Challenging The Norm
If you’re over the age of 30 or have been married for more than 5 minutes, I’m sure you’ve been asked about children. When are you having them? Why don’t you have any now? Don’t you want a family? Are you trying?
Back off Aunt Karen, it creeps me the hell out that you’re asking me if I’m having wild unprotected sex with my wife. Seriously… It’s weird…
This incredibly intimate topic is poked and prodded at with such a blatant disregard for boundaries that I want to throat punch every person who asks.
My wife and I have been married for 7 years and we don’t have any kids (GASP). Can you believe it? Ok, I’ll give you a minute to pick you jaw up off the floor…
That’s right, we haven’t had children yet and our decision to detour from cultural norms has baffled friends and family members… It’s also led to some interesting conversations.
We Aren’t Ready For Children
Having a kid isn’t exactly like bringing a puppy home. I can’t leave the little turd machine home alone while my wife and I go to the grocery store. There is a certain amount of planning and preparation that should occur prior to bringing a child into the world.
My wife and I aren’t ready for a kid. We’ve been trying to rationally discuss IF we want to add children to our family, or if we are ok with our fur-babies and freedom.
We both love the freedom we have in our lives. Coming and going as we please, not being tied down to childcare or child related activities. It’s not appealing to us and I don’t feel bad about that.
We just aren’t ready yet but, that explanation falls upon deaf ears to my overly fertile friends. “If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never have a baby.”
Well if that isn’t the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever heard. How in the hell can you “never be ready” to have children?
Listen, you can’t just walk down to your local humane society and snag a puppy. You have to fill out an application. They ask you questions. They wanna know if your yard is nice, if you have any other pets, and if you’ve thought out this whole dog thing?
Why is it acceptable to just crank out a kid but, I have to fill out a fucking application to get a dog?! Where are we?? (Looks around)
We simply do not feel ready to change our lives and have a child. Some call it selfish, I call it being a rational adult…
My Wife is Scared
I had an OB (baby stuff) rotation in nursing school and I had to hold a ladies leg while she was giving birth. The shit that happened down there was insane. Literally, insane…
I felt like I had a front row seat to a live airing of The Alien. Having a baby is a marvelous thing, I’m not debating that, but it’s not beautiful…
After, I felt sick, confused, and full of questions. Questions like, how is there that much fluid in a human body, how did that come out of there, and the noises… my god the noises. (Shudder)
My wife is also a RN. She also understands exactly what happens during labor. That shit is terrifying. She is scared to death of THAT happening to HER.
I don’t blame her, actually I totally understand her fear because I had a hemorrhoid once and I thought I was going to die. Literally, I made a lot of promises to Jesus.
Anyway, my wife is afraid of being pregnant and giving birth. I think it’s a totally logical fear (remember I had a hemorrhoid once, so I know).
To further compound her fears, her mom had multiple miscarriages. What if she has the same issues? Will she be able to mentally handle that? Will I?
She’s also afraid of needles. I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed an epidural, but the needle is about a mile long.
She’s afraid of complications with her and the baby. What if something goes wrong? What if she gets sick, or the baby is sick? Can she handle that, can I?
I’m absolutely terrified of having children. I love my wife so much, and the fear of something happening to her because of a child is debilitating for me. I can’t fathom ever loving anything as much as I love her…
I’m afraid I won’t be a good father. I’m embarrassed to even admit that… You see, my dad’s an asshole. We’ve never got along and he pretty much made my life a living hell.
What if that shit is in me and I just don’t know it yet? What if I lack emotional stability like my dad? He ruined my life for years and I can’t fathom doing that to someone…
I don’t believe I have many, or any of his tendencies, but he is my father and mental illness walks the genetic line.
Finally, I’m afraid I just don’t like kids. Everyone says “it’s different when it’s yours”.
Yea, I’m sure it is… because it HAS to be. It’s not like you can just put it back, and no one is going to admit they don’t like being around their own kid. So, that argument is invalid.
Kids seem expensive
I couldn’t imagine having a child when we were paying off our debt. Would it have been possible? Sure, it just would have added a few years to the process.
Now that we are debt-free, I think we can afford children. We just don’t know if we want to afford children. I listen to my friends talk about $1,200/month daycare bills and I want to sit and rock in the corner.
The financial responsibility of a child doesn’t stop at daycare. Everything is expensive, from youth sports to college.
The cost of raising a child is estimated to be $233, 610. Holy. Shit. That’s not even including college. Vanguard has a nifty calculator to help project the future cost of college and in 2036, college is projected to cost over $215,000.
The total financial impact of a healthy child could be right around $448,610. If a kid costs that much does that reduce the possibility of achieving F.I?
I see a lot of F.I folks with kids and I’m curious how they did it? I’d love to know as it might ease my fears that my financial life would be getting put down like an old horse.
You’re Sooo Selfish
Probably the most upsetting thing I’ve been called is selfish. Selfish for not having children because we just don’t want to. Selfish because we are challenging cultural norms…
If you happen to be in the same childless boat as us, it’s ok. We aren’t alone. Our beautiful millennial generation is procreating at the lowest rate in American history.
In 2016, the CDC estimated only 62 births for every 1,000 women. Some say that it’s related to the economy, or the soul crushing student loan debt that haunts our generation… Or maybe we are all just deliberate with this decision?
If our generation is truly procreating at such a low rate, does that mean our entire generation is also the most selfish generation in American history? Shhhh, if you listen, you can hear the baby boomers screaming yes.
Calm down gramps, we are all out here just trying to live our best lives in a world that is light years different than the world you knew in your 20s-30s…
We aren’t selfish, we are insightful.
Will we have kids? I dunno… maybe? We talk about it a lot, but we can’t nail down a definitive yes or no. There are so many things that scare us, so many things that cause us to question what the “right” thing to do is.
Is there even a “right” thing to do? Shouldn’t a couple’s focus be on living their absolute best lives together? If that means bringing children into the world, great. If not, that should be ok too.
Maybe we are selfish, maybe we’re not ready to sacrifice our freedom. Back off Aunt Karen.