“You’re such a natural!”
“When are you and Andy going to start trying for one?”
These were the comments that were hurled at me as I held my friend’s baby at a recent bridal shower – turned dinner with spouses popping in and out as we took advantage of the $5 martini special. As I tried to deflect the comments with a gracious “oh, thanks, but we’ve decided we’re happy just the two of us,” my friend clarified, “-JUST recently decided!” as if the timing of when we made the official decision determined its validity. The look of disbelief that shot back at me from around the room was more than I anticipated. Being married for almost 10 years, I’m well-practiced in answering the baby questions from family, friends, even acquaintances, but this was the first time I had felt seriously judged for not wanting to reproduce. A mentor whom I’ve worked closely with in the past (and who moments prior praised me on my intellect and dedication to my work) kept asking, “how old are you again?” And every time I answered, “30”, with the roll of her eyes, she reduced me to a frivolous pre-teen who had decided she would certainly grow up to marry Prince Harry. If only I had a shot for every time I heard, “oh… you’re still so young! You don’t know what you want yet!” Um, excuse me? I understand that in the grand scheme of things, I am young. But young or not, that doesn’t mean my partner of 15 years and I haven’t decided what we want for our future.
But don’t you want a family?
We are a family, people! The two of us (plus our fur baby) make a whole family. Just in the same way one word makes a complete sentence, two souls make a complete family.
But don’t you feel like you’re missing something?
We truly don’t. I get how someone with children would feel like they were missing something without their kids, but trust me. We are happy and fulfilled.
But don’t you want to lead rich, meaningful lives?
We do, thank you very much. We have a wonderful marriage, a happy dog, awesome friends, and an incredible family. We pray every morning together, give back, listen to great music, and chase sunsets. To us, that equates to rich and meaningful.
Do you just not like kids?
Let me type this slowly. We. Do. Not. Hate. Kids! In fact, we think kids are pretty cool. I’m the first one to be ecstatic when our friends announce they are pregnant. In fact, I was the first to know of my best friend’s pregnancy – even before her husband and I was beyond overjoyed for her. Our nephew was born when we were still in high school and then three nieces followed shortly after. We are the godparents to two of our nieces and would wholeheartedly care for them as our own if God forbid, the circumstances asked us to. We enjoy every single moment we are able to spend with the children in our life – not that I need to provide examples to prove we actually like kids. Sorry. Hard habits die hard.
Don’t you think that’s kinda selfish?
If not bringing a life into this world that we don’t 100% want is selfish, let it be. (But for the record, we don’t feel it is.)
I’m sorry you can’t have kids.
Probably one of the most personal discussions I shouldn’t have to have. Yes. I have medical conditions that may prohibit me from getting pregnant in the event that Andy and I ever wanted to try. However, it is not a matter of not being able to have children that drives our decision to stay childless. It is a choice we are making – consciously, deliberately, and happily! My heart breaks for the families out there who long to have a child and can’t, but thankfully, this is not the reason why we have decided not to have kids.
You don’t know what you’re missing.
You’re right. We will never know what it is like to have children. Just like those who have kids will never know what it’s like to live carefree – err, I mean childfree. But for real. We’re not judging you for having kids, please stop judging us for not having them.