In a previous post, you will have learned that I am 29 years old (as of September 16th). Ben turns 32 this week and we have been married for 3 1/2 years. If it isn’t my age that brings up the question, it’s how long we’ve been married. I/we are lucky to have the choice, so here is the true and false version of why we don’t have kids (right now). DISCLAIMER: I am being brutally honest, fully read through before you judge. Actually, don’t judge at all, it’s bad for your health <– truth!
We Don’t Want Kids – False
The truth is, we could be happy either way. BUT, I believe that life is always lived better with a loving family. In the end, I think we would be more likely to regret not having kids than having kids.
Focused On Career – True
This cliché is true for two reasons: (1) As a mother, I would be the first example to my children. The day I am responsible for inspiring my children, I want them believe they can pursue their dreams no matter what anyone else says. (2) Not everyone is lucky to have the time to create a stable living prior to bringing kids into the world. We do. We have one shot to do it right the first time, so why rush it?
Waiting For The Right Time – False
This is the greatest understatement I have come to realize as a married adult – there is never a “right” time to have kids. I don’t think anyone is ever truly ready – there is only a level of desire and willingness to welcome the challenge.
It’s Expensive – True
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with the career point. We have the opportunity to create a comfortable welcome party for our children. Caring for your children doesn’t stop when they turn 18 (or maybe it does for certain family dynamics). Life has a way of throwing us unexpected curveballs, and for my children, the first place I hope they know they can find help is home. *Side note: If you’re self-employed like me, basic health insurance can cost more than the average mortgage – think on that.
Trouble Getting Pregnant – False
Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve spent 29 years doing everything you’re supposed to do to NOT get pregnant. If/when the day comes that we decide to stop trying not to have kids, I pray the experience is a safe and healthy one from start to finish.
We Want To Travel – True
Travel is another example I want to offer my family. Travel, in my mind, is a responsibility. For the spiritual person, exploring the world is like learning something new about your Creator. Exposure to different cultures humbles the heart and opens the mind; it instigates inspiration and ignites ambition. These are traits I want to share with my children and encourage them to experience for themselves.
We’re On A “Plan” – False
This might be the most important point. Let me be blunt, WE HAVE NO IDEA WHEN WE’LL HAVE KIDS. Zero, zip! We are simply trusting God and waiting for the peace and grace we need to take on that season. Simply put, we have not yet had peace about starting a family.
Time To Enjoy Being Married – Sorta True
I think this is a legitimate reason to wait, but it hasn’t ever really been an excuse for me. I suppose if this is a summary of my previous points (career + travel + expense), since we do so much of this together, then it’s true. Trying to support each other in business, enjoy traveling together, and spend/save how we need to, makes this point sorta true.
Afraid To Have Kids – True
This may or may not be the most persuasive argument for not having children. Apart from what happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, having children has a laundry list of scary things tied to it: kids change the dynamic of your relationships and creates endless opportunities to worry, everything you do molds who they become…and I don’t even want to think what it feels like watching your kid get sick, hurt, cry, drive, date, move out, move away, get married. I.CANT.EVEN! I’ve been reassured that these fears mean I take parenting very seriously, and therefore would be a good mom. Thanks, I think.
I’d like to recognize the inspiration for this entire post – single parents. For whatever reason someone becomes a single parent, they have the hardest job on the planet. They are both Mom and Dad, comforter and disciplinarian, buy and cook every meal, pay for activities and be there to watch. These parents don’t have backup when they’re sick or have an emergency. They have to answer questions no parent should have to answer: “Where’s my mom/dad?” “Who is my mom/dad?” “Why didn’t they stay?” “Why did this happen to us?” “Did they love me?” “How can I trust other relationships?”
And God bless anyone who supports the single parent: grandparents, family, friends, non-profits, co-workers – you are a true saving grace.
Jordan Pirtle says
I always enjoy reading about your perspectives and insights. I stand beside you in all of your thoughts, worries, reasons. For me I could add in the fact that my husband has a 20 year old son, he’s raised a child already and I’m not sure I’d want to make him start that process over again. Bonus for me: Kyle was 10 when he entered my life. I got the fun years and the ease of having a son to raise. He was EASY! So, then the thought turns to not only asking my husband to start all over, but what if OUR a child is not as easy? Selfish, yes. That ok? Yes.
Then there is me. I’ve never entertained the idea of children. It’s always been a “not sure” but deep down, it was a no. It wasn’t until I turned 35 (I’m 36) that thoughts of growing old alone, sparse family gatherings, not feeling that whole other dimension of love that exists out there came into play. But, none of those thoughts have outweighed my decision of not having children. Yet. And what if they do? Well then, that’s a bridge I’d have to cross at that time. And I’m in no hurry to cross it.
You are so amazing Jordan- and like I mentioned about single parents – those who support them are a saving grace. Your man and his son have a fuller life because you were willing to fill a role that not many do (marrying a single parent). I also think that sometimes children come in other forms. For some women, it’s adoption, foster care, missions trips or animal rescue. For others, it’s nurturing their community or being a teacher. We can easily inspire future generations with motherly love, even if it isn’t biological.
Kristin Kruse says
Such a great post, Michelle! It definitely is frustrating with how many misconceptions people have or expectations that are set FOR another couple. With Kyle & I people are constantly asking why we don’t have kids yet since we’ve been married 4 1/2 years but little do they know that we would’ve loved to have kids 2 years ago but the journey so far has been really rough. It’s all in YOUR time and no one else’s and I love your perspective and thoughtfulness behind your decisions, whatever those are and whenever! 🙂
Sadly, people don’t realize what’s going on in private. There are women who want to scream, “Will you leave me alone?! I don’t want to share that we’re struggling!” At face value, our family and friends just want to show that they care when they ask these questions, but most are naive until they experience or witness the flip side first-hand. I feel for you sister and pray you have breakthrough!
I. Love. You. So. Does. Lillian. Thank you. Just because I am in a relationship does not mean anything really in my case. Until I am married, I will still be a single parent. We do not live together and it’s always just me and Lil. Thank god for grandparents. Having a child made me appreciate my parents one million percent more for putting up with me. And there was two of them. When something’s up with Lilly I can’t just turn to my partner and say, “here. Your turn.” Does that make sense?
Totally! That goes along with the whole, “they don’t have a backup when they’re sick or have an emergency” bit. Being the parent of a single parent is also an example of how the job never ends. You don’t imagine having to be a step-in-parent as a grandparent. But again, life and it’s curveballs. These are the things we should be willing to take on when we decide to become parents (if we have the luxury of deciding).
Michelle @ Lillian Abbey says
Thank you for sharing this. It took me a long time to be ready for a child. It was definitely a leap of faith. I love being a mom now but I felt so weird because all of my friends were so SURE they wanted kids whereas I was terrified. It’s nice to know there are others that felt like I did!
TOTALLY WITH YOU! I definitely wondered if it was a sign that I shouldn’t have kids if I’m not super pumped about it like my friends seem to be.
I love this post and agree with you that judging is bad for your health : ) It really bugs me when people are so nosy about if you’re having kids, when you’re having kids, and if you’re trying. There are so many reasons this isn’t a good idea. First of all, people could be trying and having trouble, which can bring up negative feelings and emotions. Second of all, it’s not your business! I always found it so strange when people asked if we were ‘trying’ because that means they’re asking if we’re actively having unprotected sex…not your business!!
My friend and I got married 2 months apart 5 years ago. I now have 2 kids and she has none. We are both happy. I know that she would eventually like to have kids, but it will be in her own time. For my part, we didn’t intend to start our family quite as soon as we did, but it has all worked out for the best!
Very cool comparison story. Thank you for sharing!
This is such an honest post. Love it!
Thank you – I started this “real talk” kind of topic because I have these thoughts/feelings from time to time that I just need to write about. Not always popular but I think sometimes more important.
Ashley B. says
I love this! Really, you should not have to justify your reasons for not having kids to anyone. Its so annoying! And half the time the question comes directly after them going on a rant about something parenting related. Having kids is a huge decision and definitely not one to make because other ppl think you should. Great post!
Thank you! I don’t know how many times I listen to family or friends rant about how hard of a day/week/year they have had, being exhausted, broke, unable to do anything for themselves etc. then follow it up with this classic response: “But it’s all worth it!” haha
Same boat here, I’ve been married 8 1/2 years (I’m 33) and we’re still discussing having children. It’s hard not to feel pressure from the outside and I don’t like that I have to constantly explain myself about why we don’t have children yet!