My wife and I aren’t interested in having children. This never seemed like a big deal, to me, but it’s an earth-shattering idea for some people, who lose their minds and start interrogating us like we’re screenwriters in the 1960s who accidentally sympathized with communism.
Here’s some things you can stop saying to us:
1 – “Why do you hate kids?”
I don’t. I’m involved in the lives of children and I think that they are some of the most important people in my life. It’s nonsense to assume I don’t like children just because I’m not having any of my own.
2 – “Have you asked your wife how she feels about that?”
No, I haven’t. I decided we wouldn’t have kids without informing her, or even asking her opinion, and she stays perpetually confused about her barrenness. Is that a problem?
Of course, this is a decision to be made as a couple. We discussed this at length while we dated, as any responsible people would do. What sort of monster do you think I am?
3 – “How are you going to avoid having kids?”
This one always makes me pause. In my experience, successfully using birth control is about as difficult as falling down a flight of stairs on roller skates while blindfolded. People like to ask this question, though, with wide, empty eyes as if they truly don’t understand. They must think I’m a wizard. Do I really need to explain how this is possible?
4 – “What if you have kids, anyway?”
I’m not sure what people are looking for, with this one. If we get surprised with a child, then…I guess we would have a kid. Is there something else they expect me to say? Maybe people think I haven’t considered this possibility, but I have. Any scenario you can come up with is something we have already thought about. The possibility that we might unexpectedly have kids doesn’t mean we should change our plans.
5 – “I know people who said they would never have kids…and they did! I think you’ll be just like them!”
6 – “Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?”
Did you have kids because you wanted to make them responsible for your well-being? Of course not. That’s a selfish thing to do, and procreating just to have servants when I’m elderly is a strange idea. You haven’t thought this question through.
7 – “Doesn’t the Bible say that people should have kids.”
No, it doesn’t. Believe it, or not, as a licensed minister who studies theology and church history in grad school, I’ve considered that possibility. I’m planning to have as many kids as the Apostle Paul, C.S. Lewis, St. Francis, Mother Teresa, and Rich Mullins – combined.
8 – “Why don’t you just try having kids and see how you like it.”
Now, you’re scaring me. You don’t “try” being a parent. It’s not as if I can return a kid to a store, is it? People know this (I hope), but still ask me to give parenting a test drive by just having one kid. Being a parent is an all or nothing decision.
9 – “You shouldn’t say ‘never,’ because you never know what God’s going to do.”
You just said “never.”
(People say this exact sentence to me, all the time.)
10 – “Are you unable to have kids? Did the doctor say you were sterile? Is your wife the problem? Do you have trouble with…you know…”
I know you’ll have a hard time understanding this, but those are personal questions that should only be asked by close friends, family members, and anyone who’s first name is “doctor.” Otherwise, these questions are absolutely inappropriate.
(And, no, it’s none of those reasons.)
10 – “Did you have a bad experience as a kid that makes you afraid to be a father?”
Believe it, or not, psychology is a very complex field that is not as simple as it looks on television. Ascribing my activities to personal problems is beyond your capability. Cut it out.
11 – “You Will” (Said with a smug smile.)
Everyone said this when we got married, because as soon as someone is hitched people are required to ask them about having children as soon as possible. “We’re not planning to have any,” I would say. “You will,” they would respond. No, I didn’t.
12 – “But…Children are a blessing!”
So is martyrdom. I don’t see you lining up for that one.
Diapers changed: 0
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)