On the topic of having kids, let's respect each other and our differences
I'm diving into a topic that's close to my heart, knowing it's a sensitive one and relying just on my opinions. I'm not speaking for anyone else and I'm not trying to offend anyone. But. This needs to be said, so here goes.
As a young married woman, I'll be totally honest – I resent the idea that I need to have kids to make my life, or purpose on earth, or family, complete.
Rob and I have made the conscious decision not to have kids right now because the time just isn't right. We both work all kinds of crazy hours and live in a tiny house. We're still saving money for our future, and honestly, just aren't ready. And at age 26, I feel like we have tons of time.
I happen to know a few other young couples who don't plan on having kids, not ever. I'm totally OK with that – how could that be anything but the right decision for those two people?
I don't disrespect anyone who decides to have kids; I'm asking the same respect to be returned to me for the decisions I've made with my husband. I think one of the most hurtful, obtuse things anyone has every said to me is, “It must be easier for you to cover school board meetings because you don't have a family.”
Last time I checked, my spouse counts as family. And for me, so do my dog and cat. So does the sister I talk to on a daily basis and my parents who support my every decision and have never pressured me to have kids. I've always known that my self-worth doesn't hinge on being a mother, and I appreciate my parents' attitude for helping me get there.
I've heard your life changes in innumerable ways when you have kids, and I believe it. But I don't for one instant believe I'm less of a person because I've not been there. That's just not fair.
And while we're on the topic, let me remind you – even if you know a young, married woman who may or may not be thinking about having kids, please never ask if she's expecting.
As a someone who has what women's magazines call an “apple shape” (I happen to take after my dad, as I inherited what he calls his “big, fine body.”), this question hurts. If someone hasn't told you, never ask. Never. It's incredibly rude. And if you're the person who asks me, I'll likely tell you so.
We live in a society that, for the most part, emphasizes and celebrates diversity. We all should remember that when it comes to kids, we make the decisions that are best for us. I won't criticize yours, so please don't criticize mine.
Photo is one of my favorites from our snowy wedding day and is by Robert K. O'Daniell.