I’m now firmly in my mid thirties and my husband is approaching his mid forties. I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve had the ‘children conversation’ with family, friends and complete strangers who thought it was appropriate to ask personal questions…
My husband and I are not paternal and have never wanted children of our own. In my mid thirties, I suppose I’m almost past it now- or at least would be considered ‘an older mum’. Although, having said that, it has become more common for women to look at starting a family in their thirties and forties in more recent years. Still not for me. I’m far too selfish to be a mother. I am, and that’s OK, I don’t mind saying it. I love my husband to bits, we both feel like we don’t get to spend enough time together as it is- there isn’t enough hours in the day. We both work full time to make ends meet and by the time I get home, I just want to see him. I could not be bothered with wiping backsides, cleaning sick, dealing with tantrums, making sure a child was fed and watered and cleaned and put to bed… No. I’m not in a position where I’m willing to compromise what time we do have together and substitute it for that.
I like the lifestyle my husband and I have. I like having a nice tidy house, I like it just being us two and being able to please ourselves whenever we want, I like going on nice holidays, if we want cake for tea- we have it! I don’t need to be worrying about making a healthy, balanced meal for a growing child. I like the peace and quiet and I like having to consider just each other.
Also, realistically, the expense when having a child! We couldn’t afford children even if we did (which we don’t) want children. Food, clothes, nappies, toys……as they get older the school trips, parties, clubs and groups they want to attend. Then sponging money as a teenager. You have to have commitment to pay for this human for at least 18 years, sometimes longer. Then what if they never leave home? No way.
I get that when a child is created, parental love is a bond beyond belief, and in that instant you would sacrifice your world for that tiny person. As it quite rightly should be. Your children should be your number one priority once you start a family. But if you have the chance to make a considered decision and decide whether you actually even want to try and start a family or not, you need to take it, and think long and hard. I genuinely do believe it’s like a calling for some people, there are people out there who just know that they want to be parents. Just as my husband and I know we do not.
We have two beautiful nieces and a handsome little chappy of a nephew who we adore…. We wouldn’t be without them. But we are more than happy just being an aunty and uncle. I think we’re pretty good at it too. ♥
This has been a decision my husband and I have discussed and agreed upon. A conversation between the two people it actually affects. I really resent feeling as though I have to justify myself to people over it. People can look at me as though as I’ve three heads when I say I don’t have children and have no desire to ever have any either, ‘Do you have any children? No? Why? Do you never want any? Well why?’
What the hell has it got to do with you!? Why is it so bad that I don’t want children? -it doesn’t make me a bad person, I’m just realistic. More often than not, this conversation is one I have with complete strangers. They strike up a conversation, usually about how I’m dressed, and then before I know it they are asking how old I am, if I’m married and then the children conversation. Do people not realise how incredibly personal and sensitive these questions can be- never mind the fact it’s bugger all to do with anyone else. Now, I’m happy to talk to anyone and pretty much everyone who comes up to me for a chat. I don’t mind that at all, but there needs to be boundaries. People need to accept a bit of social responsibility before they open their mouths.
I am quite open and honest and just say we don’t want them, we’re too selfish with our time with each other. We are not willing to give it up. Some people, which really annoys me, give me a knowing smile and patronisingly say, ‘You’ll change your mind. You will want kids one day. I’ve met girls before/ my daughter/ my niece/ who ever, said she didn’t want kids and now she has three….’ Well whoopdy doo for her. I know my own mind and I won’t be having children in this lifetime.
Why is the preconception of our purpose in life ‘is to have children’, still so widely accepted as what we should all be aiming for? Why is it considered alien for people not to want to have children? I don’t gauge my purpose or my success in life on whether I procreate or not. It has no bearing on my life whatsoever. But equally, I do not dismiss other people’s desire to become parents to feel fulfilled. I just view things in a different manner and want different things out of my journey in life. I also expect my decision to be respected and not questioned or dismissed as though, ‘I will come to my senses in a few years…’
I am painfully aware of friends and family of mine who have desperately wanted children and so perhaps that is why I am so touchy about the topic. Men and women who were parents, they were ready, they wanted it more than anything, and yet it just wasn’t happening for them. When I think of the questions that have directed to myself, it makes me want to crawl up my own backside thinking of them ever being asked such things in such a blunt, insensitive and direct manner.
Comments have been passed in group conversations about my male friends, a laugh and a joke about them ‘firing blanks’ if they and their partners haven’t started a family within a certain time-frame. Those comments can be so hurtful when you want a family more than anything and it just isn’t happening. It isn’t witty, it isn’t a laugh and it isn’t funny.
I’ve had family and friends who have lost babies during pregnancy, who haven’t been able to conceive at all, who have had to go for all sorts of embarrassing, scary, intrusive procedures in the bid to get more information in the hope that they may, one day, have children. Some of these friends were lucky and their dreams became a reality. Their family grew, much to everyone’s delight. Some, who my heart truly goes out to, were not so lucky.
By all means, chat to people, show an interest in other people’s life, be friendly… but think! Especially if it’s someone you don’t know particularly well. Don’t pry or push too much and show respect when your questions are answered honestly, don’t assume everyone has the same mindset on life as yourself. Be social, yet accept a bit of responsibility about what comes out of your mouth.
With much love,
Miss Kimmy Cupcake xx