How To Handle Questions About Being Childfree
The decision not to have children is a personal one, but that doesn’t mean you won’t face an onslaught of well-meaning but, let’s face it, often rude questions and comments. It’s not a small decision to be sure. Whatever choice you make determines the future course of your life, but some women are drawn to a life of childfreedom...which is totally valid! Whether you’re searching for a constructive response to questions about not having children or are still evaluating your motherhood options, here are some ways to handle others’ inquiries about your childfree life.
“Who’s Going To Take Care Of You When You’re Old?”
First of all, if this is your primary reason to have children, that’s not a great motivation. You’re banking on a lot of things going right here: having a fantastic relationship with your child, and that child being financially stable enough to be able to take care of you. Eldercare is expensive. As a childfree person, the money saved by not having kids can be put towards a sweet retirement home when the time comes.
“Not Having Kids Is Selfish”
This is one of the most common comments that childfree couples hear. There’s also merchandise out there with the slogan, “Only the best parents get promoted to grandparents.” This sentiment is definitely problematic! You don’t owe children to society, your parents, or your partner. Reproductive choices are not a commentary on your parents’ goodness.
If someone implies that your decision not to have children is selfish, here’s an example of a considerate but firm response:
“I think that children should be wanted, and I’ve never wanted to have them. It’s not something you can try on for a while and change your mind if you don’t like it. It’s a huge commitment. Having children if you can’t truly commit to them...to me, that’s selfish.”
“You Haven’t Met The Right Partner Yet”
Don’t you love it when people think we can’t make our own decisions as adults? We don’t want kids, so our partners couldn’t possibly be good for us, right? We have not yet met the magic person who makes our ovaries swoon! The implication here is that we can’t be trusted. Don’t take this too seriously. Instead, be confident in yourself. Your choices are fine and you know what you’re doing.
“I Didn’t Want Them Either, And Look At Me Now!”
This comment comes from women who originally didn’t want kids but decided to have them after all. One response to this is to evade it a bit by just saying, “Yeah, you never know.” They think they’ve been where we are and have come out the other side knowing something we don’t. Consider giving them a pass here since they actually do know what it’s like to be a mother. We can usually shrug this off as well-meaning.
“You’ll Regret It Later”
This one can go either way because, honestly, you might. It’s always hard to know at the time what choices we will and won’t regret; however, odds are good that if you’ve chosen a childfree life you’ve thought about it from all angles and made your best decision. Trust yourself.
“You Can’t Experience Or Know True Love Until You’ve Had Children”
It’s hard not to get upset at such comments that seem to dismiss your humanity, and though it’s sometimes easy to walk away from the conversation, these are also opportunities to educate. Maybe simply saying, “There are many types of love, and I’m grateful for the true and honest love I experience.” would send a starting hint.
These tools will help you take on questions and comments about being childfree. If you’ve decided not to have children, we’d love to hear about your experience -- share with us in the comments or on social!
Becky Holder is a content contributor for JUGs and works in education. In her free time she looks for the next best cup of coffee and great food. Follow along @rebeccalizholder on Instagram.