The angst of the childfree

I am deliberately using the term child-free because child-less seems to have some sort of a negative connotation, deeply rooted in the assumption that every couple wants children, and not being able to have them is something to pity. So by child-free, I mean pertaining to willingly deciding not to have children because of the personal preference for a life without them.

So, I am in this new job and I suddenly see myself surrounded by people, who all have children. No one has asked me the much dreaded, “so when do you plan to have kids?” question; but only because they assume that I would have them. They are all just giving me time, you know, for being fairly newly married. I find myself zoning out when people talk parenthood and kids. And that’s what most women and men (thankfully, at least no gender bias there) talk about. So, I am a misfit yet again.

There is this fairly nice lady at work who was yapping away with another about their kids. I just asked in a friendly humorous way if they were complaining about their kids. It was a plain, simple statement. And she said that mothers didn’t complain bout their children. I was slightly taken aback and retorted that my mother did anyway. But then I realized that I shouldn’t have said anything. I should just have smiled politely and moved away.

I really need to learn to live with people and continue doing what I want, oblivious to what the society says about me. But it’s so damn hard. On one hand I want to be part of the group, talk to everyone, but on the other, I’d rather some subjects weren’t broached at all. Not because I don’t have an answer, but because there is room for only one answer when it comes to children…that everyone MUST have children. Sad that the people who are so religious and God-fearing have little or no tolerance to a different point of view even if it doesn’t even concern them and is about somebody’s own personal life. Sigh!

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6 comments

  1. Another childfree worker here! I’ve often been in similar situations. Fortunately, right now I work in a place with many non-parents. I use that word because I don’t know if these specific co-workers are truly childfree by choice, or involuntarily childless. (I suspect there’s a mix, but I don’t want to make too many assumptions.) So, while the parents among us sometimes drone on about their kids, I don’t hear those conversations as often as I did in past workplaces. Still, it’s not easy to endure when it happens. And it takes a great deal of effort to keep my mouth shut, especially when no one is questioning me directly.

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    1. I know! I am totally with you on how much effort it takes to not just blurt out. In fact I am even scared that if I ever so much as mentioned that I didn’t want to have children, I may be labeled as a child-hater. 😦

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  2. This totally resonates with me. I haven’t really had to explain anything to anyone yet. But I love the coinage ‘Childfree’. With me, I always thought I will want to have children soon after getting married but strangely I have really not felt the need yet. And I don’t see myself feeling the need anytime soon.

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      1. Not exactly no one. Like your visit to your husband’s village, I too have had the gaon wali chachi asking the first time, and everytime. about ‘do se teen’. And then there are these random people, mothers of colleagues who when visit from there gaon, would whisper in my ear with a straightface almost as if giving me an order that I must have a kid!
        I only meant that I haven’t had to explain to colleagues and friends and people of our generation on a regular basis.

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      2. Uggh! That’s horrible. Looks like you have had more number of such experiences. It’s funny how your uterus becomes everybody’s business. i especially feel like giving shocking, inappropriate responses to such jobless chachis.

        Liked by 1 person

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