What? No children? Fending off the final female taboo

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Aussie Willy, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting article in my local paper today.

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/so...ff-the-final-female-taboo-20130206-2dyoq.html

    Is this the final female taboo? I am fortunate in that nobody really makes a big deal about towards childless me. Never been an issue in my family, although I have had a couple of friends who quite a few years ago were adamant that I would one day really want to have kids, not matter how much I said I was not interested. At 46 I think they have finally accepted that I am just not that way inclined.

    Still it is good to get a perspective on your world.
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  2. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I have no desire for kids either, but I do sometimes think if I'll eventually regret it when I'm sitting in my rocking chairs in my 70s+.
  3. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    "''I am married. I've been in perfect reproductive health. I could have afforded children, financially. I just didn't want them. They are untidy … they are ungrateful."

    I wish more people understood this! I am amazed at how many parents are constantly surprised by this fact! :D
  4. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    Not sure why people should understand that children are ungrateful. I think I'm grateful to my own parents.

    And I'm childless too. But it's not surprising when parents get upset when people call their kids "untidy" and "ungrateful".

    Also, from the article:

    Oh, what a taboo!
  5. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    For some reason it's unacceptable to be a parent who gripes about their kids. I have lovely kids who are...kids. They aren't mini adults. They are messy - you have to teach them to pick up after themselves. It is a lot of work to parent 24/7. And sure there may be moments when you call your mom and say "thank you" but it's not something a 15 year old considers on a regular basis. My aunt is happily married with no kids. She had decades of people inquiring about her ovaries. She told me a couple fo years ago she just didn't feel like she had patience for kids. Sure to borrow a niece or nephew for the day is one thing, but to deal with a demanding person by choice just wasn't her choice.

    Anyway I think most parents aren't "honest" about raising children. For some reason, they cannot say it's messy, emotionally draining, hard work. So it is refreshing to see a woman who has no kids just come out and say it.
  6. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    ok, :rofl:. I am not sure I think being 'untidy' and 'ungrateful' are good arguments for not having children. That is a strange choice of words! I mean, a dog is untidy, and cat is ungrateful, but children are so many other annoying things :p. Some of the best things in life are very untidy.

    As a parent, I can certainly understand why people choose not to have children. It is an expense, they are time consuming, no matter how hard you try they will limit your freedom of what you can do (we have discovered there is a lot of things you CAN do with children, but there are still a serious lack of freedom), they are sometimes impossible to reason with, you have the responsibility to turn them into decent human beings and not bullies or criminals, you open yourself up for a world of pain if they get hurt... Oh and you have to have a zen amount of patience, some days I just want to scream, I admit it.

    there are a lot of little things, but if you are not getting children because you don't want to miss a nights sleep or wipe up puke, or only be around people who say 'thank you' for every little thing - you just sound a little sad and narrow minded (sorry). Those are the small things. There are really a lot of bigger issues where I perfectly well understand why you would not have children. I love my son, and I'm even having a second, but I think I would have been a pretty happy person without children.

    I don't see anything strange in choosing not to have children, as long as you don't think yourself better, smarter or wiser for not having than me. I will do the same to you.

    And for being along when you grow old - well, surround yourself with friends or neighbors WITH children, and in the end you will befriend someone who will visit you in your old age. My parents neighbor was an old bachelor, and my brother loved hanging out with him - he grew a lot of veggies and we always got some, my brother helped him out. Later, when an adult, my brother always visited and had a beer with him, until the day he died. No children, not alone :)
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  7. CanuckSk8r

    CanuckSk8r New Member

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    ^^This.

    It drives me to a special kind of crazy when parents say "you're lucky you don't have kids" as if they were unwillingly given children to raise. I simply reply "I'm comfortable with my CHOICE" though that is generally lost on them.

    That is right up there with it being assumed that because one has no children they have no life or nothing going on. I understand that it is difficult for parents to know or see life beyond their children but just because they can't see life without kids, certainly does not mean it's not possible.
  8. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I worry about this too. I am perfectly happy without children right now. Occasionally something will happen that will make me sad I am missing out on the experiences my lifelong friends are having right now (my friends mostly have infants to first graders), but the moment passes and I move on. I'm good without kids now, but it is a time limited decision, and what if I change my mind when it is too late?

    The thing that gets me the most is so many people assume that if you don't have kids, you don't like them. I love children. When I was young I played with dolls, babysat, and worked in nurseries. I wanted nothing more than to be a Mom, as I got to where that could happen I found that I wasn't sure and my husband did not want kids. (He says if I want them okay, but it seems like if he is firm, and I am waffling, I shouldn't be the one to make the decision- you can't return them!) I taught tots skating for a long time to get my kid fill, but my hip injury won't allow that anymore. People with kids often think childless people push them out of their life, but it is really the other way around, IMO. Their life becomes so full, there isn't room anymore! My neighbors mostly have school age kids so it has become a bit easier than when they were infants. Now a night 'out' is often watching a kids movie, but I would rather hang out with my friends often, rather than infrequently only when they need babysitters.

    My Mom doesn't bother me about kids anymore, so that is nice.


    Why? This isn't my reason for not having kids, but if you don't want to do those things- why would you bring a child into the world that you aren't interested in caring for? I've heard many people say not having children is selfish, but I think it is a lot more selfish to have a kid you aren't interested in just because it is the thing to do. I don't think the human population needs for everyone to have a kid to survive. There are certainly people who are having children at well more than the required replacement rate.
  9. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    The two extremes - I definitely choose having kids, and I love it. I have childless friends, and they have lots of stuff going on in their life. It is not like either of us are more lucky then other, hopefully we are happy with our choices.

    I only find it sad when people feel like they are 'in prison' for having kids or getting married, or really sad when people they want kids, but for some reason can't have them. Hopefully most of us get to choose what we want!
  10. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    This!
  11. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    As usual with FSU, on topics like this there is so much acceptance that things are not black or white and that people don't judge. I appreciate all your responses.

    What I liked about the article was it did highlight the fact that some of us just have absolutely no desire to have children, which goes against the stereotype that all women must have a biological clock and therefore must want to have children.
  12. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    It is? I thought that being a parent gave most parents license to complain about how haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd it is to have kids at the drop of a hat.

    I have an article somewhere about how people tend to think that negative expressions are honest and positive ones are not. I wish I could link it here, because it addresses something I have always found strange--if you tell people that you are happy being married or happy being single or happy having kids or happy not having kids or whatever, most of them think you trying to put a happy face on what is really a sad situation.

    I have enjoyed having kids. That's my honest take on it.

    That was my take, too :lol: People have been swearing off having children for decades, the birth rate is dropping like a big rock, and I have read dozens of opinion pieces making the exact same point for several years now. I think we are well past the taboo stage, even if perhaps we are not yet into the "everyone embraces the childfree lifestyle" stage.
  13. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I think you are allowed to complain about some thing but not about others. I know I'm having trouble with one of my kids now and when I bitch about her at work, the parents of little kids are shocked, but one parent of a teenager thanked me for saying I wasn't happy with my child or her choices. She, at least, feels like it's not okay to say certain things and finds her own friends only talk about how great their kids are and never about what they do that the parent doesn't like.

    It's all "My kid got into Prestigious College" and "My kid is on the Honor Roll" and not "My kid was just hospitalized for depression" and "My kid works part-time at Pizza Hut and still lives at home even though he's 25."

    Well that is totally true and it does drive me a bit mad. I know that on another board I'm on, people get asked all the time for their experiences with our surgery and most of the posts are happy ones because most of us have had good experiences. But invariably someone has complications or otherwise has troubles and says so and the response is always "thank YOU for being HONEST" as if the rest of us are lying.

    It makes me want to scream. To be honest. :lol:
  14. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Agree - it's a conclusion people seem to jump to automatically, and it is so often wrong.

    The other thing is that people assume that if someone doesn't have children that it was their choice. Sometimes it's not, and sometimes the reasons are so deeply personal that people will tell others - even those closest to them - that it was a choice because they don't want to talk about why it wasn't.
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  15. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    ''I am married. I've been in perfect reproductive health. I could have afforded children, financially. I just didn't want them. They are untidy … they are ungrateful."

    Yeah if you're a shit parent, they are going to be ungrateful.

    God, what a stupid thing to say.
  16. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    The reader comments are always my favorite things to read in Interwebz stories. Those dopey Yahoo! stories? I often read them just to get to the hi-lar-i-ous user comments. I'm a dessert kind of girl that way.

    Anyway, this is the type of comment that makes me go :rolleyes: and get a lil feisty instead:

    Really, dude? You feel sorry for me because I don't want what makes YOU happy and resentful and giddy and miserable all at the same time? OK, fair enough. Have at the pity, I can't stop you from feeling how you feel. But, in the interest of fairness, how about since you told me how much you feel sorry for me I share MY feelings and tell YOU that I feel sorry for all the hard-working dads out there who aren't getting any decent :grope: ever since their little party animals came along because they're too exhausted to properly serve up the party salami iffin ya know what I mean?

    And yes, of course I "waste" ALL of my time and money on my stupid useless pets. I don't waste my time reading dopey Yahoo! articles just to get to the hi-lar-i-ous reader comments. Nope. It's all wasted on my stupid useless pets.

    Dude....I'm really glad we had this talk! :40beers:
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  17. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    ^^
    that was a great comment to pull out Southpaw.

    I never felt a 'natural' urge to have children, but I am happy I did. Maybe he is sorry for me too since it was not an urge, but a choice? IDK :rofl:
  18. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    Hating pets? Now, that's a taboo!
  19. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    pml having pets makes me realize what a crappy parent I would be :lol:
  20. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    :drama: I mean, really. You're going to pity me for THAT? By all means, pity me because I'm enmeshed in a hopeless co-dependent relationship with my toxic state that's getting ready to sink into the Atlantic under the weight of its own garbage and raw sewage, but don't pity me for THAT. :drama:
  21. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I personally think that

    (a) the last female taboo is being able to enjoy sex without being thought a slut

    and

    (b) there tons of good reasons to not want to have kids but the fact that they are "untidy" and "ungrateful" is one that seems kind of superficial and lame.

    Though I think it's goood that someone who thinks like that didn't actually have kids. :lol:
  22. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget "You don't know what 'tired' means till you have kids!" :rolleyes: Um, I've had insomnia three nights in a row before. I think I know what "tired" means.

    I adore children and I really want some of my own. But if it ever happens, I hope I remember what it was like to be childless, and don't go shooting my mouth off like that.
  23. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    I think that's true. But it seems perfectly acceptable to make comments like these:

    Of course its hard, the most difficult thing i have ever done

    "You don't know what 'tired' means till you have kids!"

    Maybe I am just weird, but having kids has its stressful days--but so does my job, my marriage, my relationship with my family and just about everything else in my life that is important and takes up a lot of my time and emotional and mental energy. In the overall sense of things, however, the positives have far outweighed the negatives, and I don't think having kids is the hardest thing I have ever done. Like I said, I enjoyed it.

    When someone tells me how having a child is the hardest thing he or she has ever done, I am always shocked. Really? I can see that for someone who has a teenager who is putting a parent through hell or someone who has a child with severe disabilities or mental illness, but if parenting a normal child is the hardest thing you've ever done, you've led a pretty charmed life if you ask me.

    ITA, but I think the same about people who say "Ewwww, I can't do diapers."

    There are so many things that are so much worse :lol:.

    But as in the single thread, I think that "untidy" and "ungrateful" are more metaphorical than realistic.
  24. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I don't know, I found the first couple of months, even years kind of hard in one way. They were draining for me even though I had an easy kid. But it was enough work that I didn't want to run out and have another one right away.

    Not that I said to anyone it was the hardest thing I'd ever done. :lol:
  25. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    The thing that bugged me most about my sisters is they think I know nothing because I don't have kids. Even stuff that was not related to kids. How could I know anything without that life experience?
  26. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I had that one thrown at me once when I was recovering from a serious illness. Apparently, it did not make me tired since I did not have children.
  27. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    The odd thing for me is that I thought one day my so-called "biological clock" would kick in and I would want a child pronto. But that moment never arrived and so I do not have children. Don't get wrong--I love them---but I still do not want to be a Mom. I am having fun being the "awesome" aunt (not my words.) I love my nieces dearly and am glad my sister and her husband wanted children. They are "awesome" parents. If tomorrow I suddenly feel the need for a child I would consider foster care. There are still so many neglected kids out there and I am too old to have a baby.
  28. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I know I am young, but the idea of being pregnant and giving birth in particular are just completely unappealing, and the idea of raising a child isn't particularly appealing either. I really like being by myself. I always have. Of course, because I am only 23, I can't possibly know my own mind on this yet, even though I have never at any point in my life thought that I would like to have children some day. I had my first gynecologist - a male - look at me like I was an idiot when I told him I didn't think I wanted to have kids, and actually say, "you're female. All females want babies." I was so pissed off I was shaking.

    It's interesting that you brought this up now, though, as, and this is so geeky so please feel free to ignore it :lol:, but last week I got in a pretty lengthy argument on a community for Battlestar Galactica fans. The main female character is a complex, intelligent, hardworking former-teacher in her 50s who has never had children. It's clear that she loves children, but at no point in the show does anyone comment on her childless state, and neither does she. Someone recently asked the question, "why did Laura Roslin never have children? Did she want them?"

    I was completely shocked by how many people - women, mostly - were certain that of course this character had wanted children, because she was a woman and a teacher, so there was no way she didn't. Obviously, something had happened which prevented her from having children. It blew my mind how many people simply couldn't believe that a well-adjusted woman who liked kids wouldn't want any herself. That was completely impossible to many of them. When I said that I was a young, female teacher who didn't want kids, I got the usual, oh, honey, you will some day response. It was extremely irksome.
  29. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    For the record, I was so terrified of being pregnant and giving birth and taking care of a newborn, it put me off having children. I like kids, but babies? In the end my husband convinced me, and it was much less hassle than I thought. Yes, I will never be one of those glowy happy pregnant women who thinks that being pregnant is just amazing!!!, but once it was over, I went - huh, I was worried about that? Taking care of a newborn was 'easy' too - even not liking babies you love your own :p.

    It is funny, I was not sure I would enjoy being a mom, so my expectations were a bit low, which means I just went with the flow and in the end it has been the greatest thing ever! That took me by surprise. Conversely, some of my friends who have been talking about getting kids since they were teens sometimes feel a little disappointed...

    In any case, you may never feel the need to have children, you may feel conflicted even if you get them, or you may choose to never have them - but I have now learned that it was silly to be afraid of pregnancy. btw, I wasn't 'ready' until I was 30, had my first at 32.

    as for hardest thing - I think taking care of a newborn 4 weeks early baby was the hardest thing I have ever done. That doesn't mean there aren't any harder things people do.
  30. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I'm not afraid of being pregnant or giving birth. Saying it's unappealing does not mean I am afraid.
  31. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    I have no kids but it was not necessarily by choice.
  32. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    Sorry michiruwater, I was projecting :)
  33. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I have absolutely nothing against people having or not having children. It's their choice and none of my business but that reason was just...

    It made her sound bitter, jaded and quite troubled. Like she'd in fact want them but was anxious or something.
  34. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    I would think the hardest part is with a pet, you can get rid of them legally if you just can't take it. Or crate them. Or drug them. (I'm fostering a two-year-old terrier mix, can you tell? OH MY GOD PLEASE GO TO SLEEP.)

    As for that FATHER quoted...I'm sure it's great for him. He wasn't pregnant. That's the part I'd really not like.
  35. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    a lot of people gloss over the gory details to lure you into joining them :p

    my great grandmother used to talk about what it was like to give birth at home when that was commonplace. after her first delivery, she was so appalled that she made her husband move.
  36. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    That and just the 24/7 responsibility intimidated me for the longest time!! And you have NO IDEA what kind of kid you're gonna get. May be a sweetie, may be a monster, could be anything in between. And geez, at least with a spouse you have SOME idea of what you're getting into before you commit, but with a kid? Total roll of the dice. That said, though, I'm glad we did it.

    The first year or two were definitely no picnic, with the lack of sleep and postpartum depression and other major life changes happening with me and my hubby. It was rotten. And yes, there are plenty of times my kid is ungrateful, but aren't all kids like that? Wasn't I like that? Let's be real. They're not gonna be perfect, no more than any of us are perfect.

    The main pet peeve with me and whether to have kids is that people need to be realistic about it all. Can't stand people who are all starry-eyed about cute, sweet little babies and being a mommy/daddy and they just don't have a grasp on the reality of it all, so when it happens they're all like "oooooohhhhhhmmmmyyyyyyggooooooodddddd I can't handle it. . ." Or they think they can completely continue their previous lifestyle without a single change and then resent the kid for "spoiling" their fun. Those are the sort of people who should strongly consider NOT having children!
  37. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I'm a bit afraid, and it has effected my decision a bit, though mostly it is DH's decision. He just doesn't want them and feels his life is complete without them. "Everyone else has them" and "who will take care of us when we are old" seem to be entirely selfish reasons to have kids, so they haven't swayed him.

    Back to scared of giving birth- Due to psychological reasons, I am not willing to have an epidural. The pain associated with labor terrifies me, as my friends have told me they were in excruciating pain before they got their drugs, and none have delivered naturally, so what the heck kind of pain are you in for there?

    (I also worry about my health later in life, and feel like it is selfish to have a kid when I know I may not be able to support them into their adulthood. But that is just a total unknown and people in worse situations have managed, so it is probably an uncessary fear.)
  38. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    The thing is, a lot of people are put off by the idea of being pregnant, especially at your age. They often change their minds and end up having kids. Which means people aren't going to take you seriously even if you do know your own mind and it isn't going to change.

    I know it's annoying, but they've seen enough other people say what you've said and change their minds that it makes them kind of smug and quite willing to dismiss you.

    In my case, I always thought I wanted kids (if I could get them without being pregnant), but I wasn't sure about marriage. I remember telling people when I was around 11 that I didn't think I wanted to get married because I didn't see the advantages in it for me. I thought that if I did get married, I'd wait until I was "really old" which to my 11 year old mind was about 35.

    Of course, all the grown-ups were quite condescending about it. "Oh, honey, you'll change your mind when you discover boys." they all said. But the thing is, I never said I didn't want to date boys. I said I didn't want to get married. Those are two different things. And, while I did eventually change my mind, I didn't get married until I was in my 30s and it was mostly because I wanted to have kids and thought it was better to be married for various reasons than not be married if you were going to have kids with someone, not because I'd been dreaming since I was a tiny girl of my wedding day.

    So while I changed my mind, those grown-ups who patted me on the head weren't right either. I didn't go through puberty, "discover" boys and instantly want to get married. I didn't want to get married until my 20s and it was a gradual process of changing my mind and it had nothing to do with "discovering" boys.

    The same with you. You may change your mind some day too and decide having kids is worth the getting pregnant part. But that doesn't mean that that Gyn/OB was right either. And you might never change your mind.

    But because you are a woman there are some people who will never accept that you won't some day change your mind until you are dead and even then they will remain convinced that deep down somewhere you really did want kids. (Because they are idiots.)
  39. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    It is selfish to have kids. In is selfish to not have kids....
    :p

    Honestly, you should make that choice based on what makes you happy :).

    As for labor pain - I had an epidural and it was not that painful because of it.

    Most people in Denmark don't get epidurals, and they say it is painful, but not that bad. There are lots if techniques you can use to reduce pain if you want a natural birth.
  40. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

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    My husband and I never felt the need or desire to have children. We prefer living our lives our way without worrying about babysitting and responsibilities. When I want to work late. I do. When he wants to, he does. We pack up and travel on the weekends. We avoid the grocery store and munch on leftovers and beer. We have no pets. I have no nieces and nephews. It is just how we chose to live our lives in our 20s and early 30s.

    At 35 I was diagnosed with suspected ovarian cancer and had a total hysterectomy. So at that point the choice was made for me. There are moments when I think that maybe I should have had kids earlier, but I still can't picture myself as a mom. I love kids. I enjoy taking care of friends' children. But I don't think I'd be a good or happy mom. I still get comments from people. People at work say I should adopt. My extended family bemoans my childless state. I'm used to it at this point. Just as I tell people who choose to stay single, I admire the choice to go against the norms of society. I know that my husband and I are comfortable with each other and love each other enough to know it is okay that it is just us.

    That's not a slam against people with kids. They are just as likely to have happy marriages or relationships. I just know that I feel secure in my life choices and that is what is important to me.
    CanuckSk8r and (deleted member) like this.