Monday, July 4, 2011

Why Don’t You Guys Have A Baby?

Deb: Dear friends of ours are going through the never-ending onslaught of questions regarding their state of reproduction. “When are you two having a baby?” “Why don’t you have a baby?” “What is wrong with you, why aren’t you pregnant yet?” They are being bombarded with lectures, queries and opinions and it is getting under their skin. Who can blame them?

Last time I looked, my reproductive organs were none of anyone’s beeswax. Mind you I can tell you with some certainty that my reproductive system ceased to be interesting some 10 years ago.


What is this thing that people do? Do I have to state the obvious and say first off, that you do not know if a couple is infertile or is dealing with a serious health issue when you are shoving your way to a front seat at their ovaries. Shouldn’t this possibility be enough to silence the offending inquisitor?

Some years back I had the great misfortune to ask an old friend when she was due. I don’t think I need waste time telling you how that turned out. But I vowed that I would never ask that question again unless I saw the baby crowning. And I haven’t.

Or any of that type of question.  

Believe it or not, I still get asked at 56, “Why did you only have one baby?” “Gee, too bad he didn’t have a brother or a sister.” Yes it is. It is too bad. If only I had the balls to say, “But the one we have is such a sensitive, kind person that if we had given birth to another one, she might have grown up to be the kind of arsehole that would ask a question like that!”

But of course I don’t. I just say sheepishly, “Well, we tried and we couldn’t."  And then I proceed to hate myself.

Our darling friend and her husband just don’t know what to do anymore. They have run out of ideas. They have stated that they choose each other and the lifestyle they lead. They have said that they love being aunties and uncles but that their animals are their babies and they are content with that. They have said that the world is overpopulated. They have said that while they love kids they just don’t have the drive or need to have their own.

Now, wouldn’t you think this would be enough? I would. It’s not apparently.

It makes me mental that they even have to answer these kinds of questions. People’s plumbing and their choices around upgrading or expanding said plumbing is none of anyone’s affair. At all. In any way.
My friend was lamenting this today and the response I gave her was what inspired me to blog about it.

I said, “The next time you are berated and belittled for choosing not to have kids, say this:

‘I come from another galaxy where our gestation period is one hundred years. The women on our planet do not get big bellies. Instead, we become more and more gorgeous with each passing year. By the time I have this baby, you will be dead. So you better get off your ass and throw me a fucking baby shower. Better yet, just give cash.’ “

Barbara: Oh, Deb, BRILLIANT!! In fact, any variation thereof I would say would do. The bonus being that you get to exercise your imagination while also (hopefully) shutting up a yob or two.

This is indeed a tricky minefield. And I am shocked at how many people still wade into it. And yet they do. It always gets ugly—either because it speaks of a fundamental difficulty or a fundamental life choice. Neither are any of anybody’s business (unless of course offered up by the main parties involved. And, actually, these stories are often our most interesting ones. But I digress).

Okay, my variation on this—and my dear friends will attest to this––is that every time I pick up a baby, I become quite smitten, which leads everyone to assume I want one. We always get the, “Oh, Phil, you’re in trouble now, someone wants a baby!” But NOOOOO! No, really. I love them, love their divine sweetness, love their softness, their curiosity, their lovability. But. I. Do. Not. Want. One. No matter how much I cuddle and fawn, I am done. So keep asking if you must, but take this word for it: No.          


  1. Oh, Deb, what a brilliant come back! Style points for that one.

    My son is 12 1/2. He's an only child. This was not by choice, it's just the cards I got dealt. I would've been happy to have 1 or 2 more children. But, it could not be.

    To this day, on a FREQUENT basis, I get told either in these exact words or some variation thereof, "He needs some brothers and sisters!"

    OK, stop right there. That's a pretty astounding amount of rudeness. WhoTF is anyone to judge what my son does and does not need in that way? WhoTF has the right to judge the fullness of his life experience or whatever based on whether he has siblings or not? WTF?!?!?

    When I have the energy to do anything more than roll my eyes and walk away in disgust, my come back is usually: "I'm not married. I'm divorced."

    Here's the part that never fails to make me feel complete loathing. The reply is 99.9% of the time is a surprised blink followed by, "So?"

    My reply: "I don't have children out of wedlock."

    Followed by having the other person look at me like I'm a complete alien. Like that's the most unheard of position to take.

    Some persist with: "Well, why didn't you have more children when you were married?"

    WhoTF's business is that?!?!?

    OK, I am literally clinching my jaw and gritting my teeth as I type this. Deb, you have most definitely hit on a blood boiling topic for me!

    Oh, let's see, because it almost killed both of us bringing him into the world. That there were serious health complications in my third trimester, that I was in the hospital, that he was induced, that he was then in the NICU. That I still deal with life long health problems that resulted from that pregnancy, including problems with my heart. That I can't carry another baby without dying, and, oh by the way, if I haven't already miscarried, the baby would almost certainly come dangerous immature if not just die inside me when I die?!?!?


    When I can scrape up some tiny semblance of blowing off the situation, I might say some variation of, "He's almost a teenager. I'm 38. I'm too old to start over again with a baby. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Soon, he'll be college age, and we'll both get to start the next phase of our lives."

    I think I should probably choose the safer option of just exhaling a deep breath, shooting a look of extreme contempt, and walking away. Because, one of these days, I'm going to explode in one very unholy ball of verbal wrath, and I'm going to say exactly what I'm thinking and none of it is polite in the least. Shit and fuck would be the tamest components of that diatribe.


    I really, really, really hate this whole opinions about my reproduction stuff. Hate it. Hate, hate, hate it.

    Shit, Deb, this post really pushed my buttons.


  2. *stomps back in to growl, snarl, hiss, and spit some more*

    So there!

    *stomps back out*

  3. Rigel I knew this would hit a chord with some people. I'm glad you were able to hiss and stomp and get it all out. Well not all, but you know.

  4. My husband and I have 1 child, by choice, and we too get asked when we're going to have another. I've given various answers over the years that have shut people up. One is "hey, if you'd like to pay to support us having a child I'll happily have another baby." Another is "We have the perfect child so we stopped at perfection." Those two usually shut them up. Luckily being age 42 and our son age 13 the inquisitions have slowed down however I did get that question last month. Hello?? I'm 42, it would be considered a high risk pregnancy at this age. People are just stupid. Like Rigel said, this question pushes my buttons.

  5. What s nice come back really nice come back. First off I do have to say that I am an only child and love it . I actually would not want it any other way. And second for those who don't have children . I think it's your choice if you want to have kids or not. No one else's . If u can have kids there are always different things you can do like adopt . That is ways great. People need to mind there own business .

  6. Denise I love your response. We often say the same thing. We got one perfect one. And I have to say that our son loves being an only child and always said so. Lyndsie, clearly you feel the same way about your only child status. And you are so right. Nobody's business. And yes adoption is a wonderful option you are right. But I really think it's not for anybody to ask at all. I have seen people scrambling to defend why they don't want to adopt too.

  7. I hated being asked as well. I love comments like "who will take care of you when you get old"? Right. Having a kid doesn't guarantee you'll have an automatic caregiver. One lady told me that women like me made her mad because we were only being selfish. The gall of some people! Truth is that I was abused by a close family member and I'd heard that people who were, ended up being abusers as well. I never wanted to take that chance. People should definitely mind their own bidness. I finally got to the point where I started having my fun at their expense. I would pretend to bust out crying, or say I'd had cancer and couldn't then watch the embarrassed looks, and my very all time favorite "the court ordered me not to have children until I worked out my anger management issues" and then make my face twitch. Very effective AND fun for me. I tell ya, it's a lot less frustrating that way, as well as being much more satisfying than any old Snicker's candy bar, but not quite as much as kicking them in the kneecap. :)

    Karen A. Frazier

  8. Haha, Deb that is brilliant! I think I ought to write that down. As you can imagine, living in Greece, in a culture that thrives on family, I get made to feel guilty about it too :-/

  9. I'm 27, and I have said since I was about 12 that I didn't want kids. I still feel that way - and I get so irritated when people tell me that I'm being "selfish" because I don't want to have kids (yes, I've actually gotten that one.) I still live with my parents (and I'm not ashamed of it - with the state of the economy, I'd rather be here. It's cheaper.) and I still have the freedom to go out and do whatever I want to without worrying about having a baby in tow. I don't feel like I'm ready for that responsibility - I may be one day, but not now. I've never understood how not having a child when I don't want the responsibility and run the risk of resenting the child for taking away my freedom (so to speak) is selfish. To me it seems pretty smart.

    When I finally do feel ready for that responsibility, I still don't think I'd have one of my own. There are too many children right here in this country who need a home - I'd much rather adopt than to add to the overpopulation problem.

  10. Thank you for this post. We all have our own situations. Some are by coice, others by circumstance. We shouldn't have to bring up our past to validate our current situation.

    I don't get the kid question as much as the "when are you getting married" one. My voices are mine. As Deb put it, it's nobody's beeswax. And if they push the subject, I just use my favorite line from Auntie Mame: "Pity."

  11. Karen your comments trump mine baby! Wow. Well done. The things I only dream of saying. Jessica yeah a Greek girl without a baby? You must start sharpening up your comebacks kiddo! RockstarGirl, you seem to know exactly what you want and that is great. Bottom line, it's your choice and nobody else's. Yes Shawn PITY. Brilliant. How bad can a day be when it starts with an Auntie Mame quote!!!

  12. OK. I shall now attempt to type calmly. I'll likely fail, but I'm going to give it a go.

    *rubs forehead* Ow. This strangers prying about babies subject is giving me a headache.

    OK. *trying, trying not to rant*

    With the benefit of hindsight, I am glad my son is an only child. I used to be rather saddened by the fact that I couldn't have any more babies, but as time progressed, I realized that I am glad I didn't. My son needs every drop of undivided mothering I can provide. He's PDD-NOS on the autism spectrum, has a verbal processing disorder, is hyperkinetic, and has sensory filtration issues. He's also a freakin genius - really, really, really right end of the bell curve smart. A spooky level of intelligent. His mind, his intelligence, his imagination are staggering. He is, obviously, a bundle of extremes. But, let me tell you, my son is a very, Very, VERY high maintenance kid. He is my favorite person on Earth. He is a really, really fabulous little guy. I love beyond measure his quirky self. And, I, along with a core handful of very special people who carry my son in their hearts and have taken the time and invested the energy and effort into getting to know him well, believe he is really going to pull off something superspecial here on Earth, that he's got a purpose special and unique to his special and unique self --- that's he's meant to make a difference. But, I'm telling y'all, being his mother is completely exhausting. Nothing is ever easy with this kid. Ever. None of the "simplest things" are simple with this child. And, I am sooooo relieved that I don't have to divide my attention.

    If you believe in God (I do) or some other form of higher power(s) driving this bus, I think it's obvious that the universe worked it out pretty cleverly that my son ended up being an only child because that's really what needs to be, especially given that I've ended up having to do this single motherhood crap. I'm alone and overwhelmed as it is. I don't need anything more on my plate.

    Having said that, there's more to having kiddos that the whole uterus and placenta shebang. My son almost wasn't an only child. And, for a while, he wasn't an only child.

    1. I had 2 children for a while. My ex-husband and I took in my little cousin. I was his legal guardian for a stretch. For a while, I was the mother of 2 sons.

    2. Years ago back when I was engaged to my ex-husband, long before my son had blinked into existence here on Earth, I was good friends with my next door neighbor in my apartment complex and friendly but not as close with her sister-in-law. Her sister-in-law cheated on her long distance boyfriend-almost-fiance with a local man and ended up with an unwanted pregnancy. She scheduled an abortion. After discussing the situation at length with my then-fiance, we made the following offer, "If you will carry the baby to term, we'll adopt the baby. We'll be married by the time the baby arrives." She went ahead with the abortion because she didn't want the man she saw as her future to catch her having cheated. *sigh* Also, she couldn't accept the idea that we, a white couple, could properly raise her baby who would've been black. *double sigh*

  13. 3. Fast forward a few years. I'm still married. My son is around 4 years old. We already know that I'm not going to be able to carry another pregnancy. A very precious, beloved family friend was drugged and violently raped at a party. She became pregnant as a result. Having always been staunchly, outspokenly pro-life, she walked her talk and decided to carry the baby to term (while receiving extensive psychological and medical care). My ex-husband and I were one of the couples on the list of those who offered to adopt the baby.

    4. In the years since the end of my marriage, I was at one time very briefly engaged to remarry. The man I was involved with had a toddler age daughter. I was more than willing (quite joyful at the prospect!) to become her stepmom. I didn't think that was unreasonable because there'd be another adult helping with being my son's support system.

    What about now? Would I welcome stepchildren? Yes. Joyfully. I have an infinite amount of love. But, I have a few million (billion) reasons to believe that I'll never get to be married again so it's a moot point. I will raise my son. Then, I will be alone and have adventures by myself.

    My ex-husband has remarried. My son hopes his father's wife will have a baby so he can have a sibling at that house. Hearing my son say that brings me a great deal of private pain. I feel like I'm crumpling up and collapsing inside when he says that. But, I will never ever let him know.


    Expressing opinions, judging, asking about a person's babies or lack there of is more complicated than just nether regions squirting out spawn. When a fool spouts off what she thinks is obvious or asks questions to which she has no right, she has no idea the complexities of the situation. And, she obviously doesn't care if she's causing pain or not. I think of my story. I think of a local couple I know who are desperate to be parents but have been through 6 miscarriages. I think of my best friend from high school who was married for 8 years and had already been through one miscarriage before she had her daughter, and she spent most of that pregnancy in the hospital gravely ill with her kidneys failing and her diabetes raging out of control. When people nag her about her daughter having siblings, they have no idea how she suffered to get to have her little girl and how she could never carry another baby. Add on the pain that she was her baby cousin's foster mother for several months and moved to adopt that baby but was denied when her younger (drug addict) cousin took custody of her daughter back. I think of couples who would love to adopt but can't scrape together the many thousands of dollars it takes. I think of a couple I know whose daughter died. Think of what it does to them when folks spout off comments about how they should have kids.

    *sigh* In my first comment on this post, I was losing my temper. Very loud and angry.

    Now, I'm just tired and sad thinking about it. Such thoughtlessness, nosiness, oafishness, rudeness, and just plain stupidity out of so many people's mouths causing so much pain. Pisses me off and breaks my heart.

    I gotta stop thinking about this stuff for a while. This subject makes me feel like my insides are one, big bruise. *wanders off to find an icy cup of Diet Coke, sort skeins of yarn, and find solace in the rhythm of the crochet hook and creating something*

    Oh yeah, and before I forget, Happy 4th of July to the American contingent.

  14. Rigel, passion is a good thing. Your comments present the perfect example as to why this is an issue with women and men and how it can hurt. As they say "you don't know someone unless you are a fly on their bedroom wall". People should just keep quiet on these sensitive issues. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully your anger got it out of your system.

  15. "I'll forgive you for asking that question, if you will forgive me for not answering it."

  16. Oh yes, it would have been nice to have more children, but I'm 47, had my son at 40 and have a condition that makes getting pregnant very difficult.

    We love our son and consider ourselves very lucky that we were able to have him.
    I was heading for menopause, or so I thought, but no, I was having a baby!
    My pregnancy was complicated and we were told to consider a termination because of a congenital condition and my age.
    We decided against termination and I'm not sure the doctors approved, but we wanted that baby so much and this was our only chance.

    I'm so glad we took that chance..

  17. We've been on both ends of the stupid comments. After several years of infertility,(just relax!)(it's all god's plan)(if my husband just looks at me I get...) we did IVF and had triplets.
    Talk about people making unbelievable comments! (are they natural?)(which one is the bad one?)(I would kill myself if I were you) I finally decided that the way to look at it is this; people are compelled to try and connect with each other and sometimes for lack of any real thought they let things pop out just to have something to say.

  18. Patti I have never heard a more perfect response. It is going to be my go to for all of the horrible questions I get asked. Thanks so much. Helle I am so glad you had a happy ending after all that worry. Anne my mind boggles at this. First off-good for you guys and your three treasures. And I have to say that I agree with you that people sometimes blurt without thinking just to try and connect. Funerals are a good example of that.

  19. "People should just keep quiet."
    I think that's right. People say a lot of stupid and hurtful things — without meaning to. It really is nobody's business, of course, but everyone has an opinion, and don't we all just love to offer our opinions to everyone else as if they matter at all! And now it's my turn.

    I admit feeling sorry for those who convince themselves not to have a child because they believe they are "too selfish." Yes, you (generic "you," not aimed at anyone who has commented here) ARE selfish before you have a child, maybe, but the minute the child is born you are TRANSFORMED! And then it opens MORE as the weeks go by, and the months, and the years. Your heart opens in ways you never imagined it could, when you fall in love the way we fall in love with our children. And you'll never know, because you've opted out before giving yourself a chance to find out exactly how much love and care you have in you to give. I wish women would trust themselves more, because becoming a mother changes you forever from what you were. Or think you were. At least, that's been my experience. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes. I guess it's also true that some people remain selfish and never do learn when and how to put their children first; usually those people have bigger problems than plain selfishness.

    Your (generic "your") reasons are your reasons. It's not my place to argue with you, to tell you how to live. But I want you to know: no one was more self-centred than me before I had my first child, who was only born because I got pushed off the "maybe sometime later" fence. Had I kept waiting for the perfect man, the perfect home, the perfect job, the perfect life, the perfect me, before feeling I could risk having a child, I would still be childless. I've thanked god every day for 23 years that life took the upper hand and led me along, in spite of all my fears and misperceptions and the inconvenience (and pain, and worry, and vulnerability, and weariness) that comes with pregnancy, birth and parenting! Having children has been the making of me; but I was the last person who ever would have thought that was possible, before it happened. Raising my two sons and loving them has shown me what I'm made of, like nothing else has except maybe being there for my mother as she was dying. And I always feel a little bad for anyone who makes the to-have-or-not-to-have decision based on what they perceive as their own selfishness, because really, they have far more to give than they realize, and they may never know it.

    Maybe there are other ways of finding these things out, but I haven't learned of any. Even loving nieces and nephews as much as we do is not the same as raising our own kids, much as it may be a close second.

  20. Reading everyone's story here, I realize that I'm rather lucky. A lot of my friends either have one child or have made the decision not to have any, so that fact that I only have my one beautiful daughter hasn't really been an issue. My first husband only wanted one child, so that was no problem. My second husband didn't want any of his own. I called his bluff regarding birth control. One quick trip to the doctor later, he wasn't creating any children.

    I have Type I diabetes and pregnancy carries its risks for me, and for the baby. I could always use that as a reason, but the truth is, I just don't want any more. No one else needs to know that I'm not exactly proud of my mothering skills. Contrary to what people might say, it is NOT an automatic instinct that comes easily to everyone.

    The one person who did give me grief about having only one child was my daughter. She really wanted a sister. I told her I wanted one my beautiful daughter and I got her. I joked with her that, If she wanted a sibling, she was gonna have to have to talk to her dad.

    Her dad remarried. My daughter is now 16, and her sister was born last November. I am quite happy for them, but it honestly didn't bring up a shred of jealousy. The decision, the choice I made is still the right one.

    I offer my love and support to everyone who's made their own decision, and I wish you peace. If that doesn't work, I'm with Karen. Kicking will get the point across, too.

    I just thought of a response to, "Your child needs a sibling."

    So what you're saying is I have to have another baby and put he or she to WORK. It has a job to do, to be a sibling, not be its own independent creature. Hell of a lot of pressure on a newborn.


  21. Deb - You could hire yourself out for an advice column on how to deal with rude people! That's a great answer your crafted.

    I guess I really am as sheltered as I suspect I am. I know that people who would ask such rude and invasive questions exist (and many of us call them family), but I don't come across them anymore because I hold most everyone at arm's length. It's sad really, but the upside is that I don't have to deal with a situation where I'd likely tell someone to piss off with their rude questions.

  22. Haha!!! I laughed so hard at your responses, Deb. I'm approaching that time of life where women my age start thinking about marriage and kids, but I am absolutely in no shape, way, size, or form in any sort of hurry for children! :)

  23. Oh my, what a great post. I can't stand people who pry into others personal reproductive business.
    My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. I was devastated. I don't know the number of people who asked us when we were going to start having kids. It killed me because I should have had one and I didn't.

    Later, I had two amazing sons and was thrilled to be expecting the third baby. People asked if we were having that baby because we wanted a girl. NO. We were having another baby because we wanted it. When that baby was born and it was a lovely girl, people asked if we were done having kids. I didn't know. It really wasn't their business.

    Later we had our fourth (a boy) and people asked me if we were done. I thought we were. I had always wanted four kids. I had four perfect little kids and I was quite happy. A few years later we found out we were expecting baby number five! We were very happy. Before that baby was even born, we had people asking us if we were going to have any more. Within a day of that baby's birth, I had someone ask me if we were done or having any more. Give me a break! It's none of their business!

    We were done with having babies at that point. My five children were 10 years a part. I wanted to simply enjoy those kids and raise them. I was ready to start getting sleep again and be diaper free. People still ask me if we are going to have more. Nope, I'm happy with my five.

    So, all this rambling is just to say that even when you have lots of kids, you still get the stupid, insensitive comments.

  24. good for you to speak on behalf of couples who chose not to have children my dear friend hears it all the time but she runs a daycare and those r who children as for myself i had 6 beautiful children but my chose and i hear all the time how can you do it why have so many so you see deb it works both ways and i just smile and say why not

  25. "I wish women would trust themselves more"
    I wish people would trust women who know what they want and why they want it, more. :|

    There are few things more irritating in life than having someone burble over about how much life will change and how awesome that change is and you will become a completely different person and so much more love and and and. I don't want life to change, I don't need life to change, and yes, it would make me a different person - one I've no interest in becoming.

    Furthermore, due to health problems, pregnancy becomes a medical condition that could leave me crippled for life. And I should not have to reveal any of that just to get someone to stop trying to tell me that I should "trust myself" and have kids.

    I do trust myself, which is why I do not.


    Deb - my former inlaws were fundamental Christians with 11 children (my ex-husband was the oldest); they were forever asking when we were going to have children, and they simply could not understand a worldview where it was fun to be the crazy aunt, and my limited ability to care for cats or plants or even myself easily precluded children.

    They would ask weekly. Daily if we were visiting. Sometimes obliquely, sometimes upfront.

    I finally put my acting background to good use, and when the motherinlaw asked point blank, I teared up, quavered my voice, and said "it's medically impossible," and buried myself in washing dishes.

    She and the inlaws in the room went horrified-silent, flustered, and mortified at their insensitivity. I got a few hugs, murmurs of "God has a plan," and they never mentioned it again.

    ...of COURSE it was medically impossible. I was on the pill. :D

  26. Good for you, Kelly, that you trust yourself and are sure what you want. I don't think I ever thought long or hard about any of that stuff before I had my first child; I was too busy following my own nose and just having as much fun as I could. Having that first child really did change me, and of course my life. For me, it was the greatest gift. There are no words I have to describe it in a way that gets the change across, without suggesting that someone who chooses not to have kids can never understand. A better writer might be able to do it in a way that sounds more respectful of others' choices.

  27. Kelly2,

    That last line is the best!! Made me LOL. BEAUTIFUL!


  28. This has always been a very sensitive issue for me, I'm a carrier of Duchene Muscular Dystrophy and so having kids has run an inherent risk of passing on the disease. I’ve been told I’m selfish for having even tried having children, that I should never have taken the chance.

    I did though and have been very lucky to end up with two beautiful healthy girls but I despise that I seem to make the decision to not have more children based partly on the fear of what others will think of me if we try and I end up making a decision they don’t agree with.

    That fear of criticism left me feeling very alone when I had a miscarriage as I had hid my pregnancy and a number of those who knew or had figured out I had miscarried were rather critical. I had found out the baby would have been a boy with DMD and because I didn’t want a child with DMD they decided I had no right to be upset or even that I somehow deserved to have miscarried.

    It certainly didn’t make it any easier to accept or get though it made it worse in so many ways because I didn’t have the support I needed. I still carry a lot of guilt and have to remind myself that it’s not my fault I miscarried, that I didn’t deserve to face it and that it had absolutely nothing to do with me not wanting a child with DMD.

    So now every time someone asks me if we are planning on more kids my mind flicks back to that loss and the complete lack of empathy I faced and I tend to get a little angry and end up responding quite curtly even if it was not a question asked with a judgment in mind on what they think I should or should not be doing.

    I have friends who don’t want kids, who can’t have kids who have one child or more, who have ended pregnancies or have continued unexpected pregnancies and I have no judgments on their decision regardless of what those decisions were or are based upon.

    They needed to do what was right for them and their family not anyone else. I guess what I'm saying is just that I agree it's not something that should be asked by anyone to anyone else. To each his own, I wish there were more people who believed that.

  29. I don't understand the statement that people that choose not to have children are selfish and wrong. As far as I'm concerned, it is not selfish to not want to bring a child into the world before you are prepared and responsible enough to raise it. I have seen far too many would-be parents torture themselves over their inability to conceive and spend copious amounts of money and of IVF and ride the emotional rollercoaster it brings with no success, while in contrast drug addled, alcoholic parents bring in child after child into the world for the social system to deal with, subjecting the children to emotional and psychological problems. It is not selfish to choose to not have a child that you may subconsciously resent for hijacking your life. It is not selfish to choose not to have a child for the sake of other people to have a little kid to coo over when they come to visit.

    I have health problems like a few other commenters have said, which would actually make pregnancy fatal for both myself and the baby. I am not yet an aunty, but a few of my friends have had kids and I love visiting and getting to know them, but I would never pressure anyone to have kids so that I could have that pleasure.

    To all of the commenters above me who have not have children or further children whether by choice or through circumstance, a big kudos to you and feel free to be rude to the rude questioners on behalf of all of us!

    Thanks Deb and Barb, a very thought-provoking blog today :)

  30. This post fascinates me, Deb!
    I'm the daughter of two older parents- they were married 17 years before my older sis came along. My mom told me that they were told they couldn't have children, so they went on with their life. I can't even imagine all the comments they dealt with while my aunts and uncles were having kids, and they weren't.
    After we were born, my parents were in their 40's. I can kind of remember times where people asked them if we were their grandchildren. When they said no, they were then asked "Why'd you wait so long?" Grr... to think about that now, it really irks me!
    On another note, we have families in our church that have welcomed 3rd and 4th children. Yet, people ask them if they want more! It's crazy! I'm kind of glad I'm single, so I don't have to deal with that. Interestingly enough, no one has bugged me about getting married, which is nice.
    I would like at least one, someday, for sure. Just in case anyone was curious, lol! If it happens, great! If I get more, cool. If I have none, that was part of God's plan. That's how I see it. :)

  31. I don't want to take up more space than my share here, and have already done so, but ... must admit that my previous posting left so much unsaid and also didn't clarify well enough. For one thing, it could be read as if I meant that we don't love our adopted children, for instance, as much as our own. I didn't mean that; I meant that there is a difference between our feelings when we love the children of others beyond beyond, and when we are their primary caregivers and some kind of maternal/paternal instincts kick in that are as powerful as the genetic bond.

    This is a big subject with so many aspects, and an emotional minefield as well, especially for women who haven't had children and get so much flak for it. And shouldn't. Get flak for it, I mean. Oy. Why is it so hard to say things right?

  32. Talk about a hot topic! I'm 42 with two children: 20 & 19. When I fawn over a baby, my husband gets the all-knowing stares, the elbows in the ribs, and the "Uh oh, look who wants another one!" *grinds teeth*

    Then there are the ones who realize that I have NO desire to have another child BUT insist that I am ready to be a grandmother! My daughter is only 20 - and she has no desire to ever have children (her choice, and I support that decision completely)...but it seems no one else can grasp that concept. My son (who was born after the doctor recommended I "terminate the pregnancy" because of the dangerous birth of my daughter, then two miscarriages...anyway, he is autistic - and it has been an exhausting but rewarding 19 years). My son wants to have a wife and children - but not yet.

    My 19 year old niece (my "other daughter") is pregnant, and people begin with the disapproving clucks followed by the lightbulb going off and exclaiming, "Oh, but now you'll have a baby in the house again!" Ummm, that translates to having my house smell like dirty diapers. Her choice. Her baby. Her house. Will I fawn over the baby? HELL YES! Does it mean I want another one? HELL NO! Does it mean I want to be a grandmother? HELL NO!

    When people comment, or ask these questions, I TRY to remember that they may be voicing their own personal questions about themselves, that they may be struggling with their own needs/desires and seek comfort in someone else's thoughts. Maybe by hearing my answer, it may validate their own feelings or decisions they have made.

    But it still makes me cringe.

    For now, my husband and I are enjoying a quiet day without any kidlet obligations. Today is, in fact, Independence Day.

  33. I have a question that I'd like some suggestions about how to help, or at least not hurt. A close friend of mine has tried for years to have a third child. About six months ago, she gave birth to a daughter who survived less than 24 hours. My friend didn't tell anyone she was pregnant, because she'd had miscarriages and didn't want to... ummm... raise anyone's hopes? (I don't remember the exact reason, but it involved this idea.)

    What do I say to her? IS there anything to say? How can I help? CAN I help?


  34. @Dawn - Tell her you are sorry she is having so much trouble. Show your love and support by telling her you are a shoulder for her to lean on, and follow through. Tell her if she ever wants to talk about it you are there, and then drop it.



  35. Kate I too have been transformed by motherhood. But the difference is I think for me-I wanted it, craved it, yearned for it. I think for my friends who are childless by choice, they felt another calling in their lives and they have all proved to be supportive, attentive, loving "aunts and uncles". I know how we can be so passionate about something that changes our lives but that's the beauty of humans isn't it? We all walk to the beat of our own hearts desire.
    Dawn I loved your response to "your child needs a sibling." Perfect. Thanks. We have many diabetics in our family so I know all too well the challenges. I am thrilled for you that you have one happy healthy child.
    Lisa I laughed out loud with "many of us would call them family." Man, so funny, so true. And arms length sounds like a good vantage point to me!
    Holly sounds like you are in a great time and space of life. And the best part, you are loving it!!!
    Molly what a great perspective. I never thought of it from the other side. Yeah of course, people who are going to pick holes are going to do it no matter what. My favourite rude comment of all time when our BEAUTIFUL (and I say beautiful for a reason) baby boy was nine months old. A woman looked into his stroller and said "wow his eyes are so big". And I said, thinking it was a compliment "oh thank you" to which she responded, "don't worry, he might grow into his looks". I did not respond. couldn't. Flabbergasted.

    Donna wise words. And a smile. Perfect.
    Kelly 2. We all respect your choice to trust yourself. You have every right in the world to be who you are. I wish I had trusted myself with all things when I was in my teens, and really, right up to my fifties.

    Kate- I know you did not intend to undermine anyone’s decision while singing the praises of your own joy. Writing is tough when dealing with delicate subjects isn’t it?

    Yes Dawn Kelly’s last line made me howl!

  36. Before I say how much Erin's story moved me, I have to tell each and every one of you how very very much Barb and I love you all. Your comments are thoughtful and passionate and pissed and loving and supportive and kind. You respect each other and you stand up for what you believe. We started out I think we told you in a blog gone by, to use this as a promotional tool, to get our names out there. And yet, it became the blog and the followers and the connection with the world. Thank you one and all for your fine selves. I will continue now as I have been shooting today and was unable to get to each one as they came in. So sorry that they are clumped. It does not in any way reflect how we feel every time we read a response.
    Erin to each his own indeed. You have made nothing but good choices because you make them for yourself and you don't make them for others.
    Thanks Elle for summing up another wonderful outlook. Live and let live right? Why do we struggle with this so much???
    Beth thanks for sharing that incredible story of your parents. And you are right. Relax. Wanting kids will come or it won't. Just be a young gal right now and live the young life.
    SamAnnesivaD Okay if I have spelled that wrong I am sorry my darling, as it was my pleasure to read your comments. Your clarification was so clear and it made my mind go in so many directions, so thank you.
    Dawn-I don't know what to say to this. It is well beyond my capability. I would not try to reason this or explain this to her if it were me. I would just hold her until every sob was out, tell her I loved her and really be there for her. I would follow through so she feels love without pain. I think that's what she needs. Love without pain. God bless her. Karen I went to answer your comment which came after Dawn's and you basically said the same thing. Lovely my girl.

  37. Oh, and to all our American friends, I wish you a very Happy Healthy 4th of July. My Dad and son are American and my Dad bet that I would be born on the 4th of July as my Mom went into labour that day. So given that he was an American and a Jolson fan, I grew up singing-"I'm a yankee doodle dandy, yankee doodle do or die-a real live nephew of my uncle sam born on the 5TH of July!....

  38. It's 11:01pm here which means it's 12:01am your time which means it's July 5 in Toronto which means:


    (tomorrow, we fete Barbara! :) )

  39. Oh, Deb, don't mistake the ability to trust myself now for being anything other than a really stereotypically obnoxious teen. (I was one of the "parents kicked her out" stories.)

    I got lucky that I figured things out before anything permanent, or permanently bad, happened to me, and that in the process of finding my voice I didn't get pushed into a life I wouldn't have been happy in.

    (And for all the other voluntarily childfree folks out there, I gladly give you my medically impossible excuse. Because it's really too effective to not be used by any and all!)

  40. Oh, I feel a rant coming on. Not as fiery as Rigel's, but a rant nonetheless. And mine isn't just kids, it's marriage, too. I'm 31, I don't have kids, and I've never been married. The last (and only) boyfriend I had was in high school, and I've been happily single since then. But I have family, friends, co-workers, and other assorted people who want to stick their noses into my business. And it isn't just questions. They are constantly trying to set me up with guys, and telling me the most awful things! Like going that long without a boyfriend is unnatural, so there must be something wrong with me. Or that I'm terribly selfish for not wanting kids right now. Or even that I have to have kids, because I owe my parents some grandchildren. Who says such hurtful things to their own family?! I know why I don't have a boyfriend or husband, and why I haven't had any children yet. (I won't go into details just now, as it would make this post far too long, but the short version is this: I have massive problems with anxiety, and the world scares the hell out of me. I haven't even gotten any help for it yet, because the doctors scare me, too. And I'm not about to add anyone else to my little world till I overcome some of this.) But it's none of their business, and I shouldn't have to explain myself to them. And sometimes their words can hurt so very much. Usually when someone says something, I throw them the dirtiest look I can muster and walk away. Every once in a while, though, when I get some rude comment about my lack of boyfriend, I tell them I do have a boyfriend. He's a nice Russian lad named Nunya. They don't get it, but I think y'all will...

  41. Oh, and a very Happy Birthday to you Deb!!! :)

  42. I thank everyone for this discussion. My son and DIL have the canavan gene and their first pregnancy was terminated as the baby had the disease, the second pregnancy produced a beautiful daughter who is a carrier. She will know when she gets married that she and her husband will be checked and if they are both carriers they will have a one in 4 chances of the child having the disease. The pregnancies were not fun and my DIL had to wait both times for a CVS to let them know. They stopped with one beautiful, healthy daughter. Totally understand all sides and the asking as well. Each couple needs to answer for themselves and for whatever they feel comfortable talking about.

  43. Thanks Kelly. Yes the medical excuse works great. Then afterwards you can say "oh and also, PISS OFF!" :-)

  44. April thanks for the birthday wishes! I am so sorry you are going through all this crap. Why don't you borrow one of the wonderful Facebook comments I got on the post and say "I will forgive you for asking this question, if you will forgive me for not answering". Isn't that great! Try it next time.

  45. Well said Madge. You have been through so much. It really struck a chord this one huh?

  46. Happy bday Deb.hope it's one of the greatest for you. And I hope all your bday wishes come true.

  47. THANKS LYNDSIE! I am having a great day already!

  48. Oh geez, today is your birthday, Deb?!?! (I'm on England time and today is almost over!). In that case:


  49. Holly thank you so much! I am about to get ready to go for a great Italian dinner with my darling husband. I have had the BEST day!

  50. just a quick note to wish you a happy birthday deb . i hope you are having a great day !

  51. Happy Birthday Deb! Hope you were suitably spoiled, you deserve it :)

  52. Oh, wow! Happy Birthday, Deb! You share it with my friend Antonia- we went to a Japanese Hibachi place for dinner! Hope you had an awesome day, and Colin and the boy spoiled you! :)

  53. Thanks Elle and Beth,
    you will be my last good wishes before my head hits the pillow. Wonderful birthday but the work day starts early. Thanks ladies, so much.

  54. It's 11:35pm here which means it's 12:35am your time which means it's July 6 in Toronto so:


  55. One of my daughters and her husband have chosen NOT to have children. I think they are fantastic. So many people have babies that SHOULD NOT have babies.
    It makes me sick when J. tells me some of the comments and questions she gets.

  56. Even though I was gone when this post went live, I just had to add my heartfelt thank you to all of you for your amazing courage in telling your stories, and your amazing support in listening to each other. xo

  57. @ April-when I first read your comment for a moment there it confused me. I'm almost exactly going through the same or a very similar situation. My name is also April, so I thought for a moment that I might have typed it and simply forgot about doing so. If it had not been for you listing your age (though we are also close in that, too.) I'm 28 and can totally relate. I know why I have anxiety, only I don't feel the need to post about it on here. It's a bit too personal. Very odd that we're rather similar. -April


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