Choosing Not to Have Kids
My husband and I are both 38 years old (him a little more than that), and we’ve chosen not to have children. I’ve held this post for a long time now, but hearing from a friend today whose marriage is ending over this same discussion, I thought it was about time I shared my perspective too.
Usually, saying you don’t want kids brings about a bunch of the same:
- “Children will change your life!”
- “Oh, you’ll change your mind.”
- “There’s still plenty of time!”
- “It’s such a selfless thing!”
- “You’ll definitely love your own.”
“There’s still time” and “changing your mind” are about the worst comments you can say to someone who doesn’t want children. See, the thing is, deciding NOT to have children is a much longer process than deciding TO have children. You want kids? BOOM, you’ve got one, and there’s no backing out (fertility troubles aside). But you don’t want kids when you’re 30? There’s still a good 10 years left of doubt, questions and defending yourself – sometimes defending yourself to your own self.
I admit, I adored spending eight days around this snuggly bum, Morris!
I’ve never babysat much, and I generally don’t find kids cute (you know, I don’t stop in my tracks to gawk at that “adorable baby/hat/feet” on the street). But deciding not to have children goes deeper than that, I know. The reasons I do find for having kids include “having someone to take care of us / entertain us when we’re older” and “giving my parents a grandchild”. Both of those reasons, however, require 18+ years of the stuff we don’t want to do. And who says our kid won’t steal all our money for a crack habit at age 23? ;-)
Spending time with 7-week old Morris resulted in a phone full of photos and selfies while he was snuggling with me in the Rockies. A super cute age! But his tiny toes and hairs were created by people we love, so I love him. I love our nieces and nephew too.
But here’s the thing… I also love me, I love my husband and I love our life. And I’ll be cliche and say we love our dogs! We aren’t looking for anything “more” (quotes intended). Simple as that. Being a parent is selfless? Well heck, I’m as selfish as they come. Please don’t try to stop me.
Yep, even strangers offer comments to try and change my mind, but thankfully society is starting to change this expected view juuuust a little bit. I do feel that people look down on us, which is sad. It’s our personal decision and our life.
Gary and I are lucky to agree on this subject. We first met 17 years ago, and we definitely both assumed we’d want kids as we got older. I said I’d have them if he wanted them, he said he’d have them if I wanted them. There’s been some slight swaying, particularly when I lost an ovary five years ago. As we watched our friends have kids, we said we’d be ready when they had their second. Surprisingly, many of them are now on their third! We’ve gone from not-feelin-it to a final, solid decision that we are not having children. And what a relief it is to have a decision! We’re moving on to the official steps in that direction.
Sure, I have NO IDEA who’s going to take care of us when we’re older, but I have always had visions of living like The Golden Girls with my buddies if I lose the love of my life. But hopefully we’ll be doing our PT exercises together on the beach until we’re 90. I’m excited to see where life goes!
Mostly though, I just wanted to share a perspective that is not a majority perspective, and encourage understanding for the differences that make each of us who we are. Embrace those friends without children! Don’t exclude them just because you don’t think they want to eat 1st-birthday cake. Maybe they’re gonna be the best aunt and uncle buddies you can call on!
Please feel free to share your perspective and experiences as well! (as long as it’s not one of the quotes above)
Note: this post originally appeared via Tumblr the same week Cape Cod Runner moved. Additional comments can be found here: Choosing Not to Have Kids