Well, we've tried, but no matter how much she swallows it apparently hasn't been enough to make a baby yet." Reply Something about the idea of receiving this announcement really rubs me the wrong way. I fully support people's decisions to remain child free. I don't think it's the same as a baby or wedding announcement. Like someone else said, those are things that happened. This is a decision. How would you feel about getting "We're breastfeeding!", "We're early potty-training!", "We're sending our kid to public school!", "We're having Little Joey take Karate!!" . I don't think decisions merit announcement cards. You made this decision, it is yours and people need to respect it. However, it will kind of hurt some people and the extra announcement might feel like a slap in the face. It will get your point across, but at what cost? I think there are a lot of other things that you could do that would be less face slappy… * a huge party for your 10th anniversary of your family * Pet announcement saying you "completed your family", * make a sign that is permanent that says [YOURLASTNAME] Family Population 2 for your house * have parties/send announcements for other important milestones for your family(buying a house, getting a promotion etc) Just keep emphasizing your "family" and send out Christmas cards (if that's a thing you do) that are from [YOUR LAST NAME or NAMES] family. When people ask, you can just say "We love our family just the way it is. We're not changing it." Reply I'm honestly asking: can you explain why it would rub you the wrong way or be a "slap in the face" to people? Someone's decision to have kids doesn't hurt me (I love my friends' and relatives' babies! They're the best!). Why does mine not to have kids hurt you? Reply It might hurt someone who was trying and unable to conceive. Or someone who is feeling frustrated raising their children. Or someone who just lost a child. Or had an abortion. This is obviously an emotionally loaded topic; I think the hurtful thing is not the decision itself, just the fairly impersonal and possibly flippant announcement. Reply If I could "THIS" this 5 times, I would. "I don't think decisions merit announcement cards" Like getting married isn't a decision? Sure, it's not a time-logged "event" but it is a fact that defines some families. You might think the announcement is weird or unnecessary, but how does that "hurt you"? Honnestly, if people are sending such an announcement, it's probably because they've been pretty vocal about not having kids before; it's not like it would be a surprise for anyone who'd been listening. I wouldn't do it, because it is a recipe for disaster knowing my in-laws (because indeed, even though we've been telling them for years, they haven't been listening), but I wish I could. Reply My husband and I face a ton of pressure to have kids from both of our families. Even after he blurted out at a big family dinner that he'd had a vasectomy, they like to remind us that it is reversable "when" we change our minds. No mater how many times we tell them, that's not in our future, they bring it up every family get together for the last ten years. I'm having a hysterectomy in November for some on-going health problems. I know it's rotten of me, but part of me is really gleefull to make the announcement, since that will put an end to the pregnancy chatter. I figure I'll get a few adoption comments, but that will die out pretty quickly. Reply We are child free too but if I received one of these I would think it was a bit tantrum- y. Like really how bad is it? I know the complaint is we are constantly being pestered about it, but really it hasn't been like that. Most people just gave up and left us alone. And the key phrase is "we both like kids but have no desire to parent" for some reason few people associate having a baby with parenting a child. Reply I think the idea here, though, is that people aren't being polite and leaving it alone. It's great when your friends and family respect your choices, but when they don't, the impulse to do SOMETHING is pretty strong. Reply "A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh one stirs up wrath." That being said, I think an announcement on paper is a little harsh. I know how frustrating it must be to not be taken seriously by others sometimes when you are making a decision for your family (of any size) but I think an announcement would actually have people take your family's decision less seriously as well as possibly hurting your parents. Do whatever you want, but I just wanted to throw this out there for consideration. Reply In person, this message can be delivered in a light-hearted, funny, smiling way. In text, and with all the effort of printing and sending in snail mail, it comes across as mean-spirited. To me, it sounds furious. If I got an announcement like this, I think I think I'd get the message that I should never talk to these people about anything child-related, because the senders are clearly so very angry about the topic that they had to make sure no friends would make the mistake of actually talking about it in their presence. Reply My fiance and I also have decided not to have kids, and are already getting invasive questions about it. One idea I have is a Puppy Shower! We love dogs, we have 1, and would like 1 more. I want to throw a party where guests are invited to bring a bag of dog food for an animal shelter, and we'll play party games and eat and drink, all the while they subtly get the message that our family will have scoop bags, not diapers. Reply I don't think we'd do announcements, but I admit I am getting awful tired of the "well anything can happen" comments. I told my mom when I was 10 or 12 I never wanted children and at 30 she STILL thinks one day I'll change my mind. I've had many a heartfelt conversation with her and others about my (and now our) decision to be child-free, so the continued suggestions that I'm somehow too ignorant to know what I want in life when I am otherwise very competent and successful is really galling. Short of the announcements, how do childfree couples end the conversation permanently? Reply End it the same way you end any annoying conversation– have the convo one last time for each person, and tell them that now the conversation is closed. You understand if they still need to talk about the issue, but they'll haveto do it with friends or therapists and not you. Then the next time it comes up, redirect: "I've made my decision and we're not talking about this anymore, remember? How's the weather/sports team/whatever?" And if they get fixated and won't be redirected, hang up or walk away. They'll catch on. This method is what I used after coming out. It worked for that, should work for this. Hope it helps! Reply I like the idea of the sterilization announcement (even if you don't actually HAVE one, heh.) But of course, the "it's reversible!" and "there's always adoption!" comments could still come. Reply I think an official, paper announcement would strike me as a little passive-aggressive. Just imagine receiving announcements for other possibly controversial decisions NOT to do something: "We are not getting married," "We will not be moving closer to family," "We will not be breastfeeding." Strikes a strange chord, right? I feel like it's bound to create more trouble than it alleviates. Your families (and maybe some friends) might actually get really upset and feel like you're being snarky about their life choices. I like the idea someone suggested earlier to throw a big anniversary bash, and maybe make a slightly-more-gentle announcement phrased in a positive way. I always find that positive phrasing makes ultimatums/rules/etc. much more palatable. Instead of "We won't be having kids," get up and make a speech along the lines of, "We love our family of two, and plan to keep it just the way it is," or even, "Since we've decided to stay childfree, we're so thankful to have one another–and all of you!–for love and support on our journey through life." Or something like that. Reply It reminds me a lot of the "Sex & the City" episode where Carrie bemoans how single women get no external life affirmations but married & procreating women get gifts for bridal showers, weddings, & baby showers. Why don't we have celebrations for everybody's choices? Reply I thought of that too! I especially can relate with respect to weddings. Totally not ready yet, don't know if I ever will be, but what if I want to throw a huge party and have all my friends and family in one place? I live in a totally different part of the country than where I grew up, and it seems like people are way more likely to travel and take time off for a wedding than celebrations of new jobs, milestone birthdays, and the like. Reply A sad fact I still reflect on is that this was one of my shittier, selfish-er reasons for having a wedding when we did. We had a small, fairly low-key gathering, and part of the reason was that it really seemed like the only event that would justify us purchasing plane tickets home for the summer, much less other people traveling out to see us. It's a bit sad, because my dream was (and still is) to have a double recital (we are both musicians) for all our friends and family with a big reception afterwards, but I feel like even though that would be by far the more meaningful event for us in our lives and careers, most people wouldn't take it seriously enough to do things like travel for it or even take time off from work, compared to people who were easily convinced to do so when we called our event a wedding. That being said, I still have every intention of doing said recital, even if nobody comes – so traditions do get broken one way or another. It's just a pity that the cultural narrative does so strongly focus on certain events being "serious" or "important" while other perfectly valid life milestones are seen as less "worthy" of a party when they may be equally as important, or more, to that particular person's life story and priorities. Reply I hope you do the recital, and that lots of people come! I could see it working really well if you send out fancy invitations and wear something special–borrowing a couple markers from modern wedding traditions to show how it's just as important (or more) to you guys. Reply I think I'm also in the "no" camp. Really for me it's because anything CAN happen and if you happened to get pregnant accidentally (and you decided to keep the baby) it would get reeeeeally awkward. I think it would be hard enough for you to deal with on your own without people's snarky comments about that announcement that you sent x number of years ago. I wish that we could all count on people not being that shitty, but based on how they're acting towards you now, we all know that people are shitty sometimes. Also, I personally (as someone who will be having kids) would feel a little weird getting that announcement. I, as a previous commenter said, would feel like I can't talk to you about MY kids or plans to have them. I know it's silly – just because you don't want them doesn't mean you hate them. But it's how I would feel nonetheless. Somehow, though, a party seems more okay. I know it's the same sentiment as an announcement, but for some reason it doesn't seem to carry the same weight. I really feel for child-free people. We have always been planning on having kids, so I don't have direct experience with how shitty people can be towards the child-free, but if how shitty people can be about pregnancy/child-rearing/anythingreally is any indicator, it must really suck. It's such a personal decision and it sucks that people feel like they have the right to stick their nasty noses in your business. Of course, you should do whatever the hell you want, but you did ask for advice. 🙂 Reply The overwhelming comment response so far seems to be "no", so I want to respect that this idea is one that isn't popular among everyone. Since families are made up of lots of diverse people, it's probably prudent to heed that warning that not everyone will respond well to an announcement. But, I kinda love the core idea here! I have simple reasons for this: 1) I love getting mail, especially announcements and invitations; 2) I love sending mail and would take up any opportunity to send out announcements or invitations; 3) "Nope, definitely not having kids" is actually really useful information for me to have about other people, and punctuating it in some way that makes it easy for everyone to remember is not necessarily passive aggressive. Depending on how you frame it, it could be very direct! Personally, I feel like the core idea I'm latching onto here is, for me, less about a response to annoying questions, and more about desire to really celebrate another kind of big life choice. Not having kids is not only the absence of having children – it actually can take an awful lot of both effort and luck to successfully not have children! Celebrating that this is what you want through something like a "10 years and child free and we like it!" party sounds pretty incredible. You'll still get to send out amazing mail (and invitations are definitely the most exciting mail, even more exciting than announcements), but there's a much bigger opportunity to eat cake with family and friends (which also means a bigger cake, or even many cake options). Reply If I got this announcement in the mail, I'd be delighted and relieved. I appreciate it when my child-free friends tell me that they have decided not to have children. There's no more tiptoeing around. It makes me feel a bit closer to them. A party sounds great, too. This said, I'm also someone who BELIEVES my friends when they tell me they don't want children. I treat that decision with exactly the same weight as my friends who say that they do want children. If someone tells me they don't want to get married, I don't have that thought, "oh, we'll see!" in the back of my head. I don't assume that those who are making these choices are just doing so to go against the grain and will eventually fall in line. I definitely don't assume that everyone wants the same things out of life that I want. So, the people who you have already told who can't seem to get the message are probably not going to get the message with an announcement, a party, a tattoo, or a blood oath. They probably will always assume you will change your mind. And, unfortunately, those people will probably be offended by this kind of announcement. It's unjustified, but they may feel taunted, threatened, and hurt. You may just have to keep sharing your decision with people when the situation arises and hope that as many people as possible understand that this is a legitimate choice and something you've put a lot of thought into. Sadly, some people will probably never be convinced. Reply I think an announcement would be super cute! Instead of baby shoes or whatever, you could do a nice photo of you sleeping. Maybe with eye masks, and a clock in the background that indicates it's noon. Something cheeky to represent your freedom. My family would get a huge kick out of something like this. And you say your siblings have kids, so it shouldn't come off as too hurtful (the way it might if your parents really wanted grandkids and you were the only option). My plan was always not to have kids. I now have 2, but I can still totally relate to the childfree stance. Reply We're childfree as well and I wouldn't do something like this. It seems like an open invitation for people to comment on your choices and get their panties in a twist and take offense even if you don't mean to be. Reply Would we do this? Quite possibly; I definitely like the idea, and it fits in with our personal sense of quirk. And I definitely see a situation where we'll have to do something more firm and dramatic to make.the.point. My family doesn't care about our child-free status. In fact, it's pretty universally agreed that I'm not mother material. (My mother once pulled me aside to tell me just this, not in a mean way, but just in a "we support your decision to not have kids" way.) Unfortunately, The Import's family will likely be different, not to mention friends – some of whom have already started in with the "when you have children" spiel. So far, we've cut that off really fast, but I can see it will probably continue to happen. I don't see any reason to not have a fun and slightly cheeky paper announcement, perhaps with a more serious insert explaining that, since people continue asking about your choices, you felt it was necessary to give a more detailed explanation this one time and that you trust that after this, no one will question your choices or try to push you to something you are not interested in. And I think that is the key: make it clear that this is you informing people of your decision in a clear, calm, and formal manner, and you expect people to now respect the boundary that you are defining and not continue to bring it up. If/when someone does, after they get the letter, you can simply, kindly, firmly say "Nicole, we covered that in the letter we sent, and this isn't open for further discussion." But that's just me, and I believe in being quite firm about boundaries and letting people know when they're crossing them. Reply I think I would be a little weirded out by getting an announcement like that in the mail? Mostly because it wouldn't be clear to me what kind of response you wanted. Do you want your community to never talk to you about your parenting choices again? Do you want to throw a party and have everyone congratulate you? I like the idea of having a party–it makes it very clear what kind of response/support you're looking for. If you want people to STOP talking to you about your choices, though, an announcement seems like a kind of backwards way to do it, since it's basically starting a conversation. Reply What I don't understand is why you need to continually defend your decision to anyone. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to have kids by the time I was 22, and now at 40 am positive. I strongly messaged the idea in my 20s, and got all the "wait until you are 30" and "wait until you meet the "right" man" stuff. I generally did the "broken record" technique. "I think kids are something you should actively want if you are going to have them. I've never actively wanted them" then change the subject. It really is no ones business but yours and your partners. You don't have to engage in the conversations about it. Just close the discussion. Reply It's sounds like you are hoping to quell the inquiries you get from friends and family regarding your reproductive choices so I'd be worried that sending a note out and 'putting it out there' would just invite more comment on the subject. Instead of asking if you're thinking of having kids it could just turn into people arguing with you regarding your decision not to have them. By acknowledging it in such a public way it could just make it open season for everyone you know to get up in your business. I think the best way of dealing with that sort of thing is to be blunt and brief – "We don't want kids" and then change the subject and if someone is really pressuring you bust out the "I don't want to talk about this – thanks." My husband and I got a lot of crap from family about some of the decisions we made regarding how we were/are raising our child. My husband would always remark that just because we decided to, say, cloth diaper our baby doesn't mean we have to become cloth diapering spokespeople/advocates. We made the decision because it was what was best for us and we really don't care how other people diaper their kids, hopefully it's what is best for them. I'm just worried that if you put out a card you may inadvertently become the child-free spokesperson to your friends and family and that could suck. Reply I say go for it. I have 3 kids so I'm not in the same boat, but I've witnessed couples being told, 'You've been together (x amt of years) – when are you going to start having babies?!' I personally can't stand it when people put that pressure on, because you never know what a couples' situation is – maybe they never want kids, or maybe they do but want to wait, or are not able to conceive, etc etc. This announcement would be a cute way of getting the point across that it's not going to happen so stop asking!! I personally love it 🙂 Reply We don't make excuses because that seems to lead people along and heighten the expectations that it's coming in the future. I work with kids all day, and love them, but have no maternal tendencies and both myself and my hubby have personal reasons for not wanting children tied to our backgrounds/up-bringings. I frequently respond with a humorous comment – e.g. "I only want children when I'm the kid's section of IKEA…it disappears by the time I reach the Billy bookcases" or for those who know what I do for a living I sometimes say: "I have a thousand children already, I really don't think I could manage another one" – however, we always follow up with a serious and clear statement of 'no'. When pushed or prodded for more, we politely explain that this choice is not a public discussion and change the subject to something that is mutually comfortable. Neither of us would want to make our decision into a party or formal announcement for two reasons: 1) We haven't ruled out the possibility that we may feel different in time, although we both see this as highly unlikely. However, if we were to change our minds, I wouldn't want to consider the emotional response a child may have knowing this type of event was celebrated before they were conceived. 2) To me, a public statement as such would reinforce the societal view that having kids IS a public subject – i.e. that we have to inform people of our status/decision one way or another. We feel strongly that it's no-one else's business but our own. Reply I kind of love this. I wish everyone was more open about having or not having kids. We struggled to get pregnant for years so all the questions about when we were gonna have babies got very old. I would've liked to have sent out a "we're infertile" announcement and then maybe people would've backed off a bit. Also after we finally did get pregnant, through invitro fertilization, we found out some other people in our family were struggling with infertility too. Then I felt really bad about how much I'd been talking about our pregnancy. Other people in our family don't have kids and people wonder (and ask) if/when they're going to have kids. If everyone just sent out announcements maybe it would stop all the prying questions. Maybe it's nobody's damn business. Maybe if you were close enough for me to share my decisions with you'd already know. I really don't know Reply I love the idea of a we're not having kids part but that's because I'm already on board with the idea of not having kids, I could totally see me and my child free friends loving that. However if you have relatives who are still pestering about kids I don't think presenting the concept as the theme of a party is going to suddenly going to help them get it, when they weren't before. It's annoying and flat out wrong when relatives won't accept your decisions and refuse to think outside the box but I think the key to changing their minds, if you decide you want to continue to engage with them, is to work out why they think that way and find a way to address the fear behind it in a method and language they can relate to. I don't think you are wrong if you don't do this but I think the thing here is to forget right and wrong methods (because no two people will give you the same answer here) but to match the method to the individual. I loved lindylou's post on the previous page where she shared the insight that parents can often have a very strong instinctual desire to get their children to procreate because they want them to experience something that was for them one of the most amazing things in their entire lives. Taken like that it's a lovely sentiment. I think lindylou's point about telling and showing them the wonderful life you have made/are working on will be the best thing to reassure them. It's probably worth respecting how big and powerfull a feeling this is for them and how hard it is to grapple with, there is a reason why they keep bringing it up, it's not the same as other things they might nag about like covering up that tattoo etc. For that reason I'd be wary of the announcement card thing, especially if you've not had already had big serious conversation but have been doing the deflect and change the subject thing. Nothing wrong with that (especially post big conversation) but if this issue that big for you but you've only ever changed the subject with them when it comes up, they really won't understand how much you've thought about it. A card through the mail at this point will be a huge shock and whilst not itself hurtful could easily cause that feeling in a parent. I think the bottom line is that of you want this completely understood you have to have a big serious conversation in which you answer all questions once and for all (see Abi's post on the previous page about one time conversations). You would in no way be wrong to do announcement cards or throw a party instead but as substitute for a conversation it's risky. But there is no reason why you should choose between these methods of course, but different people in your life will needs different methods. Reply I'm not child-free, but people have been telling me since my daughter was born that I should have/will want to have another child at some point. Now, my daughter is almost 6 and I still don't want to have another child and don't have any plans to have anymore. Even though my situation isn't exactly the same, I can definitely empathize with the situation that OP is in. I agree with those who have said that an announcement may be misinterpreted by some people, but I do think that it's a kind of outside-the-box neat way of driving home a point that you've apparently been making for 10 years, now. I also agree that a party may be the better route to go, because it includes everyone in a light-hearted and fun sort of way and you can make the "once and for all" announcement while everyone is gathered in one place, which removes the potential for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.