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Why we don't have kids (since I keep getting asked)

My husband and I are so freaking happy! There are a few good reasons: we’re healthy, we enjoy our work, we have ample money, our social circle is growing. But our biggest reason (we're pretty sure) is that we don’t have kids.

Gerald has shared that there’s often Monday morning banter about what people got up to on the weekend. There are tales of ferrying kids from karate to birthday parties to ballet. Family obligations, etc. When they ask Gerald, he describes our peaceful weekends, something like cycling, hiking, lounging on our terrace with books, people look envious and say, “that sounds really nice.”

A friend asked me cautiously why we don’t have them, perhaps concerned that I’d have an emotional response.

My answer: I don’t want them.

But people want more than that. It’s not a satisfying answer. They’re confused. They ask if it has to do with climate change? Or population growth? Or how much they cost?

My Answer: No. To me it’s as if someone asked me if I’d like a vest. No, I’m not interested. Zero feelings about having a vest. It’s the same about kids.

Unconsciously, I assumed that I would have them. That was the story about being an adult that I always saw: two people fall in love, get a house, have some kids and live happily ever after. I thought about it consciously when I was 21 and dating someone who wanted a big family. He was thinking five kids would be great. What did I think about that? I felt bloody overwhelmed. For the first time I imagined myself as a mother and it felt uncomfortable. I told my boyfriend that I might be ok with the idea of one. He said, “You can’t have just one! They need someone to play with. We’d have to have at least two.” I couldn’t conceive of that plan.

That conversation got me thinking, what do I want?

My list: travel, new experiences, stimulating conversations, romance, a career that I flourish in, a beautiful colourful home. Kids? Not part of the vision.

I started to express my ‘no kids for me’ thoughts and it was always met with, “Oh, you’ll change your mind.” And more often than not, they knew someone who’d felt just like me until they were about 30, then that person changed their mind, had a kid and are very happy now. This response used to anger me. As if they knew me better than I knew myself! But as I neared 30 my anger turned to curiosity. Are they right? Will I change? I’ve heard that with cells dying and changing we’re basically a new human every seven years. Maybe everything I know about myself is going to shift. I allowed myself to be open to any nudges in that direction.

I really enjoy kids… in small doses, and I’ve still never felt the pull to have one. The pull to artwork and breathtaking scenery is very strong, but not to being a mom. Every few months Gerald and I would check in with each other about it, then eventually he got snipped.

Interestingly, a close friend thought that the vasectomy seemed extreme and asked, “Surely if you accidentally got pregnant you’d keep it, right?”

My answer: No. We don't want children. I wouldn’t keep it. That’s why we’re getting the vasectomy, to not accidentally get what we don’t want.

My friend was pretty surprised, maybe even disappointed with my answer.

I guess she figured that we’re married, we have money, why would we abort? But she’s in a “whatever happens, happens” place about kids. I guess it’s not surprising that she wouldn’t understand. I don’t understand how people feel when they do want them. It really feels interesting for me to not understand their emotions. I can’t relate to the feeling at all. I’m not accustomed to being in the dark about how people feel. I wonder sometimes if my wiring is a bit off. Or, more than likely, everything’s exactly as it’s meant to be.

My friends have varying thoughts on procreating (which makes sense, it’s a huge life altering commitment). Different camps:

~ get in my belly yesterday!

~ if it happens, it happens, we’ll go with the flow

~ feeling immense pressure to give their family a baby

I have friends who didn’t want to be pregnant, so they adopted. I have friends who care a lot about having their own biological children. I find it all totally fascinating.

Many come to me for my thoughts on the matter. I can’t imagine why. I feel like I’m the friend you’d come to when you’ve decided the answer is no and you need some validation.

Thank goodness for the parents out there! You amazing self-less warriors. I see you, I appreciate you, I don’t necessarily understand you, but I also think that’s kind of neat.

Now I’m going to throw my shoes on and head out to wherever my heart leads me…without packing snacks, or raising my voice, or negotiating even once. Cheers!

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