The first time I got asked “The Question” it took me by surprise. “You’re 30 now, and those eggs won’t last forever, when are you going to get down to making babies?”
I promptly choked on my turkey, turned a shade of red darker than my hair, and mumbled something about potentially needing a baby making partner first. When “artificial insemination” was mentioned as the cranberries were passed, I realized I was going to need a better answer. Flustered I mumbled something about paying off student loans, needing to buy a house, and something about wanting to be comfortable wearing my big girl pants first.
Fortunately the conversation was temporarily tabled, but for many people who are child free – by choice or by circumstance – the relentless questioning can be exhausting. And it being peek holiday get-together season, unfortunately the prying is extra intense this time of year.
For that reason, I asked our Community how they handle these questions, and the answers were enlightening.
“Honestly, pregnancy is a little scary. I know it’s a beautiful thing, but lets be honest. It’s also really terrifying. Some of us don’t look forward to that stage of life, not because of superficial reasons, but out of sheer terror. Maybe it’s immature, perhaps I should grow up. But at 36 years old, despite my desire to definitely have children, it doesn’t make my fear of that unknown place any less real.” – Bee Mandelberg
“My response lately has been ‘The Lord hasn’t told me who my husband who is.’ I’m 34 and I’m single. I have a lot of nieces, nephews and godchildren that I can spoil. My mom always said to enjoy my 20s, so I did. Now I’m in my 30s and I’m enjoying those as well. Do I want kids? Yes! Will I have any? I don’t know. In the mean the meantime I’ll spoil the other children I have claimed, continue to travel and enjoy my career.” – Kimberlee Stevenson
“I am too old to answer that question anymore. As a single, professional woman over the age of 40, I feel like this question is no longer appropriate no matter who is asking. I am finally comfortable with being able to tell people that asking about me having kids that it is an inappropriate question.” – Sharice Bradford
“I wouldn’t be doing the world any favors by adding more children to it. There are more children in the world than there are people to care for them. I don’t make decisions in my life based on what we are all supposed to do or the idea of what is societally normal. I make decisions based on happiness and what makes sense. I want love and happiness above everything. That is more important to me than checking off boxes: kids, house, dog, etc. And, I have never felt any sort of burning need or desire for children.” – Brooke Herron
“I don’t want children. I don’t need any of my own. I can always borrow one or two, and when they get annoying, hand them back to their progenitors. I am not maternal. I do not have the nesting instinct where I have this need to populate the world with someone who has part of my DNA. So, whenever anyone asks me if I have kids, I always reply, ‘None that I know of. I mean, no one’s ever knocked on my door and told me that I was their mom.’ If someone asks me if I like children, I reply, ‘Double-battered, dipped in panko, then lightly salted.’ If they persist, I have two answers, ‘Children smell at both ends, I don’t find that appealing,’ and the second answer is, ‘Jonathan Swift was right.’” – PJ Gach
“My husband and I are both intelligent people, and reasonably attractive as well – we get asked all the time why we don’t have children. We discussed it at length before we got married and a few times again after we got married – we just don’t want/aren’t ready for kids. We have a few answers which we use, depending on who is asking: We are still enjoying our freedom/sleep/money/dogs/travel. We don’t want to bring kids into the world right now with everything so out of control and miserable. I’m too old. We aren’t really kid people. We might adopt, or foster, later when we are more settled and stable. We are a military couple so our lives are dictated by things we cannot always control. Thankfully, my mother, and his mother, have come to terms with the fact that they have granddogs and not grandchildren.” – Andrea Vallejos
“I had a lot of excuses about not having kids. Ranging from anything to, ‘I don’t want to deal with a mini-dictator’ to ‘I can barely take care of myself, how could I possibly take care of a child?’ I still stick with the latter as I’m a child at heart with no fixed address. I chose travel over kidlets and whenever I hang out with my friends with kids, it solidifies my choices as good ones. I don’t feel like I’d be a good mentor to a child so it was best to deal with my own self development.” – Loraine Couturier
“I typically go with brutal honesty. I can barely take care of myself and I don’t really need a germ breeding kid needing my love and attention all the time. Basically, it’s not kids, it’s me.” – Laura Dembowski
“If I just tell people “I can’t afford kids” then I don’t have to explain how I also don’t want a ruined vagina and to have to be THOSE people at a restaurant for the next 18 years.” – Samantha Clarke