Sunday, August 10, 2014

A post about choosing to be child- free and what people might

I was going to post an article I came across called "6 Assumptions NOT to Make About the Child-Free" on Facebook the other day because I liked it and agreed with it--mostly. I think the general assumptions that the author named are true, but under each assumption I realized we had our own story.  I felt inspired to write about our own process and thoughts on how the 6 assumptions made about being child-free  have affected us and how they are a part of our journey.
1. We can't have kids
This assumption causes me a lot of emotion. Brian and I never tried to have kids so we have NO IDEA the depth of pain, disappointment, heartache, and longing that those who struggle with infertility have. I have deep, deep respect for couples who give their whole selves to this process. There is not one aspect of infertility that compares to our choice not to have kids. It's right there--choice--infertility isn't a choice and it knows no mercy. So, when people assume that we are unable to have kids and they voice this assumption, I am very quick to set the record straight and let people know that we have chosen this path--without regrets.

2. We hate kids
AHHH!!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! We LOVE your kids! LOVE THEM!!!!!! I CRAVE being with your kids. In fact, those with newborns, watch out. I absolutely love, love, love holding and being around newborns. 
There's something magical about it and I need it in my life. 
I love seeing pictures of your kids on Facebook and Instagram and seeing different rites of passage or cute curls and dimples on your kids.
 {I swear I am not a stalker, I SWEAR!}  
We love spending time with your kids. 
Being Aunt Kari and Uncle Brian to them means the world to us.  
Plus, we love to spoil your kids and give them the loud toys as presents!
The thing about this assumption that gets muddled is my natural maternal instinct. I've always had it and I always will. I think people assume I'm not maternal because I don't have kids. I don't hate kids. I love them, love on them, and love being around them. Heck! I'm a teacher for goodness sake! I really am in this teaching gig for the summers kids--lord knows it's not for the money! 
{J/K about the summer strike-through...or am I?}

3. We resent you for being a parent
This assumption confuses me. There is NO resentment in my bones whatsoever! I have nothing but respect for parents. There is SO much responsibility on your shoulders for SO many things that it's silly to think that I could judge anything you do. I think what I resent is how our society puts pressure on different situations and puts assumptions on how people should respond to those situations. I may not always know what to do when your kid is having a meltdown but I am not sitting in judgment or resentment. It's a part of life. In fact I want you to know that I am here to cheer you on and tell you that
 I think you're amazing for all that you do!

4. We had unhappy childhoods
The reasons we chose not to have kids have nothing to do with our childhoods. We had happy, healthy childhoods and for this we are extremely grateful. We don't feel like we are missing out on passing on traditions or telling stories about our past. We still do these things; it's just with our extended family.
It's a privilege and very special to us to share about who we are and 
where we came from and we treasure it when it happens!  
Being at the CABIN! with our great friends and their family help us build on happy childhood memories and create new ones! 

5. We never wanted kids
This assumption is probably the most frustrating one for me. Throughout my 20's I assumed I would be married and have kids. That was my plan. It's what you do. It's what my community/culture/society told me to do. But it didn't happen. I didn't even have a serious boyfriend for more than a few months in my 20's. When I was in my 30's I started feeling a shift in this expected paradigm. I began to realize that I couldn't control my future. I accepted the fact that marriage and kids might not be a part of my story and that I was actually pretty okay with this! But I also realized that this was an emotional reality. I realized that my story didn't unfold the way I thought it would and I had to mourn this.

 I still have moments where I mourn my 20 something self and the ideals she had. I think this is why I am frustrated with this assumption. We are 100% sure of the choice we made to not have kids, but it hasn't happened without emotion. It's not like we were irrational or hasty in our decision. It was thought out and planned. And it was emotional. Brian and I's partnership in this decision is my strength. 
We are in this together and we draw on this reality.

6. We dote on our pets because we secretly want kids
Ummm. Hello! We dote on our pets because they look like this:

This is just a plain silly assumption. If people really think that because I celebrate my pet's birthdays I secretly want kids, then there are bigger problems in the world. 
There are probably a million other things I could say about choosing to be child-free and I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I am optimistic that our society is evolving in such a way that the "status quo" is becoming less recognizable. Maybe, just maybe, part of it will be that we assume less and we get to know each other, and our stories, and we accept them for what they are. 


  1. I love your honesty and your choices and everything about who you are! You are such a gift!

  2. I love this so much. I especially love your response to #5--I can relate to that big time. And I love that your personality shines through this entire post!