Childfree And Happy

BY: - 13 Apr '12 | Marriage

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By Michaela Stephens

This is for all my fellow married without children couples out there. This is for all the stereotypes, interrogations, and the social outcast that being without young in’s gets you! This one’s for you guys! *starts playing “My Life” by Gwen Stefani* (Google it.)

Before we go further let’s go ahead and redefine some terminology real quick. First, my husband and I are not childLESS, we are childFREE. Childless makes it sound like we’re missing something, or that there’s a void that can only be filled with a bumbling, drooling baby.

Since the first, oh, ten minutes after our wedding, my husband and I have been inundated with questions about having children. The questions were basic at first, just a simple “So, are you going to have children?” After the first year this was followed by “So have you guys start planning for kids?” The first couple of years were mainly polite intrusions, more small talk than anything. Now that we have been married for six years, the questions about kids have gotten downright demanding. “Well, when are you going to have them?” “What are ya’ll waiting for?” to the just plain rude, “Oh ya’ll just wanna be selfish for a few more years.” I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that all selfish wants and needs cease to exist once you become a parent. I guess I will tell the many parents I know who love doing “selfish” things like taking a vacation, going on a shopping splurge, or enjoying alone time, that the kid thing didn’t get out those “selfish” kinks, and maybe better luck on the next one?

Why is that childfree couples are always expected to give essay long explanations regarding why we don’t have children? At first, I used to do humor the question with said essay. I had a ready laundry list available for every time we were asked. This got old really quickly, so I started asking the question back. “Well, why did you decide to have kids?” All of the sudden I was being rude, intrusive, and shouldn’t the answer be obvious? I mean duh, kids are the most awesome thing in the world. Why would you dare ask this? Well, being that you feel like it’s okay to question me and feel like I need to go into detail about my life choices, why not flip this on its axis and ask you about yours? It’s only fair, right?

Well, for the record being childfree is awesome too. For our family, (yes FAMILY, because we are still a family even though we don’t have little ones), the answer is simple: we like having disposable income, sleeping in, and having a date night/romantic weekend, without having to find a babysitter before doing so. I wish fellow marrieds, and society as a whole, would respect our decision a heckuva lot more. I don’t question your judgment to actively plan to add a third child to your brood. I just smile, say congratulations and ask when the baby is due. So why is it that when I, a young married, answer your kid question with a no, I get The Look, followed by the ever popular “Well, why not?”

I will never forget this one situation where I responded to a woman and said that my husband and I do not have kids, and weren’t planning on having them for another few years. The woman replied,”Well, the biggest gift I ever gave to my husband was our child. It is one of the most important duties you can do as a wife.” Well, maybe you feel like that. Good for you. But I also feel like my loyalty, love, support over the years (not to mention saying vows in front of God and our family) is a pretty great gift to my husband too. Seriously, based on her reaction, you would have thought I told her I kicked puppies for a living or something.

There is something so unbelievably rude about questioning whether or not someone, specifically a woman, has kids. It’s almost like as a wife, my duty is not complete until I bring forth an heir. Not to mention that many times, people don’t think about the other side of the question. For instance, what if you are asking a childfree couple who has been trying to have children for years, but have been unable to conceive, or has suffered from several miscarriages, which is much more common than people think. For the record, I don’t think it’s the” Do you have kids?” question that is rude, it’s the “Why not?” immediately following the “No” that’s the problem.

All I am saying is this: how about we just respect our individual life choices? Or if we must question, let’s have an open, dialogue where we share from our collective experiences. Having children is a blessing, and being childfree is a blessing. There’s no competition here, we all do what we feel is better when it comes to being happy in our relationships. That sounds good enough to me!

Michaela Stephens is the owner of Metropolitan Swim Instruction, LLC, an aquatics based company that specializes in spreading awareness of the benefits of swim instruction and water safety. She is happily married to her husband of six years, Craven Stephens, who is a soldier in the US Military. Michaela’s two biggest passions are finding ways to help guide other couples through the not so black and white areas of marriage, and also empower the modern woman on how to achieve individual balance, and happiness while juggling all of the many roles in her life.

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BMWK Staff wrote 1231 articles on this blog.

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26 WordPress comments on “Childfree And Happy

  1. eleanore s wells

    I completely agree with you.  Kids are not for everyone.  Neither is marriage.  Interestingly, as you say, people are comfortable questioning your childfree status but are offended when you question their opposite choice.  The same is true in the married/not married “debate”.  I often think those that question why I am single and childfree are fighting a deep-down nagging feeling that questions why they made a different choice.
    Eleanore Wells, Author, The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree

  2. cece55

    I enjoyed reading this article. You provided some great advice for how I can deal with the “why don’t you have kids?” question. As a newlywed, (only been married for six months), people are already asking us the “kids” question. We usually laugh it off, but it does become somewhat uncomfortable when the person usually follows up with, “why not?” It’s amazing how society functions…marriage is not enough, now wives are expected to have kids sooner rather than later. Marriage is a huge step and right now my husband and I are continuing to develop our close bond with one another..and it feels great 🙂 Thanks for the encouraging article!

  3. Melanie

    Sorry that you are being questioned; but these type of intrusive questions happen to all married couples… Not just those without children. Once you have a baby, people start asking you when you’ll have another- 2 seconds after the first one is out of the womb… And it doesn’t stop after the second either. And don’t have two of the same sex- because then they will ask if you’re going to try for the other sex. AND WHEN YOU FINALLY CONVINCE THEM that you are done with children, they will ask you about your choice of birth control. Bottom line: people are nosey.

  4. Dee Page

    Fantastic Article! Thank you for giving voice to those of us who are childless by choice and loving it! My husband and I just celebrated 16 years of marriage and we wouldn’t trade our experience for the world.  

  5. summersutton

    Great response to questions that are really no one’s business.   I’m constantly amazed at the commentary people provide on others’ life choices that have no impact on them WHATSOEVER.   The reality is, you and your husband are making the decisions you want for your family.   At the end of the day, if people were honest (I know…haha), I’m sure there would be more than a few who in hindsight, wishes they had made a different choice when it came to becoming a parent.  

    More importantly…can I get some of that disposable income?   😉

  6. Emsims77

    Thank you for sharing!! My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years now and when we first married we both agreed that we didn’t want children and to this day I have thouroughly enjoyed sleeping in, spending money on things that  I want, getaways and all that without the concerns of a child.
    But as of recent I have had a change of heart and a strong desire to become a mother. We are trying and having lots of fun with it but I am strong believer that one shouldn’t have children until they are ready. And so many folks are having children before they are truly ready and want to be considered so mature and complete…I don’t think so… (I  could go on and on)  
    I am just so grateful to know we are not the only ones who  are constantly  lectured for not having children. In all honesty I think ppl are secretly jealous of our freedom…LOL!!

  7. Moonblue54

    After much prayer and tears, I accepted the fact that 2 of my children wish to remain child-free.   At first I took it personal (I love children and although I had only 3, my house was always full of them) and thought perhaps it was because I lacked imparting something to them in childhood.   They assured me it was not, that having children is an awsome responsibility that is  not to be taken lightly, and gave me other very compelling reasons why  they wish to remain child-free.   I do have 1 grand.    I ache with love for that sweet, precious thing!   I’d love to have more, but I want my children happy too.   “My Life” is fitting…I’ve lived mine by choice and they should too.

  8. Mel

    Well written. Having children is a choice for you and your husband only! As someone else stated, people are plain-old nosy. I tell them I don’t want marriage, here comes the “whys.” I have one son (9) and they say, “Why don’t you have another; give him a sibling.” My question is, “Will you volunteer to watch his sibling. Will you offer financial support?” If not, then don’t worry about my life. Anywho, continue doing what makes you happy! 🙂

  9. no comment

    I have a friend from high school who has been married for 10 yrs and they do not have kids. I am not sure if she can have them or they made a personal choice and as nosy as I am I will NOT NEVER fix my mouth to ask her about kids.

    There was another girl at church who was married for 8 yrs (they eventually divorced) she struggled with infertility and people always asked her about when she would have a baby and it was always a sensitive subject for her.

    I am 35 no kids or prospect of a hubby in site and I had to have infertility work up last yr after I had issue with fibroids so I pray I can have kids when the time comes  

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  11. Ciara W.

    Thank you for sharing this article! I’ve been married for 18 months and since about month 6 the questions have started. It just burns me up that people can be so critical of decisions made within your home! I want to complete my masters, fill up our passports, and continue building that bond with my husband prior to bringing a little one into the picture. Kids change the game and right now we’re fine being a team of 2!

  12. KhaliAS

    I believe this article speaks to the fact that a lot of people simply do not know how to stay of other people’s marriages. My brother and his wife recently welcomed the birth of their son after 6 years of marriage. As active members of their church, they were constantly asked by inquisitive members about when they were going to “start a family”…as if!!!! I admire the fact that he and wife waited until they were both ready and did not succumb to the pressure from others.

  13. Brendadc

    Good article! I am single right now but I do want to get married…however, I don’t want to have kids. That can make dating difficult because a lot of men want kids. I get upset when I tell people I don’t want kids (particularly young mothers) and I’m talked to like I’m a bad person. What’s wrong with me knowing what I want and taking steps so I don’t end up pregnant? Like the article mentioned, I didn’t know having kids was a requirement after getting married. Here’s to meeting Mr. Right who’s on the same wavelength as me!

  14. Andriea Ishman

    Thank you for this! My husband and face this question at least all of the time, and our co-workers have made a joke out of suggesting babies on   a daily basis. It gets annoying. We aren’t ready to have children, and we’re happy with our decision to wait. I have never actually reversed the question, but that’s a good idea. I honestly believe that people just want to see us in the same boat with them. I keep being told that I shouldn’t wait too long, because I’ll be old and tired while my children are running around as toddlers. It’s frustrating. I don’t look down on others for having children, but for some reason, people believe that I’m supposed to have children asap simply because I’m married. We’ve only been hitched for 2 1/2 years. We’re still learning each other.

  15. Black, Married and Childfree

    YES, YES, YES, AND YES!   I am so happy to finally see an article of this nature here!   When I initially came across BMWK, I was thrown off by the title of the site (Black – Check.   Married – Check-Check.   With Kids – NO!), then after reading a few articles, I had to give myself an attitude adjustment and realize that I really liked what I was reading on the site, and decided to continue to read the articles and participate.

    With all that, I am staunchly childfree, and I, too, have received the gamut of reactions from “WHY NOT?” to awkward silences.   I get that society, American society in particular, is very child-minded, and I begrudge noone who chooses to procreate.   What I don’t understand is why is it so hard for many to grasp about the concept of childfreedom.   One particular reaction I will never forget was that of a former classmate of mine who, in the middle of a phone conversation, just blurt out, “WHY DON’T YOU HAVE ANY KIDS?!!11!!!”   Her tone seemed to be one of chastizing me with an undertone of   utter disbelief.   I responded that I just chose not to have any, then she went on to blab about something else related to her having kids.   (This woman started having kids when she was 12, now has six and will probably have more, but I’ve never said to her, “GIRL YOU GOT TOO MANY KIDS!   YOU NEED TO STOP!”.   That’s something I would NEVER do to anyone who has multiple kids!)

    It amazes me how many people look down on me as a woman for not having a child, especially during the early years of my 10-year marriage.   I still fully believe my mother-in-law has a bit of an issue with me because I never gave her a grandchild from her favorite son.   Go figga.  

    I agree that those who are childfree and those who are childed need to simply respect one another’s choices and leave it at that.

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  17. Nakia

    Great article! I am married and I have a little one, but I was initially ambivalent about the prospect of having a child. I love my little guy, and of course, I can’t imagine my life without him now, but I believe I would’ve still had a very fulfilling life and marriage had we decided not to have children. I respect your choice not to have children. There are probably more people out there who should do the same, and not have children out of a sense of obligation, like that’s just what you do once you’re married. That’s probably not the best reason to have a child. It should be a heartfelt desire to raise a child, and if you do not have that desire, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! 🙂
    PS – What all the other commenters said about people just being plain old nosy is absolutely true. Please don’t think that those of us with kids avoid all the questions…We just get different ones! 😉

  18. alotofkids

    Surely does sound as though you have been hurt by the words of others. I get lots of ‘comments’ and ‘looks’ as well when my seven children and I, who have a right to exist leave our home to go just about anywhere. Some of the questions are of genuine interest which I welcome and some of the questions are disapproving in nature from the jump and asked only to prove some distorted idea that the ‘interviewer’ has about children, large families, people with a lot of children, you name it. I have always been quick witted and enjoy engaging conversation so over the years I have had a lot of fun with all of the intrusion from naysayers and people who truly believe that large families were for the purpose of future farm hands and since everyone can go to the grocery store, the ‘need’ for children is non-existent. Talk about misguided (to say it nicely)………. There is a great and dangerous shift in our society to devalue the weak, which would include but not limited to: children, the disabled, the sick(physically and mentally), the elderly, the under-educated, the poor, minorities, etc. Human beings are the world’s hands down, undisputed most valuable natural resource in any state of being. Not giving birth to children or adopting them doesn’t truly make one childless. Children need coaches, teachers, food pantries, shelters, pretend ‘aunts/uncles’, pretend ‘grandmas and grandpas’, missions workers to come to their cities countries, volunteers to read to them at school, people to hide Easter eggs for them, teach them to play instruments, clap for them after they sing with the program,people to smile at them in the line at the grocery store, and alot of other things. I won’t bring myself to type child and free as a compound word because, the use free as an adjective would more fittingly apply to debt, cancer, someone’ desire to wipe out a race of people, and other incredibly undesireable states that would be worthy of stamping out. That term makes me cringe and causes a ‘lump’ to form in my gut. I sincerely and prayerfully hope that this will not become a coin term for Americans. So while on boths sides of the very unkind, thoughtless, ignorant, cold and foolish statements of those with a bad case of diarrhea of the the mouth its important not allow others flimsy points of view to change who we are and how we react. Take care not to allow your hurt feelings to allow you to become bitter. If you are a believer there are so many scriptures that talk about the mouth. James tells us to be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to become angry. Hurt people, hurt people so listen for pain in the ones who accuse you and don’t become a hurt person who ends up hurting.

    1. Geez

      2alotakids:

      I am CHILDFREE and not CHILDLESS! I can’t stand when some women get a bug up their arse because a ward-free person chooses how to define themselves and how they run their lives.

      I ‘lack’ nothing and my choice should not be likened to cancer.

      You have ‘a lot of kids’. Not for me and never will be.

      Good on you, though…

      Good for those who want children, but stay in your lane when it comes to getting on your high horse, trying to preach your self-righteous mess to those who could care less.

      #LivingMyLifeWithNoKidsNLovinIt

  19. IW

    Forget about the sleeping in an vacations.
    Having a child means being prepared to have a very sick disabled person in your life, bad schools that ruin the child, heartache, living in fear forever.

  20. MB

    Kudos to all of you who decided that you are happier being childfree…everyone is different and you only live once. So I won’t judge you, and I don’t think anyone should make you feel bad about it. I definitely see that there are some “positives” to being childfree. If you (and your partner/husband) are happy, that is what truly matters.

    But me personally, I seem to be facing a dilemma in my own marriage. I want children and my husband doesn’t. I wish he had been honest about this from the start, but apparently he never wanted kids and led me to believe that he did. So for me, that is a problem because it can’t work when two people are in disagreement on an issue like this. I love my husband…there is no doubt about it. And I would be able to accept his “childfree” stance if he’d made it clear when we first talked about having kids. At least then, I would know where he stood…but he actually made me believe that he wanted children at one time. Now he seems to have changed his mind for some reason. To make matters worse, he will not discuss the issue at all and makes excuses, or changes the subject.

    And I hate to share this, but I will anyway…he refuses to even be intimate with me now. I don’t know if he is afraid of an unwanted pregnancy or what, but I am getting tired of this. Although I love him and I feel blessed to have him in my life, I’ve always wanted to be a mom. It hurts me to know that he doesn’t want children at all. I feel that it is unfair of him to mislead me, especially when he knows that I want kids. We’ve been married almost 5 years.

    Sorry if my question is inappropriate…most of you are childfree and I know you’re happy with it. Can you offer any advice to a woman who wants kids, but her husband doesn’t?

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  23. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this website. Am a black woman,I find it really rude being asked why I don’t have children. I am 47. Yet I still get asked when am I having kids. I closer to me menopause then having kids. I love my life, I work for charties for free, I help people. Why am I being judged for the content of my womb. I am not a box for people to put their toys in.

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We’ve All Seen That Couple

BY: - 13 Apr '12 | Communication

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We’ve all seen that couple at a nearby restaurant table, sitting in silence with tension, anger, and sadness seated like uninvited guests –guests who refuse to leave until someone is mature enough to apologize. I recognize that couple because my husband and I have been them on numerous occasions.

However, after 16 years of marriage, we don’t allow problems to progress to that point anymore. Neither do we sit awkwardly over food that doesn’t taste good because we’re not feeling good about our marriage. Today, when I see that couple, I remember the feeling, and I say to my husband, “Let’s not go back there again.”

We don’t want to be that couple in the restaurant or the couple who is . . .

Distant and cold toward each other

Friendly roommates who share a house together

Happy in public but miserable in private

Cursing and hitting like it’s a regular occurrence

Drowning in loneliness even after a decade of marriage

Belittling and negative about each others’ dreams and appearance

Being that couple seems like a waste of life to me. Frankly, I hated the times my husband and I didn’t communicate well or when we were emotionally distant from each other. The deep love we share would not let us go on living in so much pain. We had to break free by doing whatever it took not to be that couple. And, when we decided to grow up, to humble ourselves, and to live like the Christians we professed to be, we were able to see what type of couple we could be:

Spouses in-sync with each other emotionally, spiritually, and physically

Best friends who laugh uncontrollably

Lovers who are free to be wild and spontaneous

Cheerleaders who never stop encouraging each other

Business and ministry partners working to better our community

Authentic examples for our child and others who look up to us

That’s the type of couple we desire to be. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the hard work. And because my husband and I love to try new restaurants together, we vow not to waste our time or our money eating in silence. There is no room at our table for that couple anymore.

BMWK, what type of couple do you want to be?

About the author

Dr. Michelle Johnson wrote 75 articles on this blog.

Dr. Michelle Johnson is the founder of Alabaster Woman Ministries, an online international women's ministry. She is a wife, mother, writer, speaker, teacher. Through her daily blog, online radio show, and video Bible studies, Dr. Michelle encourages women and married couples to make God the center of their lives.

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