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Not Having Kids.Thanks for Asking

July 6, 2012

I am not one of those, “I am woman, hear me roar” kind of gals. It’s not that the sentiment isn’t there, I’m just a little lackadaisical when it comes to getting the message out. Try as I might I am pretty much a go-with-the-flow kind of person. Until today, that is. Today I feel like going on a rant, and for that, I apologize in advance. I hope I don’t go too far off the deep end.

Now let’s get started, shall we?

No kids. Ever.Let me say, with absolute firmness, I have no intention of having children. Those little buggers annoy me to no end. Even the cutest of kids get snotty noses, become cranky beyond belief when they’re tired, refuse to eat certain foods and need constant attention. Why would I stretch my kooch beyond recognition just to have all those problems? Honestly, I can get the same responsibilities simply by allowing my boyfriend to move in, and I don’t have to commit to the experience for eighteen years, if I don’t want to.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate on people who have or plan to have kids. It’s simply not my bag. I mean, it’s not like I’m at a dinner party and I say to the pregnant woman beside me, “What happens if you change your mind when it’s too late? Your clock is ticking, you know.”

And yet.

It seems like that pregnant woman has no issues saying the same thing to me about my decision not have kids. In fact, having made up my mind on this particular matter when I was a just a kid, myself (yes, I’ve known for that long), I have had a lot of experience with these conversations. First there are the little talks I have to have with boyfriends who have the potential of becoming long term. They usually start off with me saying something along the lines of, “I like you a lot, and I’m not sure if this is going anywhere but just in case it is, I feel you should know now that I don’t plan on having kids.”

To which the reply is usually, “Ever?” and I respond with “Ever.”

Then there are the public conversations that are usually instigated by people sticking their noses where they don’t belong. These conversations start two ways. This first is someone asking my boyfriend something along the lines of, “When are you two going to put a bun in the oven?” When he responds negatively they look at me with pity in their eyes. One person actually said to me, “Oh you poor thing.” If I try to tell them this is a unanimous decision between us, they look at me like, you keep telling yourself that, honey.

The second way the conversation starts is with someone asking me when we plan to put a bun in the oven. When I politely and firmly say, “never,” the response is ALWAYS, “Oh, you’ll change your mind.” This statement is accompanied with a smug, knowing smile. On occasion, as it was with the pregnant lady mentioned above, this is followed with some variation of, “let’s just hope you don’t change your mind too late. Your clock is ticking, you know.”

Now I ask you, why is it unfathomable for some people that a woman in her early thirties, or any age for that matter, would choose not to have children? And why do those same people accept my boyfriend’s decision to not have children as an unequivocal fact? I am asking you, faithful readers, because the pregnant lady didn’t have an answer for me.

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2012 12:03 pm

    I am not suggesting you would or should change your mind, but I may have an answer to offer. I hate children. OK, I have one – not that one. Just all the others. I was once heard to tell my father my nephew was ‘growing on me’. When he said ‘Really?’ I replied ‘Yes, like a fungus’. So I hear ya. I never liked children, never held a baby until I had one, and STILL don’t hold other people’s babies (except under duress). It’s NOT a recreational activity. Pregnancy is bloody miserable, childbirth is undignified. and really, men should have to do some of this shit. Nature is clearly sexist. BUT having said that, while having had no desire to have children much at all, part of the decision I had to face when my ex turned out to have multiple personalities was ‘was I prepared to NEVER have children’. There’s NEVER knowing you CAN change your mind (even if you probably won’t) and then there’s NEVER – as in NEVER, life in prison NEVER, walking off the plank ain’t no turning back NEVER and I can testify to the fact there is a difference. Not to suggest you WILL change your mind – but even if you don’t, knowing you CAN is, I think, a safety net – even if we don’t think we’ll ever fall. I think irrevocable never makes most of us (but not all) hesitate and think twice.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents, for what it’s worth. Maybe it explains some of the comments.

    Oh, and despite hating children in general, I love my daughter to bits. It’s cliched, but it’s true – it IS different when it’s your own kids. I blame hormones. hormones suck, too, right along with pregnancy and childbirth. Is there someone we can complain to about this? Like, an equal opportunity board or something?

    • July 7, 2012 4:59 am

      It’s hard for me to respond to this, Ciara. I’ve been thinking over your comment for a while, and you’re probably correct in that there is a certain freedom in being able to change one’s mind. For me, I have never for a millisecond considered having children but (I’m guessing, anyway) the option is out there. Of course, there is also my boyfriend to consider. We committed to a child-free existence before we moved in together six years ago. For that reason it is not a matter of simply me changing my mind or him changing his. For this reason, I really do feel like it is completely “off the table”.

      I have wracked my brain trying to come up with a similar experience that I could relate to this. The one thing I can think of is, when I was in my late twenties, I had no clue if I wanted to get married at some point in my life. My boyfriend of five years however, was very definite that it was not a part of his life plan. I was perfectly happy (ecstatic, really) that he did not want children but I could not decide if I was on board with the no marriage ever thing. I decided to break it off with him simply because I was afraid that I would decide five years or so down the line that I did want marriage and would find that I have dedicated my life to someone who no longer shared in my life plans. In this case, never was too finite for me.

      Of course, it’s a decade later and I am still happily unmarried but it’s nice to know the option is there. 🙂

  2. Erin permalink
    July 6, 2012 12:03 pm

    LOL There is nothing wrong with your decision. Ppl need to mind their own business–and oh, that smug smile that all women have whenever you say you don’t want kids, makes me want to wring their little neck LOL (Especially now that I am pregnant). I didn’t want kids either and nobody could believe that a woman didn’t want to have babies. Why is that so hard to believe? Society is not a small tribe that needs to populate the world anymore–in fact, overcrowding is becoming an issue. So why should a woman be EXPECTED to want kids? I can’t answer that. Perhaps it’s centuries of thinking women are only baby-makers that has caused the irritating smugness and disbelief. All I can say to that is MOVE ON society.
    What I will say regarding my pregnancy is that I’m looking forward to a new experience. My life is about to get really complicated and I say bring it on. But you won’t find ANY smugness on my face because this is your life and your decision. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for. Never let those bitches look down their nose at you just because they don’t understand your opinion. 🙂

    • July 7, 2012 4:31 am

      So many good points, and a lot more elegantly stated than my rant! Thanks!

  3. July 6, 2012 12:31 pm

    I understand your desire to never have children. Not that it was never mine, all I EVER wanted was to be the neighborhood cool-aid mom. The Goddess did not take me down that path, I never had children, so I spoil my fur babies horribly. 🙂

    I remember my cousin saying she didn’t want kids, she quiet firm all through her teenage years, everybody kept telling her that she would change her mind, when the time was right. I was the only one to stand beside her and tell her I understood. With her second husband, she did change her mind…. and after four long years and three miscarriages, she has the most beautiful daughter and is a wonderful mother.

    At this point in my life, while I mourn my never having a child of my own to raise and pass my love of reading and words on to, I can see why it was withheld from me.

    So, I fully understand and support your desire not to have children, and yes, other peoples kids are brats, it is only your own that are perfect angels. 🙂

    • July 7, 2012 4:30 am

      I hate hearing stories like this. It sucks that people who don’t want or deserve kids can end up having them so easily and others who are wanting and deserving can’t.

      It’s funny, I have no maternal instincts whatsoever but I spoil my dog and cat to death with affection and playtime. I may forget to feed them every so often or change the water bowl but my boyfriend picks up the slack in that department, thank goodness.

  4. July 6, 2012 1:35 pm

    Funny how Freedom of choice only applies to those who make the same choice as you (in regards to pregnant lady) I am also highly amused by those who think they are so smart and wise they know your decisions before you do. That level of arrogance is amazing.

    I might understand if you were a teen which is a period where statistically you are likely to change your mind about a lot of things but at the point you are in your life it’s ridiculously arrogant of someone to try to tell you what you will or won’t think.

    just my thoughts

    *~MAJK~*

    • July 7, 2012 4:26 am

      You’re right. It boils down to arrogance, and perhaps single mindedness.

  5. July 6, 2012 5:33 pm

    I have no idea why people think you will (or should) change your mind, especially if they do respect the decision when your bf says he isn’t going to have kids. But I can say that I think they are disrespectful idiots and you absolutely have the right to make this choice. It’s no one else’s business and there’s nothing wrong with you.

    I always wanted one child, a daughter, and that’s what I’ve got. I love her to death and I can’t imagine not having her. But that said, it is absolute HELL having to be on call 24/7/365 for another human being, and if that’s not what someone really wants to do with their life, there’s no reason why they should do it. 🙂

    • July 7, 2012 4:25 am

      Congrats on getting the daughter you wanted! I couldn’t do it but I admire those who can. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  6. Those Young Moms permalink
    July 6, 2012 5:43 pm

    Im going to make a not so popular comment and say thank you! I did not want children before i was surprised pregnant with my child. And after having her, I don’t want another. I don’t want to continue to add to our already overpopulated world. If I want another I’ll adopt. I usually get the “give your baby a sibling” speech….but I still don’t want to make another. Thank you for your honesty!

    • July 7, 2012 4:24 am

      I never even thought about the “when are you having another” annoyance. I’ve heard people ask mothers this before but it had not occurred to me to be offended on the mom’s behalf. One more thing for me to gripe about! 😀 Thanks for commenting.

    • MJY2K permalink
      July 7, 2012 7:50 am

      UGGGGHHH Yes this debate gets on my nerves as well! I finally had a kid *surprise baby* She’s 2 & now everyone is saying things like, “If you don’t have another one, she’ll be selfish.” & such. I think that depends on how you raise your children. I had 3 siblings & I am very selfish.

  7. July 6, 2012 6:35 pm

    I feel your pain! People (mostly family members and nosy co-workers) are always asking when I’m going to have kids. My 24-year-old cousin has two, which doesn’t help the situation. I’ve had the “you’ll change your mind” and the infamous “your clock is ticking” statements made to me many times. And I don’t love kids; the thought of snotty noses and intermittent drooling doesn’t appeal to me. It never has, actually.I’m with you: What IS wrong with a woman in her early thirties who has no desire to have children? In my opinion: Not a damn thing.

    • July 7, 2012 4:17 am

      I’m not alone! Thank you! Family and co-workers are the worst culprits but it is amazing how many near or perfect strangers feel the right to tell us what we want out of life.

  8. July 6, 2012 8:08 pm

    It’s astonishing to me that people have the effrontery to ask the childbirth question (and I’ve been asked many times whether/when I’m having kids). It’s such a personal decision – how can people not understand what a rude question it is? And what about the people who do want to have kids but can’t? Asking them why they don’t have kids is just twisting the knife.

    • July 7, 2012 4:22 am

      You are so right. It is too personal of a subject and yet people don’t seem to realize. Most people would never consider asking when someone plans to lose weight or come out of the closet, yet have no compunction about asking about babies. I have friends who are struggling to have children and it has gotten to the point she won’t go to baby showers or her friends’ kids parties because everyone asks when she will have kids.

    • July 7, 2012 2:15 pm

      I totally agree with you, KW. It IS a rude and hurtful question. The hubby and I can’t have kids (either natural or adopted) and it kills my happiness every time I hear that question. For those of us who can’t have kids and want kids, it is like a death.

  9. July 6, 2012 11:05 pm

    Arrrgh. People are stupid.

    The thing is, once you have a kid and then hate the whole mother trip, it’s too late to change your mind – life as you knew it is wrecked for almost 2 decades. And god forbid you say you wish you’d never had kids, or that having them ruined your life – the whole world thinks you suck at that point.

    And no, you can’t just “give it up for adoption” some time later – because a) your whole family will flip out, and b) that’s a pretty crappy thing to do to a kid.

    So bravo to you! And piss off to those who think you’re not smart enough to know yourself.

    • July 7, 2012 4:15 am

      You absolutely hit the nail on the head. You just can’t send ’em back if you change your mind. Lot’s of people tell me that it will be different when (when, not if!) I have my own children. Considering the fact that my one and only baby sitting experience (of an actual baby) ended with me calling my mother to tell her to get her ass home within the hour to prevent shaken baby syndrome (I was 19, my brother was two weeks old), I’m not willing to take the chance that it will be different.

  10. July 7, 2012 5:44 am

    I hear you. I’ve had all these comments directed to me, and now years later hubby and I don’t have children and are perfectly happy. We can travel when we want and please ourselves. Kids are expensive! We both like kids but prefer the ones we can give back, and it’s bliss returning home to peace after a family function.

  11. MJY2K permalink
    July 7, 2012 7:30 am

    I used to tell people I couldn’t have kids. A bit mean, but easier to deal with. Except for those people who want to “help” by giving you advice.

    • July 9, 2012 2:40 am

      Yes, my best friend who is desperately trying to have a kid gets those “helpful” tips all of the time. The one she hates the most is, “Just stop trying and you’ll get pregnant.”

  12. July 7, 2012 11:17 am

    I support your choice and applaud your courage and willingness to announce it. Having children is a choice and for some people it’s not an option they want. Like having pets, or living in the city, or living in the country, or getting married or remaining single — it doesn’t appeal to some and that’s equally as valid as the opposite choice.

    People will say what if you don’t have kids and then when it’s too late, you change your mind? They never ask, what if you think you don’t want kids, have them anyway, and then find out you were right?

    I do know people who had kids and wished they didn’t. It’s not a given that if you have them you will like them.

    You can’t “have” kids the way you have a car or a sofa — it is a complete and total life and lifestyle change that affects every decision you make from that point forward. And some people aren’t willing to take on that commitment.

    Not having children is as valid a choice as having them.

    • July 9, 2012 2:43 am

      Thank you, Cara. I have always thought that, out of all the people in the world who have decided to have babies, not all of them can be blissfully happy with their decision. And what a mistake that is to make! Not just for the parents but the children as well.

  13. July 7, 2012 11:31 am

    This will be a controversial answer, but I think it’s jealousy. People see your freedom and want you to change your mind so you’ll be as tied down as them. Try pointing out “Actually, having children is a CHOICE. Don’t hate me because of YOUR CHOICE.” They don’t like that. Why don’t I have kids? Because I know how fucking contraception works.

    Mind you, I don’t like being told, “Your life doesn’t begin until you have kids.” I asked the man who said it, “Oh, so does that mean I haven’t had a life up until now, and I never WILL have a life?” He just kinda laughed in my face, and I said I felt sorry for his children if they were the sole focus of his existence. A lot of pressure to put on youngsters.

    I asked about being sterilised when I was 22, but the doctor (male) said, “You’ll change your mind.” I’m now 36, and I haven’t. Not for one second. In the meantime, I’ve had to screw my body up with hormones, injections and pills in between stupid-ass doctors telling me, “Your migraines will improve once you’ve had a child.”

    But oh, I feel you on the telling guys at the start of a relationship thing. I find it so hard meeting men who don’t have or want children. And I’ve truly had it up to here with the “You’ll change your mind when you meet the right man,” bullshit. Um, no. The right man for me doesn’t want children. Nor does he already have them.

    A “friend” of mine asked, “What happens if you fall in love with a man then find out he has/wants kids?” I pointed out that one doesn’t fall in love instantly, and the only way I’d get emotionally involved with a man THEN find out his parental status is if he’d lied to me, which would mean instant break-up. This happened to me once, around eight years ago. A man knew I didn’t want kids, then told me OVER THE PHONE he had a son. We broke up a short time later. Not because of his son. Because of his lies.

    Wow, I’m ranting. Yeah, this affects me deeply too. I’m pig sick of people thinking they know my own mind better than I do. My ovaries are closed for business, thank you very much.

    • July 9, 2012 2:56 am

      If only I had a dime for every time people have told me “life doesn’t begin until you’ve had kids” and “you’ll change your mind when you meet the right man”. Like I’m so fucking stupid I just latch onto whatever guy comes along and one day I’ll be lucky enough to bag me a good one.

      I think you are correct in that misery loves company. I’m sure some parents are perfectly happy but I also feel that a lot of my friends who have kids try to pressure me into doing the same simply so they have someone (whose life is now also consumed with dirty diapers, sleepless nights and baby talk) who they can commiserate with.

      That sucks about the ex-boyfriend. Someone who kept such a whopping secret from me would be out the door. I feel sorry for his daughter, especially. People typically hide things they’re ashamed of and that is truly sad.

  14. Allison permalink
    July 7, 2012 12:54 pm

    I think the people who say “you’ll change your mind when it’s your own/when you meet the right person” etc don’t understand the decision to not have kids and they need to understand it so they come up with a reason why you don’t want to have kids. I am in my 30’s and don’t want to have kids either (I got my tubes tied about a year ago but I normally don’t tell anyone that except a boyfriend) so I always receive the same comments and normally the people who say these things aren’t interested in knowing anything else about my reasons. I’ve never been interested in kids, I would only babysit when I had too and if I needed money, and I don’t want to change my lifestyle. I don’t even have pets because they tie you down too much! I have six nieces and nephews in total with another on the way, and I love them and would do anything for them but I also like giving them back to their parents. Even though I’m completely at ease with my decision to not have kids and I don’t regret having my tubes tied at all. I think what you do with your body is your business and you shouldn’t have to justify your reasons to anyone!

    • July 9, 2012 3:01 am

      You hit the nail on the head, Allison. People seem to assume there is something wrong with a woman who doesn’t want kids, and they automatically go into rationalization mode. I am glad you are happy and comfortable in your decision.

  15. July 7, 2012 1:25 pm

    In my early 20’s, I wanted the whole nine yards. Knight in shining armor and rugrats. By my 30’s, I still had not gotten married (rule #1 for me) and was changing my thinking about children. I was around more ppl who had them, and like you, they annoyed me. By 36 I got married. My hubs had a, then 9 years old. We had the “kid” talk and decided it was best not to have anymore. In some ways, it was a relief him not wanting anymore because I was truly torn. Did I want to have a kid at 36 or 37. How strapped we would be. I just wanted to leave fancy free. Might seem selfish but that’s my thoughts. There are times I still wish we did but I’m not into those baby years. If I could bear a 17 year old, I’d be good to go. 🙂

    So to those who choose not to have children, for whatever reason, it is your prerogative to not have them AND to not be looked down upon by other “mommies”. Trust me, I get my share of “you don’t understand, you’re not a mother.” kinda bs. Those are the ppl I choose to stay away from and dare them to tell my 80 lb. pitbull that I’m NOT his momma! 🙂

    • July 9, 2012 3:03 am

      I don’t think your reasons were selfish at all. I think you made a responsible and thoughtful decision that benefits not just you and your husband but your stepdaughter as well.

  16. July 7, 2012 10:09 pm

    i applaud you for speaking your mind. frankly, i think there are far too many people out there who are parents that should NOT be. it’s far better to realize that you can’t or don’t want to devote the exhaustive amount of time and effort it takes to raise a child. it IS a lot of work when it’s done right. i wish more potential parents would think this through before taking the plunge just because they think it is expected of them.
    although i once said i would never have kids, so vehemently that my friends even made jokes to that effect, (“yeah, and you can have val’s first-born” was a favorite.) i discovered that my reasons were more grounded in the fear that i would never find anyone worthy of loving me and i would always be alone. so my protests of “no babies ever, ever!” were more defensive on my part and i did change my mind, but that is my story and not every woman’s story. even after i had my first (and even second child) i still got the question of “when are you having another?” seriously? although i did find it quite personal and thought, what am i? a freaking baby factory or something? i decided to go with a humorous response and say that i had one for each hand and that’s all i could handle.
    i’d say that maybe you could handle the nosy bitches in much the same way, with humor. getting angry won’t change their mind or stop them from asking the question. you could always try telling them the truth, that this is the right choice for you and you are comfortable with it, even if they are not. but if that doesn’t work, saying something like, “sure, i might change my mind. i might decide to tattoo mitt romney’s face on my ass too but i doubt it” that might do the trick too. good luck!

    • August 9, 2012 2:08 am

      Wow. So what you’re saying is the intrusive questions don’t stop even if you do pop one out? Insanity!

  17. RL.Treadway's Ink permalink
    July 8, 2012 1:28 am

    Oh lord, I had the same problem! Doesn’t happen anymore, thank goodness. People just “assume” and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Added to that was “Why? Don’t you like kids?” – you know what put a stop to it? Maybe it’ll work for you even if you never have a hysterectomy. Just tell them “Can’t change my mind now baby! Ripped out the plumbing! And the best sex I’ve ever had since! You only wish you had it so good!” then look at your boyfriend and say “Let’s go do it again! This time on top of the building!” and both of you dash away from the offending party.

    • July 9, 2012 12:51 pm

      Hmm…This may work… 😉 Only the bf and I will run off to the hosts washroom…

  18. July 8, 2012 2:36 am

    I happen to believe that a LOT of the world’s problems would decrease or even go away if only WANTED babies were born. I’ve been known to get really testy with people who want to have children “for the experience.” It’s not an EXPERIENCE, dammit, it’s a child, and if they can’t commit to raising a decent and healthy human being for 18 years of 24/7 and god-knows-how-much after that, they have no BUSINESS having children.

    I never planned to have kids. I’ve always felt there are PLENTY of kids out there in need of love; why create another? Then I went and had an oops. Now I have a 13yo at home and I work at a school with 700 more. I’m happy–but I can’t imagine a lot of people would be. I sure wouldn’t try to push it on anyone. That would only make for more misery in a world that has enough.

  19. July 9, 2012 12:55 pm

    I agree with you 100%…and yes, can’t imagine a lot of people who have to deal with 700 kids on a daily basis would be happy. It take as special kind of person to be able to love that type of environment. Kudos to you! I fear I would run screaming or stab myself in the eye after just ten minutes… 😀

  20. Amanda permalink
    July 10, 2012 3:20 am

    I think you just became my new bestie! I’m 30 with absolutely NO muhfkng desire to have kids. I loved this post and go through this exact same sitch constantly! I just met a guy recently who feels the same way so maybe I can tolerate him longer than I tolerate a persistent turd lol

    • July 10, 2012 3:31 am

      Yay! I need a new bestie! My current bestie is trying to have kids, which means she will be in mommy land for a few years. 😀 Glad you found someone who is not planning on having children. With so many other valid reasons for deciding to kick someone the curb, why have to worry about that too?

  21. Kiersi permalink
    July 11, 2012 12:50 am

    Oh, smug pregnant women. I’ve said the same thing as you since I was a toddler myself: I don’t want children. For a variety of reasons, all stated above: smelly. Gross. Infested with bacteria. Contributing to overpopulation.

    My dad made a good point the other day, though–with all the idiots out there reproducing like crazy (popping out five, six, seven babies and still living in a trailer park), it’s the duty of the semi-intelligencia to not go extinct.

    Not sure if I believe it, but food for thought.

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