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.
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Thank you! I choose not to have children born from my body. I do have two stepchildren that I consider born of my heart because I choose to love them and care for them. I knew I was marrying them when I married my husband. When people talk to me about why I don’t have bio children they usually say similar things to what you’ve experienced. My personal favorite is “you will change your mind.” Really? Will I ? I’m 34 years old. I know my own mind. Not one time ever in my life have I wanted to get pregnant and have a baby. I’m okay with that decision but a lot of people in my life think I shouldn’t be. I just don’t know why I need to explain this to people as frequently as I do. I feel that people who choose to not have children should be just as supported and respected in that decision as people who do and unfortunately that’s just not always how it works. I’m direct and decisive about everything else in my life I can assure people that I’m just as decisive with my reproductive choices. Kudos Shibani for telling it like it is.
Thanks Heidi! And yes- I agree! I shouldn’t have to explain a choice that impacts no one besides me and my husband. Butt out!
Well said. Gregg and I are in the same boat. Actually, we only met because we both didn’t want kids; we met on match.com and I filtered to see only men whose profiles stated that they didn’t want kids. We don’t hate kids – we love our nieces and nephews – we just know ourselves well enough to know that’s not the life we want. It’s interesting to observe what a hard time some people have with it.
That’s the other key, Brooke- making sure that you and your partner are on the same page! Thanks for sharing this important point!
Thank you!! I had someone tell me the other day “get to Europe before the kids come”. Excuse me? It doesn’t fit for everyone & I hate that sometimes I feel I have to explain that my husband & I have never had children in our plans. It’s not for us. We’ve been married for almost 5 years & I don’t want to justify, explain or see if I “change my mind” & that should be okay. It’s our choice. We also love our dog. ? Thanks for your eloquence & honesty in this post!!
Its ridiculous- its like people just CANNOT understand that you might not want to procreate! Thanks for sharing your experience Lauren! XO
I think most people just want you to experience the same joy they have experienced. I would never trade my little boy or girl for anything.
I can also understand the frustration around the topic — we lost two and get comments about additional children. When we say we are done, that answer never suffices.
If you are happy with your decision then I am happy for you guys. ?
I get it, but I still think its awfully presumptuous for people to think that my priorities and the things that bring me joy are the same as theirs! I don’t assume that my life is happier or better than theirs because I don’t have kids, so they shouldn’t assume that mine is lacking something.
And you’re right- I know of so many people like you who then get the “when are you having a second?” after their first.
Thank you for sharing your story Andy!
My husband and I have been married for almost 23 years and are very happily childfree. In the last few years, people have finally stopped asking “when?” That’s a big relief because I feel like I have to defend my choices. The paradox is that people with kids are rarely asked “why did you want kids?” And honestly, I’m completely baffled by it. There’s nothing about parenthood that looks remotely enticing to me. But because I feel that a person’s choice is their own business, I wouldn’t be rude enough to ask. I just wish the childfree were treated with the same respect.
Thanks Carol! I agree 100%
This is a great article, and local to CLE! I run a No Kidding! group in Cleveland (search Facebook for No Kidding! Cleveland) and there are way more childfree people in the area than I ever thought. Before I started the group I didn’t know one person who had made the choice to never have children and I always felt like an outsider because others judged me so much for my decision. I just started pretending that I wanted children so people wouldn’t make me feel like there was something wrong with me. But now, years later (and years more mature), I proudly admit that children were just never in my plan. Thanks for sharing! The more people who share their story, the less people will be shocked that there are those (especially women) who have made the CHOICE to be childfree. ?
No way!! I’m definitely going to check out that FB grouP!
Please do! We are a fun group and do monthly happy hours and some other things. ?