Evidence that John and I actually DO love children. (You know, outside of John being a teacher and me working in the school system for five years). 1. John and our nephew, Alijah on our last trip to Miami. 2. John and I with our Goddaughter at the Magic Kingdom after watching the 3 o’clock parade. 3. Reading a book we gave our Goddaughter. She LOVES Minnie Mouse! 4. Me and my younger brothers. Our seven and a half year age gap means that I spent a lot of time taking care of them. One of my brothers even gets me Mother’s Day gifts to thank me! Isn’t that sweet?
This July, John and I will celebrate five years of wedded bliss and October will mark our nine-year anniversary as a couple. Even with these milestones ahead of us, John and I still do not have plans for children in the immediate future. This is of no major concern to neither John nor I, as we both currently love our relationship, our careers, our traveling plans, our family, our friends, and our lives. However, there are some people who simply cannot wrap their heads around the idea that John and I have chose to wait to have children or the fact that some couples choose not to have children at all.
It didn’t take long for people to start questioning me about when I am going to have children. I feel like I barely made it down the aisle before people were questioning when I would enter motherhood. While many people would ask if it is something we have thought about and accept that we are currently not interested, others have been much more persistent.
One of the reasons that John and I do not currently have children is that we are both really busy in our careers. Neither of us wants to take any time off at such critical points in our careers. Also, despite loving what we do for a living, we both would like to earn more money before having children. Even after voicing these concerns, we are often met with statements like, “You will never have enough money for children” and “You’ll just have to make time”. People often insinuate that it is impossible to put enough money away to be comfortable with your decision to have a child and that there is no way that there will ever be a right time. I know that many couples get pregnant before they plan to and they can definitely find a way to make it work. However, I also know couples whom have planned, saved money, had children at a time that worked best for them, and are very happy with the results of that decision. Regardless of what people end up doing, I feel like it is a deeply personal choice that should be made by the two people who will be raising the child.
Even worse than the pressure to “just have a kid, already”, are the people who assume that I am not able to biologically have children. Time and time again I have been asked if I am infertile. To my knowledge I am not but I can’t imagine how devastating it must be for someone to be asked that question who is infertile and desperately wants a biological child. If people are asking me this question, they are undoubtedly asking it of someone who actually is struggling with this. Why someone would think it is appropriate to ask a woman who they do not know all that well about her fertility remains a mystery to me. What I also find interesting is that no one is interested in questioning John’s ability to conceive. In fact, most people assume that I am infertile or I don’t want a child when really, I think John is less enthusiastic about having children in the near future than I am.
My favorite is when I answer every question with as much information as I can and stand by my decision to not have children yet and my answers are met with a threat: “Just watch. It is going to happen anyways. You can’t control it.” Now I am not a scientist or a doctor but the general consensus is that many forms of birth control are highly effective when used properly. I have quite a few friends and family members who have had unexpected but happy pregnancies and all but one was not properly using birth control. Is it possible that it could happen to John and I? Sure. Is it probable? Not really. Should you laugh in the face of someone who doesn’t currently want children and tell them it doesn’t matter what they want? Not at all.
Whether we have children next year or five years from now, I will be sure to only involve John and I in the decision making process. We already plan to adopt at least one child and I know that with that will come a new set of ridiculous questions and demands. In the mean time, we will continue to be surrounded by the awesome children of our friends and family, the students that John teachers, and the high school students that I mentor. Luckily, we both know that you don’t need to have your own children in order to believe that children are wonderful.