Choosing Not To Have Kids
They Don't Want Children
I’m a 32 male and my girlfriend is 30 and we have been together 2 years. We just bought a house together that was dirt cheap and we’re fixing it up together. We really enjoy ourselves. We go out a lot and travel a lot and we are into golfing together and some other sports and hobbies. We each have decent jobs. Neither of us is loaded but we’re doing good.
I never thought I would want to marry but her and I have such a great time together she’s my best friend and I just can’t imagine spending my life without her. This is what they mean when they say the love of your life. So I proposed a few weeks ago and she accepted and we’ve been very happy planning a beach party summer wedding for this year.
The problem is, both of our families are against this and here’s why. Neither of us wants children. I have never wanted children. She said she wasn’t sure about kids until all her friends had their kids and she decided it wasn’t for her. We are very sure about our feelings on this.
Her mom really wants grandkids and says my girlfriend is just agreeing to this because of my influence which is not true. My mom also really wants grandkids and she thinks my girlfriend is the reason I don’t want kids. That is ridiculous because I have said all my life I would never have kids. It’s like each family is blaming the other person for us not planning on kids.
I read your article about Kids Change Everything - It explains many of the reasons why we made the decision we did. What should we do to get our families to understand and be happy for our wedding?
It's Your Choice
You're getting married! Congratulations! There is so much to celebrate, it's really a shame that you have to deal with people so assuming.
My husband and I are also Childless by choice, and I can personally completely relate to the upset it caused in my in-laws' home.
It is important to point out the words and phrases you are choosing in your note. You and your girlfriend are happy, having good lives, having fun. You enjoy spending time together. You share activities and passions. You can’t imagine your life without her. You called her the love of your life. These are all beautiful feelings that really should demonstrate how well your personal choices have worked out for both of you.
I really hope that it is as clear to you as it is to me that your families are wrong. They are being rude, selfish and disrespectful.
People That Judge
My husband is from a very judgmental family. They are “christians” who spend a great deal of their time talking about others and all the things others are doing wrong. They judge for all kinds of reasons, our not having children is only one thing on a long list.
My husband was on a flight home from a trip when he found himself seated next to a young woman. She was only 20 years old. In exchanging pleasantries and passing conversation, he said that he was married. She asked if he had children and he said no. She asked when he was having children, and he said he wasn’t. She asked about adoption and invitro, and he answered that we were not unable, we were unwilling. She kept rewording her question as she seemed to refuse to comprehend that he and I did not want kids.
When it finally sank in, she told him that he was terrible, and then refused to speak to him for the rest of the flight.
At a party at one of my husband’s business associate’s homes a few years ago, a drunk person actually yelled at us, saying “The only reason we are here on Earth is to procreate.”
I could list for you many similar examples of personal attacks we've endured from people for our personal choice: something that has nothing to do with them in any way.
The Mind of a Basher
Trying to explain personal freedoms and choices to anyone so closed minded and judging is hard. Just like it’s hard to break through to gay bashers.
For some-odd reason people can be very thoughtless and brainwashed on this subject. They don’t think about all the facts and realities of having children. They don’t think at all. They just have children as if it was as mandatory in life as breathing and shitting.
The oddest thing about that is the number of people who’ve had children and are now unhappy. My husband and I know many couples with children that have even said to us that they didn’t think their choices through and now regret them. Of all the couples with kids we know, I can only think of a small handful that are happy and don’t regret the choice.
You Celebrate the Life Choices of The People You Care About
If your parents or your soon to be in-law’s want grandchildren for themselves so badly, then they should foster or volunteer. They shouldn’t expect you to spend your lifetime committed to such a huge endeavor just to give them what they want.
But as much as I am sure they are being honest in saying they want grandchildren, I think what they really want is for you two to breed. In general, they want you two to have a traditional life that they approve of.
It’s very odd to me that people want so badly to make their own life choices and want everyone to celebrate those choices, yet they don’t want to let other people make their own life choices and are quick to judge. Your friends and family with children made that choice and most likely told you with glee when they were having children, fully expecting you to be happy for them.
It would have been inappropriate for you to have responded by saying, “That’s horrible. I’m so sorry. Let’s find you information on alternatives. You don’t have to have it. You don’t have to keep it if you do have it. There’s really something wrong with you for even thinking about this. ”
That is exactly the reaction they are giving to you for your choice. It would be inappropriate for you to judge them and push them into thinking like you do. And you deserve the same courtesy.
It is really a very bad reflection on both your families for being so rude and judging to you.
Additionally, the fact that they are blaming another person for your life choice shows that A – your family doesn’t know you very well and B – your family thinks you have no backbone or ability to think for yourself. How very deeply insulting and hurtful that is.
The Bottom Line
Jimmy, the truth is I don’t know how you can get your families to treat you with respect and to celebrate your lives and your decisions. Getting people not to judge others has been an age old problem.
The most important advice I can give you is to not let these people affect you and your bride. Enjoy your new house and working on it. Enjoy golfing, hobbies, and travel. Enjoy this person that you can’t imagine your life without, this person you called your best friend. You have all the makings of a very solid beautiful future. The people who can’t see that and celebrate your life choices with you aren’t worth your concern.
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