So Far No Children

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes an unsettling age of not wanting children.

I used to want kids: before I got married I was pretty sure kids would be cool- maybe one or two: not too many. We brought the topic up in pre-marital counseling: I wanted kids and my husband didn’t but neither of us felt so strongly about it as to make it a dealbreaker so we planned to just wait and see.

Then we got married and the impulse completely went away. Kids? Nope. No thank you. Don’t want them. I don’t even have a good reason like not feeling financially stable enough or worrying that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and not wanting to bring a new life into it. No, It was like my biological clock lost power for a few minutes and has been flashing midnight ever since. 

For myself I don’t feel conflicted about this change. I don’t feel guilty or deprived. I don’t feel angry or frustrated or left out. I worry a little bit that I might be hurting my folks or my husband’s folks whenever I bring the subject up: that they will be disappointed to learn that I will not be providing any little feet to pitter-pat.

Everyone has been tactfully quiet on the subject. Perhaps they accept it. Perhaps they think I’ll change my mind again. Both my husband and I have siblings who plan to have families or who already have children: in fact the most vocal opponents to our current childlessness are the nieces and nephew who want to know when they will have a new cousin to play with. 

So I count myself lucky to have so much acceptance to this subject: especially since I keep stumbling across articles written about other women who say they don’t want children and who are met with disbelief and dismissal. In one article about “What Do Men Think When Women Say They Don’t Want Kids” the answer boils down to “they don’t believe them”. This is more than a little bit distressing when you consider that open and honest communication is supposed to be the foundation of a good relationship. The feminist in me also points out that it is a pretty dismissive stance towards women as decision makers about their own bodies which is likewise irksome. 

But the resistance isn’t just from men who think women will change their minds (hell, I did- I just changed it in the wrong direction) but from other women who believe that child-free women will and should  change their minds as I discovered in the article “Stop Telling Me I’ll “Change My Mind About Wanting Kids“” where the implicit (and, heck, sometimes explicit) message that child-free women receive is that it is somehow wrong to not want kids.

It doesn’t feel wrong to me. Not-normal, maybe, but not wrong. 

I keep wondering whether I’m just not old enough for it yet: whether parenthood will make evangelists of all my friends and siblings once they start having children of their own. I keep wondering what it is about parenthood that drives this kind of evangelizing in the first place? Fulfillment? Hormones? Jealousy? Do we all think of families with kids as The Norm because we all came from families that had kids or is there something else at stake? 

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 26, 2013.

2 Responses to “So Far No Children”

  1. Sometimes I wonder if parents evangelize to their child-free friends because they don’t want to be alone in their disappointment and stress-filled lives. I know very few women who can say with 100% sincerity that their children have brought them nothing but joy. Most say if they had their chance, they would not have kids. Doesn’t inspire much confidence in the enterprise.

  2. I keep hoping my husband will change his mind. I have grown less against it, but still not totally for it yet. My biggest desire is to have a constant photography subject, which probably is not the best reason for kids.
    I do not really agree with this woman on how she handled her issues, but she had kids and didn’t change her mind….

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