Why Don't We Have Kids?
Oh man, does this question come up in daily life for us all of the time! Mike and I have been together for almost 20 years in February and we’ll have been married 7 years in October and we get asked this question all the time. :
“Why don’t you guys have kids yet?”
My immediate response - "Oh - no thank you!” (with a beaming, smiling face and a rapidly shaking head.)
We have literally been trying to avoid having kids since we were 18 years old - taking birth control, using condoms, pulling out - you name it! We came from a generation of caution, of exercising our right to choose (to not ruin our lives by having kids under penalty of our parents having a fit.) But we’re grown adults now, and we’re happily married and still - no offspring. So “why” you might ask? Well, there are plenty of reasons…
For one - I am an only child. I tried babysitting twice and both sets of children were absolute NIGHTMARES! I got headbutted in the box, spat upon and even kicked. I actually changed my degree from Child Education to Photography within my first year of college. I still roll my eyes every time a misbehaving child comes into a quiet romantic restaurant or a dark movie theater. I don’t think I have the patience, tolerance, time, energy or “sainthood” that it takes to be a mom, ever.
Mike, on the other hand, is the oldest of 7. He literally helped raised 6 other siblings. He was in charge of diapers, laundry, cooking, hand holding and babysitting since he was in Elementary School. Let’s face it - he was OVER IT by the time I even met him, being surrounded by a sea of little ones.
But again - we are “adults” now. But let’s be honest - we are not completely financially responsible, we are kind of self-absorbed, we like to sleep in on the weekends (and any time we want to have a nap), we like going fun places and eating out, we enjoy no true sense of responsibility or the overwhelming burden of knowing we are solely responsible for the well-being of raising another human being in this day and age.
Parenthood is a scary-ass thing! The part I am most scared about though, is the pregnancy. I see all sorts of friends’ posts about “Rainbow Babies.” Brave mothers coming forward with their own personal struggles about losing a child that could have been. This is absolutely heart wrenching to me. The fact that potential new parents can get such great news, then such life-altering tragic news all within the same 9 month period is simply unfathomable. My heart breaks for them every day.
And, I have always had a premonition that I would die myself during childbirth. I understand the odds, and I have talked to my doctor, but at the end of the day, it could still happen. And I feel like I would be one out of the 50,000 women per year in the U.S. to perish, leaving behind a newborn child and a heart broken husband on this Earth without me.
And even if you both make it through the pregnancy, what if your child is autistic, diabetic, gets leukemia or cancer, has Downs Syndrome, two-heads… you never know! You have then given yourself a life-sentence of caring for piece of you who has such a rough road ahead of them. A lifetime of struggle, chaos, sorrow, and courage. I am not that strong. I am not that capable. I am just not that person.
Ok, you have gotten through the pregnancy and the child is healthy as can be, great! Now what?! All your life you have devoted yourself to going into work, cleaning the house, raising a well-behaved pet, making friends, getting good sleep, finding hobbies you are interested in (like photography) etc. Now, all of that has been OVERTURNED. Your life is not your own anymore. You feel ostracized. Your body is not the same. Your emotions are all out of whack. And you have a pooping, crying, hungry, little human to care for 24/7. My mind is already blown…
How do moms and dads make it happen? How do they raise an emotionally well balanced child or afford what it takes to financially support a whole legion of little ones? How do they find time in the day to spend quality time and get in the laughter, exercise and positivity to balance their lives with the day to day commuting lifestyle of working class lives? How are so many sleepless nights or weekends filled with games and family activities even accomplished? I don’t understand at all.
And maybe it is something I will never fully understand. And that’s okay.
I want people to be able to understand my reasoning, even if they don’t agree with it. I know we have lots of married friends out there who feel the same way, but would never come out and post a whole blog about it. So here we are -putting it all out there.
And at the end of the day, maybe we are just figuring things out still and we are late bloomers, secretly wanting to become parents someday. Is this something we should even consider (after being so against it for 20+ years)? I hear all the good stuff from friends or family, about loving someone so unconditionally, but at the same time, is it worth changing my life so radically and flipping everything upside down to “try parenting out” just because everyone says it’s so great?
Ya know what, I am Crystal, I am happy and I do not want kids. I know my husband Mike supports me and my wishes and I would like to believe he truly feels the same way. But it’s his turn now. So here are Mike’s feelings on the subject. Take it away hunny!
And thanks for reading my side of things!
August 25, 2019
Wow, well this is quite a heavy topic. I honestly wasn’t sure if this was something I wanted to write about. But as I thought of it, I’m sure it’s something people wonder about, so we might as well. It's not like anyone reads these things anyway...
For some reason, I feel better about discussing big things like this when I write and it’s public for the world to see. That seems weird, but I’ve heard comedians say “I can talk to all of you, but I can’t talk to any one of you” and I agree.
So, what’s the deal? Mike 20 years with Crystal and still no kids?
Well, for me it’s complicated. We are nearly forty and in the back of my mind I’m still unsure when the proper response is if someone announces their pregnancy should be “Oh shit!” or “Congratulations!” Part of me realizes the truth of how old we really are and part of me still feels like the same doofus 20-year-olds we’ve been for 20 years.
We have had some crazy fun years and also some struggling years. We’ve been through personal crap, sicknesses, layoffs and more. It’s balanced out with equally wonderful experiences like travel, friends and each other. Looking back, I think a lot of the angst that contributed to the dark times came from a lack of understanding of ourselves.
Through dark times, we learned a lot and we are a lot more comfortable with ourselves these days than we've ever been.
I’m really behind career-wise, but thanks to a lot of work and practice and small projects I’m at a point where I’m wondering what’s next, excited about the things that I can create and thinking of how I can bring my ideas to the world!
However, I don’t have a real job. I’m pretty worthless at the moment. I’m getting the skills where I’m finally feeling confident in myself as well as what I can do though.
I’m looking forward to finally making my mark and contributing financially and doing the things I always wanted to for us.
I’m a little more optimistic about how I think it would actually be to have one kid than Crystal. I know a lot of it would be my responsibility and I’m ok with it and I know I could handle that even if I wasn’t the career guy I thought I’d be. It would be a pain most of the time, but I'm sure there's a silver lining in there somewhere. But like I said, it was so hard fought to be comfortable with ourselves and our talents we could have just given up and had a kid years ago when we were younger. Every sidetrack in my life thus far I see as a learning experience and I have learned a lot.
I feel have something unique and different to bring to the world, even if I haven’t figured it all out yet. I know that if we had a kid, whether we loved or hated the experience, it would be the only thing in our lives.
It’s hard enough to put the energy into the things we love to do now. I hate to admit it, but we're kinda selfish and irresponsible. If we had to do a bunch of things that prevented us from doing the creative and fun things we like to do, we may become resentful. Especially if we're just finally figuring out who we are as adults.
Honestly, I don't know how a lot of you manage being parents. I have a lot of respect for it, but I've seen enough to know we're not there yet and we may never be. We knew a long time ago that we wanted to live life and have fun and as far behind as we are now we did that and it was great. It’s time for us to become real people now though. It’s time for us to find out who we are and what we can become!
August 25, 2019
So lots of people ask, but at the time we might not come up with a “good enough” answer for them (even if it’s our own family that’s asking.) But for us, any answer we give IS good enough. We are enjoying life, loving one another and figuring out this crazy world we are all living in. Thanks for reading!