Monday, August 16, 2010

Our Road to Being Childless by Choice

Note:  This was originally a note of mine on Facebook, but I thought I would add it to my blog (edited).

I went to college for Early Childhood Education and that pretty much burned me out on kids. I was still intending to have them until the hubby and I really started discussing it and it occurred to me that it was actually a choice - not mandatory. Imagine that. I can't believe that concept had never occurred to me.  (Along the same lines as it never occurred to me that I could get married someplace other than a church, but maybe we'll talk about that another time.)  I talked to many people from all walks of life - with kids, adopted kids, no kids by choice, no kids not by choice. Almost all of the parents I spoke with said "I love my kids, but if I had it to do over again I don't know if I would have had them. I'm not even exaggerating here - I was truly shocked by this.  In speaking with non-parents I never heard a single regret. I finally decided that I would rather regret not having kids than regret having them.

The hubby had always taken the stance that he was willing to have children if I wanted them.  The thought of having children with someone who would only be having them for my sake put the nail in the coffin.

At 25 I asked my gyno to do a tubal ligation and he said no, through the receptionist without even talking to me. I told him that no was not an option and he would at least be sitting down with me. In that appointment we were able to convince him that we had put a lot of serious thought into this and weren't going to change our minds. If he didn't do it I would find someone who would. He agreed but said he "couldn't fit me in for 3 months." I think he figured once the appointment was made it would seem more real and I would back out. I did not and we haven't had an ounce of regret since.

Something funny (in retrospect) - the day of the surgery I'm lying on the table and the anesthesiologist comes in. He asks my my age and how many kids I have. I told him 25 and none. He said "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS???" I sat up and said angrily "DON'T MAKE ME FIGHT WITH YOU TOO!" He shut up and gave me the injection.

So our only kids are four legged and furry. I have nieces and nephews whom I adore and they fill the kid void nicely and when I'm done, I send them home. Nothing to pay for, no illnesses, no missing out on life because I have "responsibilities". Life is whatever we want from it.

We were very fortunate to have family and friends who have fully supported our choice.  I know a few women who made similar choices and are still being pressured for grandkids or being told by the people around them that they'll "change their mind", "it's different when the child is yours" and "you must hate children".  So sad.

There are many parents who had children for all the right reasons and I am truly happy for them. But there are far too many parents who had their children for all the wrong reasons whether it be accident or societal pressures or any of a hundred other bad reasons (My personal favourite is "to take care of me when I'm old" - Hate to break it to you, but there are loads of people in retirement homes whose kids never come to see them). 

For these reasons I am very vocal about the choice we made and stress the fact that it is a choice.


  1. Love the acronym :)

    Just to share the other side of the coin with you. Christian (my oldest son) was a total surprise. We weren't trying to get pregnant, but I sure wanted kids. I'd even quit smoking three months prior to get my act in gear before trying to get pregnant.

    I miscarried between my two pregnancies and was pregnant with Jimmy very shortly after. Again, birth control failed. But I was blessed with my second little miracle.

    Kerry, I didn't plan my boys per se but I wouldn't trade them for the world. And while I do not regret having them, I do admit I enjoy it immensely when they have an over night with their grandparents.

    My boys fill my life with such joy - the giggles, snuggles, and wrestling that is pure boy. They also squabble, and drive me banannas, but they've pushed me to be a better mom, wife and woman. I wouldn't trade them for all the money in the world.

    I'm thrilled you're as comfortable with the choices you've made, but I just wanted to reassure you that there are just as many of us with kids who feel the same way about our choices. H

  2. Wow! 2 failed birth controls? You are one fertile chick!

    I'm glad to hear it. There's another mother in my life with a very similar absolute joy from parenting. I'm thrilled for you both.

    I want to be clear that the parents who had regrets were not angry or resentful about their choices. They would probably beat you senseless if you tried to take their kids away. It was more a quiet longing for what their lives could have been had they made a different choice.

    It's a lot of hard work being a parent and I'm glad there are so many of you out there loving your kids to pieces! :)

    p.s. I didn't know you smoked?!?!?!? Good for you for quitting!!! :)