Having children is a very beautiful thing, but it’s also a very personal thing. As in, it’s a personal choice to have children. It’s a funny thing in military and civilian circles alike because those of us without children are often being pushed to have them by those with children in tow.
Let me be clear, I think children are ADORABLE! I think their laughs are hilarious, their little chubby cheeks are pinchable and their ability to view the world with pure joy is pretty amazing. I think all of these things because, at the end of the day, when that adorable, chubby cheeked, laughing ball of joy, gets angry, begins to cry, destroy my house or needs a diaper change, I get to hand them back to the person who spawned them.
I come from a family that is beyond huge. I am one of 19, yes that is correct 1-9, grandchildren and there are already has nine greatgrandkids. And that is just ONE side of my family. A small family gathering is when only 25 people can show up. I’ve had my fair share of diaper changing, baby cooing, soothing and cleaning. And I am not a monster who hates children. I love them. I love it when my friends get pregnant and have babies, and I love getting to watch them grow up. But I have never once, wanted children of my own. When I look at my future in my mind and see my husband and I, I never see kids. I see dogs, I see hardwood floors in my dream house, I see retiring, but not kids.
The tough thing is that, for reasons I have never understood, people who have children seem to insist that I simply don’t REALIZE that I want kids. I’m here to tell you that I’ve been saying I don’t want children since I was about 13 years old and I’m almost 30. It’s valid to want to tell a teenager that she will change her mind, but what about an adult? And is it so wrong that my husband and I know that that is not something we want in our life?
Especially in the military community, not wanting children is quite a taboo thing to admit to. Military life is very family centric and community centric, and what’s a community without children? It’s a very tough situation to be in when everyone in my life, including my mother, insists that I will change my mind. I’m not here to tell you that I won’t, but I am here to tell you that right now, not having kids is ok with my husband and me, and that means it should be ok with everyone in our life.
It’s actually very painful that people don’t seem to respect our decision. No one questions that I can have a job, that my husband can change careers, that we have three dogs or that we are adults who have a marriage and house and life. But people constantly question our PERSONAL decision to not have children. Imagine how offensive it would be if people constantly questioned your decision to have them. Some people are born to be parents. They feel it in their bones. I was born to take care of my husband. And trust me, it’s practically like having a child. Heck, with him and three dogs, I don’t a baby, I need a vacation.
So please consider the life choices you have made for yourself the next time you are about to tell a childless couple that they just don’t know what life is until they have kids. They know their life and they know what is right for them, and that should be good enough for you too.
We have very close Marine Corps friends of ours who have also chosen not to have children. They both love children, but for them…their life is meaningful and fulfilled without having some of their own, and I think that’s wonderful. They’ve gone on amazing adventures that many of us with children will likely not partake in. I love being a mother, but that is my choice. We each live our own lives, and with or without children, I just hope that everyone can find meaning and fulfillment in the lives they choose. Kudos to you for doing what you feel is right for you, regardless of the peanut gallery’s opinions!
You know, I feel like I have the same feelings bottled up inside, and this post absolutely said what has been weighing on my soul! Bravo!
My husband and I have chosen to not have children. I am happy with that decision. What I am not happy with is having to explain it or justify it to people who feel it is OK to interrogate us on that choice. I never question other people’s decision to HAVE children, so why do they feel compelled to question our decision to NOT have them. There have been many social situations where I have felt uncomfortable due to this questioning.
i like wat u said i have 2 kids and they wasnt planned and thats all i want and people look at me crazy when i say i dont wsnt anymore i have to have a life and when you have achild you seem to have to start over each time with your body and everything eles… people need to learn to understand and shutup im like im just 23 get over it
I forgot to mention in first post that my husband and I are godparents to 10 children. We are also the favorite Aunt and Uncle of six nieces and nephews. Friends of ours have asked us to be guardian of their children if anything happens to them. So obviously we love children. Just because you don’t them doesn’t mean you don’t love and appreciate them.
As former dual military your article spells it out in complete detail. Individuals would ask all the time when the husband and I would be having a miniature biped. My response is always we have dogs. Although, sometimes there are the the occasional repeat offenders that pester people about having a child(ren) that at one point I came up with the blunt response of, “have you ever considered some people cannot have children and do not like others pestering them about reproducing?” That always got them to stop talking. ;}
Hi there. Can we be friends? 🙂 30 years old, married to the Marine Corps, hubbies deploying, stationed in 29. Two dogs, one cat, no kids. Full time teacher to PLENTY of children (180 to be exact), so don’t need any of my own!