childfree

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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You don’t want kids?? But why? I’ll help you take care of them!

Yeah right! Because all my problems will be solved because “you” would baby-sit my kid sometime. What an encouragement! I am convinced that I should stop typing and go have unprotected sex right now!!

Now see, people give me really strange looks when they come to know that I never want kids. They even sympathise with this good soul who according to them has taken a wrong road. They ask me why I don’t want kids, knowing very well that no explanation is going to be good enough for them. They try to tell me how I’d be missing out on the most beautiful thing in the world: the power of creation. They try to cajole me by saying that they’re sure I’d be a brilliant mother. They try to tell me that I’ll feel differently 3-4 years down the line. They then paint pictures of how cute my kid would be [now that is true ;)]. My mum says that she would totally take care of my child and that every couple should have one child.

When I talk about someone’s babies, they say, “See! you like children.” When did I ever say I didn’t? But that’s not reason enough to have one of your own full-time. And this is just wrong comparison based on convenient, flawed logic. I would take very good care of a kid if someone asked me to babysit. But that’s it…I would do it well only because I know it’s only temporary. And I don’t understand why anyone should give birth just to fulfill other people’s wishes? Doesn’t this seem odd to their well-developed maternal instinct (unlike mine which is “still struggling” to bloom, you know because I am immature and childish!)…to give birth to a human being not because you wanted one; but because other people thought you needed one.

I feel very bad when even people whom I regard as highly logical and practical judge me. Or try to talk to me out of my “dont-want-kids”bug. Why is it difficult to understand? Do we ever ask people why they WANT¬† kids? And how many people give answers apart from: they’re cute, they support you in your old age, they give a purpose to life and such other ghise pite jawaab! Then why is so much attention paid to people who feel otherwise.

People who say they don’t want to have kids don’t necessarily do this because they hate kids, or they think they’re incapable of loving kids. So quit saying things like, “You will obviously love your kid.” That is totally beside the point. The point here is having/not having kids is simply a matter of choice. And not having kids is not a big deal just like having them isn’t (and I am not talking about the physical pain aspect here).

I know exactly what I want to do with my life. I am always going to want to have a relaxed life where if I want to go camping now, I can go camping now without thinking of a zillion other things. I want to spend all the money I earn on travelling. I don’t want any more responsibilities than what I already have. I don’t want to think about schooling, homework, child safety, vaccination, baby sitters etc. When I say this, my mother says that you can do all of these things once the baby is 3 years old. WRONG! This is just misleading people into making what might turn out to be the biggest mistake of their lives. Babies are precious, just like any life is. And the decision to have them should come naturally, from the bottom of your heart, with the willingness to compromise and give up on a lot of things. A LOT OF THEM.

The reasoning that, “Everybody has children and they still travel” is just wrong. The very assumption that I should be able to do it and should want to do it, because others do is simply not good enough. Nor is the emotional question ,” You wouldn’t be here if we had thought the same way”. Most people who have children, apart from the ones who have them because they succumb to social pressure, love kids. They cannot imagine a life without them much as I cannot imagine my life with them. It’s as simple as that. And the decision, whether it’s to have or not have kids should be treated just like any basic choice. What do you think?