I’m just going to put it out there: I genuinely do not care what your reason is for not wanting children. Okay, so the title is a little click-baity. What can I say? I am a hack. But really, I mean it.
I’ve found in recent years, especially since having my son, if the plan for future kids comes up in conversation, sometimes childless adults feel like they need a speech prepared. I’ve heard a number of well-polished monologues about lifestyle, climate, upbringing, you name it. I never want to be dismissive of someone’s feelings, but usually, I get the impression that these well-intentioned soliloquies are less to protect the speech-giver’s feelings, and more about the feelings of those around them.
And I don’t blame them.
They’ve most likely spent years building up their iron-clad defense of not wanting children in direct response to loved ones, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances repeatedly telling them all the reasons why they should change their mind. Can you imagine expressing a desire to not do something only to be told “Yes you do.” over and over again? It’s enough to drive a person bonkers.
If I were to tell someone “I don’t like asparagus,” and they responded by telling me that no I’m wrong actually, not only do I love asparagus but I also want to devote the rest of my life to farming my own asparagus, be willing to die for asparagus, give every ounce of mental, physical, emotional energy I ever have to the asparagus, abandon everything else I care about to devote myself to these asparagus (asparaguses? asparagi?) I’ll be eating every meal until the day I die… I’d think that person was in need of some serious help and I’d probably want asparagus even less than I did before.
Why do we insist that just because we want something, everyone else should want it too?
All that to say: trust me. I will never ask why you don’t have kids or whether or not you want them. If it does come up, you can just say you don’t want them and leave it at that. My response will be “Right on.” or “That’s great.” or “Should we get another round of cheese fries for the table?” You know better than anyone in the world what you do or do not want and you should NOT be required to give anyone a reason. As Oprah (I think) says, “‘No.’ is a complete sentence.”