I am childfree and I am happy about it. It is both a choice I made and something nature decided for me. No hard feelings, no tears, not even a dummy thrown out of a pram! (Ok there were some tears, and I still can’t explain why – I blame hormones mostly)
But, people are nosy aren’t they? We like to know about other people’s business. And, it seems we especially like to know when their lifestyles are different to our own. Take being childfree for example. Despite the fact that one in five women born in 1969 do not have children, it appears that being childfree is somewhat of an anomaly to certain folk. A recent Facebook thread alerted me to the fact that some people find us childfree people to be peculiar and bizarre. As if procreation was compulsory, rather than a choice. The fact that we can doesn’t mean we should. I mean I can shoot a gun, I am perfectly capable of this and in some countries I even have the right to. Doesn’t mean I go around shooting left right and centre. (I’d get arrested but that’s not the point!)
What this also means is people seem to have sooooo many questions, opinions and even, eurrghghg, advice on the topic (because ya’know I hadn’t already heard all the advice in the world in the last several years!).
So here is my list of things to never say to anyone about being childfree:
- Why not?
Ok so you are a new person whom I have just met, therefore none of your business. But if I am being polite then a. because I don’t want them and b. because I can’t have them. I sometimes just stick with one of the options depending on how I think the conversation may go, often I use both to try and avoid the following:
- There is plenty of time.
What for exactly? To change my mind? (see number 4), to magically fill all the holes in my womb (this is particular to me, for other women it might be other issues). Plus, I’m 46, hopefully the long awaited menopause will hit soon!
- Have you thought about IVF?
Everyone gets offered IVF when they are being examined by Gynaecologists who don’t have a flying fig of a clue as to why your menstruation is murderous and therefore are not either getting pregnant or in my case keep having miscarriages. But, no I have never considered it because: I DO NOT WANT CHILDREN.
- My friend was infertile and then she got pregnant as if by magic, it can happen!
No it wasn’t magic it was her partner’s sperm – and no it can’t just happen nor do I want it to.
- You might change your mind.
No. No I wont. I decided at 16 I didn’t want children and now nature has sorted it for me so I can’t have children. Did you suddenly decide to like something you have always disliked because you changed your mind? (I don’t dislike children too much, I like my friends’ children – well most of them, I simply do not want them.)
- What if you fall pregnant by accident?
Well, then I’ll have to damn well deal with it wont I? But after six miscarriages and more holes in my womb than Swiss cheese, plus the coil – it’s highly unlikely and … none of your business!
- Why don’t you adopt/foster?
Because I do not want children.
- Perhaps you are not with the right man?
WHAT? Really? Did you just think that and let the words come out of your mouth? Seriously, go and have a talk with yourself.
- What about when you get old, who will look after you?
The Government. This is another comment that I find it hard to respond to without hitting the person who asks. Why, on earth, should any person have a child just so it looks after them in old age?
- Don’t you feel as though you are lacking something in life?
Um, not really. Unless lots of free-time, disposable income, ability to be spontaneous, amazing friends and family is lacking something…
- What if your partner wants children?
He doesn’t so… And if he did, he would be the wrong partner for me and I for him.
I think in summary I would say this. If you HAVE to ask someone if they have children and they say no, and you then feel obliged or somehow driven to ask why not, STOP THERE. It really is none of your business and even if you do have some kind of urge to share your views, opinions, advice or god forbid you want to judge them – imagine what it would be like if it were you, and change the subject.
Even if you are relatively good friends with this person, or are more than just an acquaintance, unless someone raises the topic with you and is keen for a discussion, there are plenty of other things to talk about – so choose them instead!
Life is full of choices, how boring it would be if we all made the same ones!
#childfree, #happylife, #behappy, #choice