Why oh why do people assume that a person who has chosen not to have kids will change their mind? I think this assumption irritates me almost as much as the assumption that we are selfish.
The other day, I overheard some women at work talking about their children. These women are all in the 50s and 60s, so their children are adults. One of the women was talking about her daughter and mentioned that she doesn't want to have kids. To her credit, she didn't say it with any disdain or regret. She seemed perfectly okay with it - almost proud even, but immediately, without skipping a beat, the other women started trying to console her by telling her it's likely her daughter will change her mind. They asked how old the daughter is and when the woman replied, "36", they were even more certain that she will change her mind as there is "still time".
I came THIS.CLOSE to saying, "Hey, ladies - I too have chosen not to have kids and I am 47 and have not changed my mind yet. It was the best decision my husband and I ever made!" but as I opened my mouth to utter the words, a co-worker approached me and pulled me into another conversation.
MESSAGES TO THE MEDDLING PUBLIC:
Don't assume that because a person has chosen an unconventional life path, that they are confused and will eventually see the light. We see the light perfectly, and it's bright and clear. It's just not the light you want us to see.
How would YOU feel if your decision to have children was invalidated and you were constantly told you would change your mind? I bet you'd find that pretty irritating and frankly, insulting.
Don't assume that a person who hasn't had kids couldn't possibly be happy or fulfilled. The fact is, we are living exactly the life we want. By design it is a life that offers a great deal of flexibility, opportunity, creativity and fulfillment. And here's the best part - if at some point we decide we are not happy with our life, we can change it around in a heartbeat and do something else. Can you parents say the same?
Love this! Hearing "you'll change your mind" and "you still have time" are so insulting. Like I don't know myself enough to make that decision.
Can we start telling folks with kids that they can still change their mind and put them up for adoption?
Any snappy comeback you make will just be interpreted as defensiveness and therefore regret about being childfree. The pronatalists will think to themselves, "she's obviously bitter about her choice. Those childless women are so sensitive about everything. A shame, really."
I stand by my earlier suggestion:
If they say you'll change your mind, ask them to wager money on it.
This blog is such a godsend :-)
I constantly get to hear, "You're still young, you'll change your mind!" or, "Wait until you find the right person - you'll want to have a child then!" etc.
Even worse, because I have got PCOS, my mother is speculating that this hormonal imbalance might be to blame for my not wanting children. To give her credit, she has never tried to dissuade me from my childfree choice; but to blame a common hormonal imbalance IS annoying and hurtful. I have known since the age of 16 or 17 that I don't want children. I am now in my thirties. I have a nephew, and much as I adore him, he has truly confirmed my childfree decision, especially when I see how flattened out his mother looks. In fact, the best way to shut people up when they fire off the "Have you got children" question is for me to reply with a glowing smile: "Yes - I've got a nephew." Works like a charm :-)
I'm ready to not hear this comment anymore and I know I still have at least another 20 years with it. How is it I don't know my mind well enough to decide to not have children, but when people younger than me decided to keep a baby that's ok? I don't get it.
I am so TIRED of hearing "you'll change your mind". That's a favorite line of my GYN dr. She is certain that I'll change my mind and, in her words, I have "a good 5-10 years of fertility left". I could have punched her. In my 32 years on this earth, I have never once said that I even MIGHT want to have kids. Why would I change my mind in 5-10 years? And why the heck would I want to start having children at that age anyway?!
This is so true, I am 27 and a newlywed, though my husband and I have been together for almost 7 years. We don't want kids, we don't dislike them we just don't want any. I found you blog about a week before our wedding in November it has been great, being a military wife everyone things that I will change my mind. I frequently hear " oh don't worry you'll change your mind" ummm not worried thanks. I am so glad you made this blog .
To me, being childfree has never even been something I questioned. Since I was a child I've been saying that I didnt want kids. To this day I get degrading remarks like "you'll want them" or "youll change your mind." no. I know myself well enough to know that I'll never want a fucking mini me, or a mini anyone, for that matter!
Thank you for this blog to know i am not alone in this world!
The condescension aimed at those who say they don't want kids really is annoying. What, women who choose to have kids (and keep in mind 14-year-olds are doing this) are somehow to be automatically trusted to know what they're doing? Okie dokey.
Thank you for writing about this annoyance! I have spent quite a bit of time in shock when people let the words, "you'll change your mind", or "you still have time," even after being crystal clear with people about my choice to not have children.
As a person in their mid 20s, who is currently confused about whether they want kid, I wanted to ask about this line:
"And here's the best part - if at some point we decide we are not happy with our life, we can change it around in a heartbeat and do something else. Can you parents say the same?"
How can a 50 year old childfree person change it around in a heartbeat? Far too old to have kids of your own!
A person who has children and decides they made a mistake can't go back and undo it. They are ALWAYS a parent, for the rest of their lives.
As to your question about a 50 year old person who suddenly decides they want kids, first it would not be likely that someone would make it to age 50 and then SUDDENLY decide they want kids after not wanting them for 50 years. But let's say that happens. There's something called adoption, or foster parenting. There are plenty of homeless children would love to have a nice parent, no matter what his/her age.
As a woman in my mid-20's, I am glad that I am young enough that if I say I don't have kids, it's not a shock. At this age it's not expected by everyone that I would have a child. But it is so frustrating to hear "You'll change your mind!" if I am open with someone about my childfree stance. It's as if the person thinks they know me better than I know myself and that they are dismissing my opinion.
It would be like someone telling me they want to have three kids someday and me to say, "You'll change your mind!" Or someone saying they hope to get a Ph.D and me replying, "You'll change your mind!" In those situations, it sounds so silly. Why is it okay for parents to tell the childfree we'll change our minds?
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