The pressure to procreate is real, and it sucks. I’ve spent most of my life knowing that I didn’t want kids of my own. I wish I was able to distill that feeling into something tangible, but the truth is, I can’t. I enjoy kids. I love hanging out with my friends’ kids. I will happily babysit take care of them for an afternoon or evening so their parents can enjoy some adult time. But as far as making a baby and seeing that kid through, from birth until age 18? Nope.
And nobody gets it.
When my wife and I got married, the first question everyone asked was, “So how soon until you guys get pregnant?” Co-workers, family, even friends who had known for years that I didn’t want to have kids asked the question. When you’re asked that question enough times, you begin to wonder if anyone’s paying attention at all.
And it’s not just the question we get over and over. It’s little assumptions that everyone makes, like that we don’t like kids at all, because we’ve chosen not to have any. My extended family thinks this way, and it’s been really hard to convince them otherwise. They don’t want to bother us with babysitting, meanwhile, we’d love to spend time with our nieces. We don’t need to have kids of our own to prove that we still love kids, but that pressure continues to exist.
We’re also sometimes left out of gatherings of friends with kids, because, again, people assume we won’t have a good time. But I love getting kid fixes during social gatherings!
The fact is, other parents out there need to understand that part of the village that can help out with raising children include those who are childless. We bring different life experiences to the table, and they can be incredibly valuable to pass on to your children. And while we may be a bit awkward around your kids at first, pretty soon we’ll be playing I Spy and Go Fish with the best of them. And you’ll finally get to go on that date.