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.