I am 30 years-old, married, and I have no children.
There are many times when people ask me about my childless status. A few of the most common are as follows.
1. Every time I am at the Endocrinologist.
Doctor: “Do you have kids?”
Doctor: “ Do you want kids?”
I have no idea what my current reproductive status has to do with my thyroid.
I do not feel I should have to explain to people I work with that even if I wanted children, which I am on the fence about, it would not make sense to have any when my husband is a fulltime student. That seems like it would be a bad idea to me.
3. Random Acquaintances.
These can be the worst, especially if they have young children or are trying to get pregnant, because they are in the bubble that everyone loves babies and of course your ovaries are crying out for them.
So my answers to all those curious people are as follows:
1. Being childless is a valid choice. It does not make someone a bad person, lonely, strange, or unfulfilled. It is wonderful that your choice to have children is a happy one for you. Yay, you can get a prize but I like my life too.
2. It is not your business when we are going to have kids. J and I might reconsider the kids issue when he is done with school and it would be more feasible. It is a conversation for a few years up the line. I have never asked you why you decided to have children or why you would want four of them, please show me the same courtesy.
I do sometimes get a pang of oh my goodness that baby is so cute I want one but I feel that way about expensive shoes and electronics too. It does not mean I should rush out and buy them.
In the book, Two Is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice, they conducted a survey of childless women. The main reason the women gave for not wanting children is that they simply love their life as it is.
A common theme, and one I have personally experienced, is that when women say they are not interested in having children, they are told they will grow out of it or that their maternal instinct will kick in eventually. That they will change their minds. It is sexist to assume that we are unable to trust women with knowing themselves enough to make this decision. As if the sole purpose of women is to procreate and without fulfilling this biological imperative, we will shrivel up and die a lonely death.
I would suspect that women who choose not to get married, or postpone marriage until later in life, get the same type of speeches from the same types. I wonder what life choice that men make garners so much scrutiny from strangers?
Are you childless by choice?
Do strangers ever ask you questions that are very personal? How do you handle it?