We live in Utah that is famous (or infamous) for its Mormon culture. If you are not Mormon, it might not be easy to make friends, people might not understand your religious views or your political opinion. They might interrogate you why you and your husband do not have children.
From time to time I have this re-occurring conversation:
“Do you have children?” A kind, encouraging smile.
“Not, yet, huh? When are you planning to have kids?” A determined look into my face. Still smiling, though.
“We are not planning on having children.”
“Not planning to have children?”
“No, we are not planning to have children.”
A blank stare into my face.
“Why? Difficulties conceiving? I have a good doctor to recommend.”
“Thank you but no. We don’t want children.”
Usually after these words I get a dirty look that implies that admitting we don’t want children is some kind of a taboo. Something you don’t talk about, or think about. Apparently in Utah voluntary childlessness is a subject that is frowned upon.
When I honestly answer questions about why we don’t have children, I merely express my opinion. There is no intention to shock, to offend or to deceive.
No one ever asks parents why they have children. I cannot imagine a conversation that would go like this:
“Do you have children?”
“Yes. We have five!”
“Five? Why do you have five children? Trouble using birth control? I have a good doctor to recommend.”
“Thank you but no. We are trying to conceive our sixth one.”
Once a man tried to persuade me to reconsider my position and have as many children as possible. He is a parent of three and had a fourth one on its way. He told me that I should seriously think about having children and used tax credits as a basis for his argument. Really?
Somehow, it feels like my husband and I are constantly being asked to justify our childless life. So, here is my very public justification of our decision not to have children.
Reason 1: Lifestyle.
We work a lot, we love our careers and we like our life the way it is.
Reason 2: Potential.
Potential is a powerful word carrying enormous possibilities for us to travel, sleep in, go out, stay in, watch TV, read, write, blog, shop, move and so on. You get the idea.
Reason 3: Future.
Future doesn’t scare me. It excites me. We don’t have to worry about saving up for college, a new car or a wedding. We don’t have to worry about what school to choose. We don’t have to spend sleepless nights waiting for a daughter to come back from her first date. We also don’t worry about who will take care of us when we will be old and sick. Somehow, I am sure we will figure it out.
Reason 4: Absence of Fascination.
We don’t share endless fascination with tiny bundles of joy, their coughs, sneezes, smiles, farts, tiny hands and plump fingers. There is nothing wrong with it. Not everyone was born to be a parent.