Thursday, March 17, 2011


Two people have asked me (in just the last three days) if I'm going to have children.  Granted, one was a man from Yemen and one was a nurse, but WTF, mates?  For the latter, I'd gone in for a non-baby prescription refill and a problem with my toenail.  Babies? What?

Having children is something I've thought of. A lot.  I've read lots of books. I read blogs.  I talk to people my age and older who are parents.  I'm not shying away from the subject.  J and I talked about having kids before we decided to get married, and one of the things that attracted me to him was that he would make a really good father*.

My doctor asked me if I was thinking about having kids, and I told her I had an IUD that was good for another three years.  She said, "Well that could be taken out today!" And I replied, "BUT IT'S GOOD FOR FIVE YEARS AND THAT'S WHY I HAD IT PAINFULLY THRUST INTO MY UTERUS."  Ok, I did not all-caps at her, but I was flustered. I gave her my reasons why it's not something I personally wanted to do yet, reasoned arguments about pursuing my interests, spending time with my spouse and keeping my body mine.**  Her response and tone made me gag a little:

"Well, that's just the educated person talking".

Let me remind readers that I work on a college campus and this was the campus clinic.  She went on to say that most parents never crack a book about it and do just fine.  I couldn't shake the feeling that she was on the "Just jump in!" bandwagon.  Regardless of my want for children? Our financial readiness? Lady, love doesn't keep anyone alive. Especially in this economy.  I usually really like this APN, but she sounded judgy and I kept expecting her to say, "You'll change your mind!" which is incredibly rude.  How do you know my mind better than me?  Or worse, what if I change my mind after I have a baby?  No one ever tells a woman who wants kids that she'll regret it one day, that she'll change her mind or that she's selfish. These are common slurs tossed at childfree women.  To pull a comment from Where are the child-free role-molels?"
When I was growing up people kept saying "you'll change your mind". I wonder how many folks ever tell reproduction-inspired young women that they might someday "change their minds".
When I was younger, I never said things like, "I will never have kids", because I realized that I was still turning into the woman I'd become.  Almost 30, I'm pretty sure I'm almost a finished entity. And I'm slowly becoming more interested in spending the rest of my life with J and only J.  If that's what we decide to do, you can bet that I'll be berated but no one will probably question his decision.

No Kidding: On being childfree and really liking kids
A typical dose of judgment in which I wonder if this person is really trying to convince herself.
Why is it selfish to be child-free?
A whole series parodying that selfish "bitch" who chose not to have children!
That really depressing NYTimes article about unhappy parents (does not apply to everyone but gives me pause)
9 Reasons to Have/13 to not

None of what I'm saying is to judge anyone for having kids.  I wish I had a drive to do it, and maybe I will later.  But if I don't, I'd like to live my life happily without anyone telling me what I'm missing.  I already get that from meat-eaters.  All. The. Time.  This subject has just been so front-and-center for me lately.  All my lady-blogs are blowing up with it, people I know, friend's parents. The only person who hasn't really bugged me is my mom***.

*I was shelving books in the Parenting & Childbirth section of my library at the time, so it's not as weird as it sounds.
**I am not saying a pregnant woman or mother does not have bodily autonomy. I am frightened of mother mortality and icky American birth practices/attitudes.
***Who was put on a 5-year grandbaby moratorium the day of my wedding. She has kept her promise.


  1. Whuuuut? More coherently, do you think it's because she thought that since you're staff and not student, you must therefore want kids? Because I can't imagine a campus clinic saying this to a student. Whatever the reason, obviously young women aren't responsible enough to decide to do with their lives/bodies. :(

  2. I never had the urge to have kids. Finally, at 38, I decided to see if I could even get pregnant. It took me a while to figure out the timing, which felt weird after so many years of trying to avoid conception.

    Had my second child at 40. In Argentina. Where i found a wonderful OB who attended my home water birth. Because I HATED the typical American hospital first birth. I avoided a c-section, but just barely. I can understand not wanting to go through the process in the US.

    Having kids has been lovely. But if it had not happened for me, I think I would have been okay with it. I have plenty of friends who never did it (now we are all 50-somethings, so it is too late), and they seem fine with their choices, too.

    At the end of the day you need to do what works for you. With family planning, parenting, work, marriage . . . all of it.

  3. I was about 75% sure I wanted to have kids until I started reading about how pregnant women are treated in hospitals. It quickly went down to 40%, and that was when I thought we might move to France (better there, I hear).

    The more I learn about myself and become more confident, and start doing things I'm proud of, the less I want to put that on hold to raise children. I got married because I love J and now I get to spend all my time with him. Anything that would endanger that relationship sounds like a bum deal.

    @Eileen I guess it's a "better to be safe than sorry" model of medicine", like a gyno telling you to take folic acid just in case.

    @Expatresse It means a lot to hear that, especially from someone who decided to have children.


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