I've been with my husband for almost nine years - we dated for six and have been married for almost three. Of course, there are people who periodically ask whether we plan to have children. This question in and of itself does not bother me, but the reaction to my response occasionally does.
I have never been a "kid person". I knew from a very early age that I did not want children and I have been honest about my feelings when I am asked the "kid question." Surprisingly, my friends with children never give me grief. It is usually people I've just met or casual acquaintances who have issues. They tend to look at me with a mixture of horror and pity, as if the concept of someone not wanting kids is so completely alien that they cannot comprehend it. When they ask "Why?", I usually try to navigate the awkward conversation tactfully with a tinge of self-deprecating humor. Inevitably, people who push the issue will say "But kids are so great!", "Once you have your own child, you'll understand.", or "Oh, you'll change your mind eventually!"
It may not be their intention, but by looking at me with pity or saying I'll change my mind, these people are saying my choice isn't valid. That isn't the case. I can be satisfied with my life and feel fulfilled without having a child. Ultimately, what I don't understand about this kind of reaction is how one-sided it is. It's not as if I approach people with children and say, "Why would you want to have kids?" If I did, these people would be highly offended, and rightly so. Who am I to question their life choices?
It's also a matter of knowing what I'm good at, and by extension, what I'm not. Some people just aren't cut out to have kids, and I happen to be one of them. On the maternal instinct scale, I rate about a 2.5 - on my best day. I'm also a neurotic mess. I worry about everything, I have weird phobias, and I don't like messes. That's not the best environment to raise a kid. The way I see it, I was extremely lucky to find a partner that's willing to deal with my issues. Do I really want to push my luck by throwing a child into the mix?
I can usually brush off the disparaging reactions by reminding myself that these people don't really know me, but there is one statement that makes me angry. I've heard from several people that my decision to not have children is "unfair" to Kris because he would make such a good dad and I am denying him that opportunity. For the record, Kris would make a great dad. He's got a big heart, he's fun, and he's really good with kids. I'm sure if we had kids, he would be delighted. But he's also an adult, and from the very beginning of our relationship, I made my stance on having children clear. I gave him several opportunities to end the relationship if having kids was important to him and each time I brought it up, he said he was fine either way. The bottom line is that my decision to not have children has nothing to do with being fair or unfair to Kris. He loves me enough that he chose to be with me, even if it means he won't have children of his own.
For those of you who have any doubt, trust me. I love my friends' children. I enjoy seeing their pictures and I love spending time with them. I also love my life. I feel complete with Kris and I am sure of who I am. No pity or convincing necessary.