To Those Who Keep Asking Me When I’m Going to Have Kids

children, parenthood, kids, life, lessons

Ah, children. Precious little creatures who are entrusted with the responsibility of continuing the human race the minute they are born. Being a parent is a wonderful thing, and I applaud you if you are a parent or want to be one. It’s probably the most emotionally and physically demanding full-time job on the planet, where failure comes with tough consequences for both you and your children. I have absolutely nothing against being a parent.

What I do have something against, is the expectation that you should want children. This expectation tends to be voiced as soon as you become an adult, and they usually come from others – society, family, literally anyone else. I am also fully aware that men are just as subject to it as women are, it is by no means a gender-exclusive thing.

Honestly, it already bugs me that I get asked WHEN I’m going to have kids much more than I get asked WHETHER I even want kids in the first place. If I had the opportunity to gather you in a room; all these people who have asked me about having children, told me I should have children, or berated me for not wanting children – I’d read this post aloud to you.

You’re selfish for not wanting children.

Yes, I might be selfish for wanting to do different things with my life. Some people might dream of raising a family and they may see that as the ultimate achievement. FOR THEM. I dream of a career that excites me, rewards me and allows me to push myself to new heights. I dream of one day being able to work from home doing something creative in a big house that overlooks a beautiful lake, cuddling my army of fluffy animals.

My dreams just don’t happen to include having children. Wouldn’t it be more selfish of me to have children for the sake of it knowing full well that my desire to do other things in life would prevent me from being the parent the child deserves? Wouldn’t it be selfish of me to have them just because I can, knowing that there are people who desperately want to have a child and would make wonderful parents, but can’t? Besides, who am I being selfish towards? Who exactly am I depriving of my offspring? Sorry if I didn’t realise I owed it to someone to have kids.

Why don’t you want kids?

Many reasons. Maybe I haven’t had that maternal instinct hit me yet. I’m anxious and awkward around kids. I have a tendency to only like them when they’re perfectly well mannered, and let’s face it – they will probably only be perfectly well mannered about 1% of the time. Top of the list though – I’m scared I will be a bad parent. I don’t have a natural flair with kids, I dread the idea of being responsible for a tiny human’s life, and to be completely honest – I don’t think I’m cut out for it. I don’t think I could sacrifice all of myself and give everything for the sake of my child without thinking twice – and that’s what makes a good parent. I don’t want to bring someone into the world only to give them suffering and not be able to give them the best.

But everyone else wants kids!

Should I jump out of a plane without a parachute because everyone else is doing it? No. If anything, it’s more insulting that apparently I can’t make decisions for myself on my own terms.

Is it because your partner doesn’t want kids?

No, it’s because I don’t want kids. This both accuses my partner of being controlling and manipulative, as well as implies that I can’t make decisions for myself and stand by them. Well done, you killed two birds with one ignorant stone.

You will change one day!

True, maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Story time, here we go.

One day at school, we were all asked to draw a life map in cartoon form – what we wanted to achieve and where we wanted to be at different stages of our lives etc. After presenting, the teacher then asked us to stand up if we wanted to have children when we were older. Everyone stood up except me.

I believe I was 12 at the time. I’m rapidly approaching 23 now and I would still stay seated if I were in that classroom again. But hey, maybe I’ll change my mind in the time I have left before menopause. Who knows?

Must be a thing with this generation.

You’re probably right. This generation does have a habit of questioning traditional views and exploring different options. If that makes us a pain, I’m sorry. But questioning and exploring other alternatives is exactly what leads to growth as a society.

You should have kids so that you’ll have someone to hold your hand on your deathbed.

Personally, I think this would be selfish of me and nowhere near a good enough reason to have children. I would be having children purely for my own sake – my fear of loneliness, my fear that I won’t be looked after when I am most vulnerable, you name it. It’s almost like taking out an emotional insurance policy that your child hasn’t signed up to. I don’t want my relationship with my child to be fear-based where I know I’m going to want something from them when my time comes.

And then there is infertility.

Infertility is a crushing blow to those who want children with every fibre of their being. It’s not exactly something women parade around proudly either, so being asked about children when they know very well that their body simply won’t allow them the privilege of natural conception – I can’t imagine the emotions that can be triggered from just one insensitive question. My heart goes out to you. I’m not medically infertile as far as I am aware, but the next time you ask someone when they’re going to have kids, just bear in mind that they may not be as fortunate.

Do you get asked the big “when are you going to have children” question too? I’d love to hear your experiences and where you stand on the matter – whether you want children of your own someday or you don’t think parenthood is for you. Put it in the comments below! You go girl.

– J

Pin it:

pinterest image, children, parenthood, adulthood, pressure, society

Disclaimer: All images used in this post have been obtained from Pixabay under a Creative Commons License and edited on Canva by J, exclusively for thenellybean.com.

 

 

14 Comments on “To Those Who Keep Asking Me When I’m Going to Have Kids”

  1. Your view is brilliant! I got pregnant as a teenager, and I never wanted a child again. Being a mom was the hardest job in the world, and I don’t expect women nor ask if they will have a child. Also, I don’t expect nor burden my son with taking care of me when I am elderly talk. I applaud you for taking a stand. There’s enough people in this world. xx

  2. I relate to all of this. I grew up in a Christian family and it’s taboo to not have children. My family tells me I’m selfish, when really it’s my parents/inlaws who are being selfish by imposing their want of grandchildren on me. We left the church because I was told I’m a bad Christian for not “going forth and multiplying”.

    Our generation is different, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Before women had rights our roles were basically to raise a family, so I think there’s this ingrained expectation even when things have changed.

    It’s no one’s business why you do or don’t want children, I wish people wouldn’t ask such nosy questions!

  3. I spent all of my childhood and a fair chunk of adult life not wanting kids. I was fairly certain I would be a dreadful mother and I would be better off not inflicting that on a child. When I got married, we talked and the closest I got was we decided not (at that time) to absolutely rule it out. Two weeks later I was pregnant.

    The universe is a funny old thing.

  4. I do not for the life of me understand why people try to force everyone into one box and think it’s okay to push that expectation on everyone else. Sure, motherhood is great for some people but you don’t HAVE TO be a mother to have a happy, fulfilling life. That being said, your mind may change a million times and that’s okay too! Let’s start respecting one another’s right to choose what’s right in our own lives

  5. Ugh. I can totally relate. My boyfriend is the only child out of 7 to be in a serious, long-term relationship and all his siblings keep asking us when we are going to have children. First off, don’t ask me that it’s rude. Secondly, why do they assume we are going to have children?

    I cannot stand when people ask this question and then throw rude digs and comments like you mentioned. People need to back off and leave others alone. Whether we have children and when we have children is entirely up to us – no one else.

    Good post! I clearly went on a rant there lol

    Casey | https://mccourtskee.com

  6. Amazing post. I don’t think anyone is selfish for not wanting kids! I do want them eventually. But I’m already 27 and I’m also quite anxious around kids – so not sure whether it’s in my future or not yet! But whether any of us have kids of not is literally nobody else’s business and nobody has the right to ask x

  7. I feel strongly about this one so will try not to write an essay!

    When my cousins were playing with dolls, I was building lego classrooms and writing lesson plans for them or else I was outside with the dog, or reading my book.

    When we were talking about childbirth in biology, I knew I didn’t want to have children.In fact, I always knew.

    When it looked like it might get serious with my partner – now fiancé – on our first date, we had the “do you want kids?” discussion, because I knew I definitely didn’t, and I didn’t want to get emotionally involved with someone who might not feel the same way as me.

    I’m an all or nothing kind of girl, and I don’t want to commit to something I’m not committed to doing with all of my heart. I will hold a baby if my friends have one, but I didn’t relate that well to children when I was one, and things didn’t change when I became an adult. It’s a big commitment, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being tru to yourself and saying it’s not something you want.

    We don’t all have that burning desire to be mums, and in the 21st century, that should be ok.

    Ok, we aren’t burned as witches any more, which I suppose is some degree of progress, but I look forward to a society where it’s seen as a choice,not an expectation!

    Thanks for posting this and you are definitely not alone XX

    1. Funny you should say that you didn’t relate to children well when you were a child, I remember feeling the exact same way! Just thought I must have been a weird one and ended up not having many friends, haha. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Kirsty, essays welcome anytime xx

Comments and stories welcome!