I don’t want kids.
I get mixed reactions when I say that to people. Some will say, “Oh, good for you for knowing what you want,” and others will say, “Well, you’re still young, you have time” followed by a discussion on how they were in the same boat and then they had kids and everything changed. My gynecologist told me last year that I should consider freezing my eggs in case I change my mind down the road. Or I get the “why not?” and while I generally say “it’s not our thing” what I really want to do is come back with some conversation-stopping retort like “I’m barren” (which I’m not, but it sure would end the line of questioning and comments.) Just because I have a uterus doesn’t mean I want to use it.
Here’s the thing: my husband and I married in our very early 20s. We’ve been married for almost 12 years, and over this entire period, our position on kids has been the same. The fact of the matter is, we are both incredibly self-aware.
We are aware enough to know that neither one of us is particularly maternal/paternal: would we be great parents if we made that choice? I have no doubt- one look at our dogs and you know we’re excellent parent material. But my maternal instinct stops at my dogs.
We are aware enough to know that we’re both pretty selfish people: I can’t function without 7 hours of sleep. And even though the no-sleep thing is temporary, I don’t want to spend every weekend at sports tournaments. Or hang out at some sports field when it’s cold and rainy because I have to support my kid. My parents did that for me for YEARS, but frankly, I don’t want to do that for someone else.
We are aware enough to know that our financial priorities don’t allow for kids: We have an amazing life, and I am incredibly grateful for it. Kids are expensive. REALLY expensive. Between the cost of childcare and education, there’s no way that we could have our current life and kids without being in over our heads in debt. The math just doesn’t work.
I respect and support my friends who have made the leap to parenthood. It is a HUGE deal to be responsible for someone else’s life, and I applaud them for making that choice. And that right there is the key: being a parent IS a choice. A deeply personal choice. And my husband and I choose no.
So the next time you encounter someone who doesn’t want kids, maybe it’s time to just acknowledge their choice for what it is, rather than launching into a line of questioning or trying to convince them that their choice is wrong.