BellaOnline

Weak moment

Posted By: happytobechildfree

Weak moment - 06/04/07 06:33 PM

Someone asked me "the question" this weekend, and I didn't handle it well at all.

It was my friend's cousin, and I've only met her once before. And they were asking me about my engagement, and the one, who has two kids, kept referring to when I have kids.

But then she asked me, are you going to have kids. And I was really wishy washy about it b/c I didn't want to hurt her feelings. I felt like I had to justify why I don't want them, and I was almost apologetic about it.

And the mood changed after we talked about it. And I really think I was as kind as I could be about it. But she was different toward me after we talked about it.

I think they get mad b/c they think we are downing their choice. And I'm telling you, I really wasn't derogatory about it at all.

Help! I know this is going to heat up with the wedding on the way.
Posted By: pinkbows

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 07:08 PM

Maybe, "Let's just get throught the wedding, ok?" Or, "I am so full of happiness with the wedding and the idea of living with so-and-so and sharing our lives, that I am purposly not going to answer that question because the present is just perfectly wonderful, I don't want to miss a moment of it daydreaming about changing everything by addind a new person into the mix. Haven't you ever though it's funny how society makes that leap? Then you can take the conversation into how we always rush things. Like how people ask a kid in elementary school if they have a boyfriend. And they always are asking high schoolers where they want to go to college. Then as soon as someone gets engaged they want to talk the wedding details. Then, about babies. I do think it's a phenomenon that stems from not having anything to say, so you ask the person an "easy" question to start the chatter going.

I have especially noticed this with church friends and neighbors, and I myself have done it to people (before y'all opened my eyes that this is not a polite conversation topic), because what else do you say to someone while you are held captive at a wedding shower? Very few people put effort into the art of conversation to be able to talk about current events, movies, books, philosphy, etc. And if you only see a person once a year at a Christmas party, for instance, you have very little to say to them to begin with.
Posted By: happytobechildfree

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 07:29 PM

Hi Pinkbows,

I think you are right - people are just trying to make conversation. And in most conversations, it probably really helps, because most people love to talk about their kids, whether their kids are in an adorable phase, or acting out. People love to talk about their problems with their kids, too.

But it's just awkward when you say you don't want kids. It's a total buzz kill. People get silent, and funny.

It is weird when people make that leap. I would like to enjoy my life with my DH2B after we get married.

Oh, and the other thing, this woman kept telling me I had plenty of time. I will be 36 in September. This just shows how uneducated people are if they think you can just have kids into your 40s. It's really not a good idea, and I would never take that chance with my own life. But you can't talk about that either, because this woman is 40, and has a 3 and 6 year old. Which means she had her kids during that critical time period.
Posted By: jezthepuff

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 07:55 PM

I'm always really up front about it, but still careful. Typically I'll say something like "no, we decided not to have children. I don't think everybody is cut out for parenthood." That way, it's not "downing" their decision, but it's not downing mine either.
Posted By: happytobechildfree

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 08:23 PM

Originally Posted By: jezthepuff
I'm always really up front about it, but still careful. Typically I'll say something like "no, we decided not to have children. I don't think everybody is cut out for parenthood." That way, it's not "downing" their decision, but it's not downing mine either.


Good call! That's such a good point, because the nonparent point of view needs a lot more help than the parent.

Still, I just felt really uncomfortable. Most of the people in my life that know me, know how I feel about the idea of being a parent.
Posted By: nosy

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 09:47 PM

Why do you think it will heat up?
Posted By: happytobechildfree

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 09:59 PM

B/c I am getting married. I've been feeling left out for a long time b/c all of my peers have been having kids, but no one really said anything to me about having kids b/c I wasn't married. I mean, they treated me different b/c I wasn't part of the baby making posse, but I wasn't married, so why would I have a baby.

Now, I think people will expect it b/c it's what every other unimaginative soul does.

And if someone I barely know is asking this question on the heels of my engagement, I've got to think others will be, too.

I hope I can be stronger next time around.
Posted By: Cookiecody

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 10:07 PM

The questions will heat up. I got married two years ago, age 35. But unbelieveably to me, I would get the kids question BEFORE I was married! (Maybe because now DH and I were together 7 years before we got married.) Anyway, the questions did heat up a lot around my wedding, because people just assume kids are the natural progression after marriage. And with 60-somethings having babies nowadays, 40 doesn't seem like the "can't have kids anymore" stop sign it used to be. I was amazed at the strangers who would ask me the kids question, and not believe me when I said no. My close friends and coworkers seem to have accepted my answer, as I have never wavered in my certainty that I don't want kids, and I don't fawn over babies when they're brought to the office. They know my dogs are my kids. :-)

Just be sure of yourself, and calmly tell them no, you don't want kids, and you know your mind well enough that you feel it's not going to change. Or any of the other polite responses people have provided here. Don't worry about making the asker feel "bad" because it's really none of their business, and you're doing them a favor by replying!

Cindy
Posted By: bonsai

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 10:15 PM

Originally Posted By: happytobechildfree
Now, I think people will expect it b/c it's what every other unimaginative soul does.

And if someone I barely know is asking this question on the heels of my engagement, I've got to think others will be, too.

I hope I can be stronger next time around.


I'm just about sure you can. I'd work on a brief "elevator speech" and a longer list of talking points you can use with people with whom you might have a longer conversation. I don't think well on my feet, so this is what I had to do.

For what it's worth, I had more questions right after my first marraige (I was 25). Then it dropped off. A huge number of my friends haven't had kids, either --- although few of them are overtly, vocally CF.

It *will* get better! But you're right to be concerned about the next few years. Once people understand that your marriage is your marriage, and you have a mind of your own, they'll leave you alone. Be strong!
Posted By: Andie

Re: Weak moment - 06/04/07 11:27 PM

Hi Happy,

After firmly stating your position, maybe you could slide in another conversation topic, maybe ease the moment a bit? Something totally different or even something kid-related like "my DH and I have decided to be child-free - it's just the best fit for us. Besides, we love having time to enjoy our neices/nephews. Why jsut the other day wonderchild did this or that .... " (that is, of course, if you are kids in your life you do enjoy spending time with!) Then the other person is more likely to keep going.

Of course, if any kid conversation bores you to tears, maybe some other topic could work. Hmm... "we've chosen to be child-free, as it's the best fit to our lifestyle. We'd really like to travel - are there any places you've been that you'd recommend?" (and if they say, "no, we don't travel, we have kids" you could always sigh, look at them sadly and say "that's too bad." hee hee hee hee ....)

Andie
Posted By: nosy

Re: Weak moment - 06/05/07 02:08 PM

I see - I thought you meant that particular issue/person would heat up. My advice, you know what you want to do, it's perfectly ok, and if you are confident and conduct yourself as such you shouldn't have much difficulty. People will ask about kids, be prepared, be yourself, and you will be fine.

You're not committing the crime of the century, you just don't want to have kids. Hold your head up and enjoy life! If you expect difficulty you'll get it. If you feel good about your choices and act like it people will have to deal w/it. Good luck smile
Posted By: happytobechildfree

Re: Weak moment - 06/05/07 02:27 PM

Thanks to all of you for your support. I think I fell into the trap of wanting to be liked, and I was afraid of showing my true colors. I know that someone can't truly like or respect if they don't know you, though.

Even my good friend that was there gets quiet whenever I say I don't want kids. It's like, you say you want kids, everyone applauds. You say you don't want kids, everyone is silent.

And they feel the need to fix it, or to encourage you that you will want them later. They don't understand that we don't want them, and it isn't a problem to be fixed. It's so frustrating!

Posted By: flyingaway

Re: Weak moment - 06/05/07 03:03 PM

Originally Posted By: happytobechildfree
Even my good friend that was there gets quiet whenever I say I don't want kids. It's like, you say you want kids, everyone applauds. You say you don't want kids, everyone is silent.

And they feel the need to fix it, or to encourage you that you will want them later. They don't understand that we don't want them, and it isn't a problem to be fixed. It's so frustrating!



I know exactly what you mean about that Happy. It's like a social faux pas or something to admit it out loud. It certainly changes the mood. My only guess is the reaction is a combination of emotions like pity, jealousy, and the assumption that you must not like their kids. It feels like I'm bringing a cloud of gloom into the room, and that's very unlike me.

I wonder if part of it is because a lot of us are very conscious about the environment...I would imagine parents need to be more in denial about that, and don't want to hear about it. I think they don't want to really hear our reasons, because it makes them feel bad for having kids.

I always find myself assuring people that I do in fact like kids. It helps but feels like a cop-out. I do like kids a lot actually, but know that being around them 24/7, along with all the accompanying duties, would not make me a happier person.
Posted By: happytobechildfree

Re: Weak moment - 06/05/07 03:04 PM

Another thing I forgot to mention -

When the gal asked me about my position on kids, I asked her if she always knew she wanted kids. And she said she only wanted one, and her DH talked her into having two.

So she might have some regrets about her own life. I think it made her uncomfortable that I asked her that, but hey, she asked me. If we are going to get really personal, let's at least make sure it's not just about me!
Posted By: nosy

Re: Weak moment - 06/05/07 03:12 PM

Exactly - maybe she didn't want her most personal info being discussed at a social gathering, hope she learned a lesson about asking personal questions. I like the idea of turning the tables and saying ... "tell us about your reproductive choices?".

I had to endure all these questions much more when I was younger. I wish I was as confident then as I am now. It doesn't even phase me now. Now I've had the chance to see that having kids isn't all rosy and they know it, so when I say "it's not for me" I think they kind of get it a little smile
Posted By: happytobechildfree

Re: Weak moment - 06/05/07 03:23 PM

Originally Posted By: nosy
I had to endure all these questions much more when I was younger. I wish I was as confident then as I am now. It doesn't even phase me now. Now I've had the chance to see that having kids isn't all rosy and they know it, so when I say "it's not for me" I think they kind of get it a little smile


I'm totally confident that this is the right choice for me, but I just feel weird talking to a Mom about it. Especially a mom I don't know very well.

It's only when I'm in certain social situations. The rest of the time, I am running around, living my busy and fulfilling life.

That's great that it gets better as you get older. Most of my peers' kids are still in the cute stage. None of them have teenagers yet. So it's a totally different ball game.

I think Bonsai said she works with teens, and their parents are a lot more grounded in reality about what it means to have kids than some of the other people we encounter.

All puppies must grow up. I don't think many Moms think about this when their biological clock is ticking.

People change so dramatically from like age 8-18. It's so scary. You don't know what you will end up with.

I actually used the crapshoot analogy with this woman that asked me about my reproductive choices (some gals used this in another thread.) I will never put my life on the [censored] table, I'm just not that careless. I've met too many people that have kids that ruin their life. My sister is one of them. She's 28 and is still causing my parents' tremendous grief.

Who needs that?
Posted By: nosy

Re: Weak moment - 06/05/07 03:31 PM

I guess it's more about a face to face "confrontation" about differences and what that implies that can make us uncomfortable. When you're talking one on one w/a mom about not wanting to have kids there may be a perceived implication that because you haven't made the same choice that you dissaprove of hers.

I don't think it's limited to the CF issue though. I have experienced the same discomfort or feeling of subtle confrontation when discussing being a vegetarian w/carnivores and being an agnostic w/religious people.

It's more about two people who have made different choices looking each other in the face and dealing w/it. Can be a little weird at times, but hey, it's only a difference in opinion/choices. That's what makes the world go 'round.
© 2020 BellaOnline Forums