FIRST PERSON | I've been in a relationship for almost four years, and my husband, Joe, and I have been married for four months. Even before the wedding, people would often try to find an excuse to put pregnancy into my head. When I gained weight, there was speculation I was pregnant. If I was really hungry or craving weird foods, I was pregnant, even though I've always had a big appetite. And lastly, whenever I express my desire to add a pet to our household, people somehow see that as code for "I want to practice child-rearing on an animal."
It doesn't matter how many times I tell people I don't plan on having kids or that I've been saying this ever since I was a little girl.
True, I also always said that I would never get married and, lo and behold, I'm now happily married. We live in Bayonne, N.J., which is about an hour commute from both of our jobs in Manhattan. The thing is, children are a different responsibility, and there are plenty of reasons I'd rather not have children. The main concern for me and my husband is that many of our health problems would be passed to children: depression, anxiety, autism, and family histories of diabetes. Yes, we could adopt, but we just don't feel like we're dying to have children either way. Both children of divorce, we know it's hard not to think about how much children can stress a marriage.
Sure, there are pros and cons to not having children. Pros: My husband and I would be more financially stable without kids to care for. He works as a project manager, and I work for an advertising agency. Neither of us gets home from work until the evening, which means we wouldn't even be around enough to take care of a pet. We're also free to travel a lot with fewer responsibilities. I also don't have to worry about what a high-risk pregnancy might entail.
The only con? We wouldn't have any progeny, leaving us with no one to continue our bloodline. But we're not kings and queens or lords and ladies, so I really question how much that matters. OK. Maybe there is one more con: Maybe we'd be missing out on a really amazing addition to our family.
As for what other people think? Many seem to think I'm delusional and that sooner or later I'll have babies on the brain. Sure, I can be nurturing. But I could easily just nurture a cat, or a cat and a bunny, or maybe even a cat, a bunny, and a puppy. I bet three pets are easier to raise than one child. People also think that our kids would be rather cute, if we were to have any.
Still, here's my reasoning: Not everyone is meant to be a parent, and that's OK. But I'm also 23, and my husband is 22, and maybe one day we will change our minds.
- Family & Relationships