Deciding whether or not to have children is a deeply personal choice that you don’t just wake up one day and decide (although I’m sure that does happen). It’s the result of a lifetime of debating the pros and cons, evaluating your goals and lifestyle, finances, and how having a kid can change your life. Sometimes the choice is made for us due to health issues, or put on hold for whatever reason. Either way, it’s something that we decide and it’s a decision we shouldn’t have to defend to anyone, even if you are Latinx.
Why is it so culturally ingrained in us that we should have children? And why is the stereotype pushed and perpetuated that we have to not only have one child but several? And let’s not get into our friends and family who feel it’s perfectly acceptable to pry and ask endless questions about our potential parenthood. You know, actually, let’s get into it. Let’s talk about 30 things that no Latinx (or anyone else for that matter) wants to be hearing when they don’t have children.
When Are You Having Kids?
Okay, who decided it was okay to ask someone outright when they are having children? It is often the first question asked to newlyweds and constantly thrown at “women of a certain age.” It’s just so invasive, no matter who’s asking it. What if a married couple decides to not have children? Or can’t at the moment? Why does the timeline even matter?
Are You Infertile?
One of the first assumptions when a woman (again) who is married, in a long-term relationship, or is at a biological age where her “clock is ticking,” is that she doesn’t have kids because she physically can’t. This is a dangerous assumption to make because you’re assuming that she didn’t just decide on her own not to have them or not to have them at the moment. It’s also hurtful. Asking someone if they are unable to have children is beyond rude and insensitive. If someone wants to share their IVF journey or infertility experiences with you, they will. Otherwise, don’t pry and don’t assume.
OMG Why Not?!
Not only do you have people asking you if you want to have children, but when you say, “Nah, I’m good,” the first question you are often hit with after is “OMG, why not?!” We really have to rework how we approach these conversations, as it can lead to a lot of uncomfortable feelings and irritation. They’re often approached as light-hearted questions but since when is planning your future around bringing lives into the world a light topic?
You’ll Change Your Mind
Then there are those people who hear you say you don’t want kids and immediately dismiss it with a “you’ll change your mind.” Really, will I? I’m glad you know me better than I know myself. I get it, people do change their viewpoints as life changes, but forcing that idea on someone after they share a life plan with you is patronizing. Especially if you’re a parent who is saying this to someone with no kids.
You’re Going to Run Out of Time
I’ll admit, there is a natural fear that comes with getting older, and realizing there will be a time when God and the natural aging of the female body will make the decision of whether or not to have kids for you. But, the biological clock concept and its incessant ticking concept is so wrong. You can plan all you want, but you also have to accept where your life is right now, and know that where it will go is not always in your hands. If you run out of time and aren’t able to have kids, or choose not to, a fabulous life for you is still on the horizon.
Don’t You Wonder What Your Kids Would Look Like?
Wanting to see a biological version of you and your partner is not enough reason to have children. Can we get an amen? Sure, it’s cool to wonder what your kids would look like, but that doesn’t mean you’re either ready to have kids, or really want to.
But Your Child May Be the Next President!
Some people convince themselves, and others, to have kids because they think theirs might be the next Einstein! But remember that someone created and gave birth to them too. That’s the thing. You don’t know what kind of kid(s) you are going to end up with. And that’s a gamble a lot of people aren’t willing to take.
Who’s Going to Take Care of You When You’re Old?
If you decide not to have kids, you might find yourself thinking about who would take care of you when you get older. But then you’ll get over it. People are living so much longer these days, and there are things like at-home care. And let’s be real, having kids does not guarantee that they are going to take care of you. How many adult children put their parents into senior homes? Exactly.
You Can Always Adopt
The suggestions that well-meaning friends and family make can often make zero sense. If you do decide you don’t want biological kids, they may suggest adopting at some point, which is one of the most wonderful things you can ever do —but it still involves having kids. Adopting is not an option to wave around when you feel someone’s biological clock has run out of time, or that they’re scared to have their own kids naturally. It’s something special and life-changing for those who really want it.
A Latino With No Kids?!
Being Latinx and not having children can be a very alienating experience. Especially when it seems like everyone else in your family and group of friends, has them. But we need to stop this nonsense assumption and stereotype that Latinos have to have kids and a lot of them. That may be the case for some, heck even a lot of Latinxs, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us need to be pressured, just to fit in. No, gracias.
You’re Selfish Until You Have Kids
I totally understand (but will probably never fully) that having kids takes the focus off you and you become more selfless. I mean, your life is now dedicated to growing, taking care of, and being responsible for another human life. That’s major, and I always say the most important thing a woman can do. Because shaping a life is hard work. However, that doesn’t mean that those of us without kids are selfish, self-centered people who don’t give back to others or try to shape others’ lives. That’s simply not true. There are many childless people who are practically parents themselves with all they do for other people’s children. Think about that.
It’s a Woman’s Duty
Just because we have reproductive organs doesn’t mean we have to reproduce. So, get out of here with any talk that says it’s a woman’s duty, or her calling to have children. It’s her choice, and that’s it. Not surprisingly, men aren’t given this burden and can be silver fox bachelors for life, while we are stuck with the pitiful old maid stigma.
There’s No Point in Getting Married If You Don’t Want Kids
Just like we have the choice as to whether or not we want to have kids, we also have the choice whether or not we want to get married. And we don’t have to be antiquated with the notions either. You can get married and have zero kids, or have kids and never get married. It’s 2019, people!
You’ll Regret Not Having Kids
A common thing that is told to people who have decided that having children is not for them is that they will eventually regret that decision. Um, what?! My face is contorted as I write this. How do you know anything of what is going to happen in my life? And if I were to regret anything in my life, which I try not to (everything is part of God’s plan for our journey and everything is a life lesson), that’s my prob, not yours. Don’t throw this nonsense at someone.
You’ll Never Experience A Greater Love
Sometimes parents like to hit us non-parents with a dose of FOMO. Like when they say that the parent-child bond and love is like no other love in life. Well, that’s great and all, and perhaps it’s true, but if you aren’t going to be a parent, then you’ll just have to miss out, no? It’s like if we told them, hey look, doing whatever I want every day and answering to no one is the greatest love of all. That’s just messed up!
It’s the Best Decision I Ever Made!
To expand on this sentiment, telling someone anything you’ve done is the best decision you’ve ever made can come across like used-car salesman or infomercial lingo. Again, having children can truly be life-changing (and is, in so many ways) for many, but using your own personal experience to try to convince someone who doesn’t want to have kids to change their mind isn’t very nice.
Having Kids Isn’t As Bad As You Think
Okay, maybe having kids isn’t as bad as we think, but that’s still not a good enough reason to suddenly decide — hey let’s have children. It is such a massive responsibility that you should really think long and hard about it. Not just let someone else’s opinion of their personal experience sway you one way or another.
No One Will Want to Marry You If You Don’t Want Kids
Many people get married and decide not to have kids. Not wanting to have kids, or not being able to, does not in any way make you less amazing, desirable, or worthy of love. The same goes for guys. It’s just a conversation, and a decision, that needs to be made together as a couple, a culmination of each one’s needs and wants. Again, it’s 2019 — not 1959.
You Must Have So Much Free Time On Your Hands
No one said that parents have it easy. We have all heard the stories of zero sleep, multitasking gone awry, no personal time, no personal space, thankless moments, and endless stress. We get it. But that doesn’t mean that childless people sit around all day when they aren’t napping. A lot of people forego having children because they are wholly dedicated to their career, or are traveling the world, or all sorts of different reasons that make their lives super busy most of the time.
Being with the Right Person Will Change Your Mind
There is a chance that when you meet your soulmate, your ovaries may suddenly glow with excitement over the idea of having kids. That’s great, and it happens. But assuming this is the case with all women who don’t want to have kids is erroneous. It’s like saying that a man is going to change our minds because our thinking is faulty (again, it’s patronizing). Maybe we will meet the one and our thinking will inspire them not to have kids. Again, it’s all about making that decision together, after accessing each person’s fundamental wants and needs.
Don’t Your Parents Want Grandchildren/More Grandchildren?
People get pressured all the time about having kids so that parents could finally become grandparents. This can be seen as adorable, and I’m sure it is the first 100 times. But, respectfully, communicate your timeline (if any) with your parents and in-laws, if it becomes an issue. If you don’t want to have children, let them know in a gentle way that you will hopefully help them understand where you’re coming from. Or, if you don’t want to talk to them about it, that’s your prerogative as well.
All Parents Just Figure It Out As They Go Along
They always joke that the firstborn is the guinea pig with parents. I’m sure you don’t know what to expect, and like the majority of parents, you do your best. So, we get that you essentially fake it till you make it, but that doesn’t encourage us who don’t want a membership to join the club. It does, however, take the edge off for those who want to have kids, but maybe a bit apprehensive about actually doing it.
We’re Not Going to Have Anything in Common Anymore
When your friends, and family members in your age range, start having kids, they are not going to have as much time for you as before. They are also going to be living completely different experiences than you are. But this doesn’t mean that your relationships have to suffer. It’s all about growing and evolving together. They should understand your life, and you theirs. And make time for important things. But if you have a parent in your life who shames you for not having kids, or makes it look like you’ll never be able to understand them now, you need to respectfully remind them that your way of life is valid and to be respected.
You’ll Never Feel Complete Without Kids
A lot of people feel that their lives were complete when they had children and that they found their purpose. And that’s awesome. But that doesn’t mean you automatically are incomplete and lost without kids. Everyone is different — this is what happens when we pour all women into one mold! We are as unique as the stars, and what makes us whole is going to be just as unique.
If someone says “I’m sorry” after you tell them you don’t have kids or don’t want them, it can take you off guard. To a lot of people, being childless means being alone, being a failure, and not being fulfilled in life. But, maybe they could just be respectfully apologizing for prying. Who knows? But, what you should know is that there is nothing sad or worth feeling sorry for about living in your truth, and living a life without your own children.
You’re an Old Maid/Crazy Cat Lady/The Family Weirdo
We are going to take it to the old school with this played out and very sexist stereotype of women without kids. While men are seen as cool bachelors, we are seen as old maids, crazy cat ladies, and that one weirdo in the family with no children. Sometimes the assumption is that you can’t handle the pressure of being a parent or aren’t on par with everyone else. Well, it’s healthy to admit what you aren’t ready to, or willing to take on, and that doesn’t make you weak or less than anyone else.
Imagine If Your Mom Didn’t Have You
Nice try. Still not going to have kids. Yes, if our moms didn’t decide to have us, we wouldn’t be here. But we were supposed to be here, and thus here were are. Now that we have that out of the way, comparing our mothers’ decisions to have children with ours to not have them, isn’t the same and isn’t fair. Each is a personal choice and just because they decided to doesn’t mean we have to.
Doesn’t Your Boyfriend/Husband/Partner Want Children?
Yes, a romantic partnership is just that — two people choosing to live life together. This includes deciding whether or not to start a family. But, if we tell you that we have decided not to start one, asking us about how our partner feels can seem invasive. We are telling you what we want, as individuals, and this has either been discussed with partners or will be. And why would you assume that the man would think differently and automatically want children? The assumption that women are here to give men the children they want, aside from their own wants and needs, needs to go.
I Have Real Things to Worry About
If you are married and have kids, your life isn’t more important than that of your childless and/or single friends. It’s just different. If your friend needs to vent about her dating life, or whatever she is stressed about, that doesn’t become less valid or important because you are no longer in that exact same situation. Your situation also isn’t a trophy that your friend hasn’t earned yet. She may not even want it. Just hear her out and support her, as she should do for you. Although she may not completely understand your situation either, she still knows how to offer support.
But You’d Make Such a Good Mom!
Maybe, maybe not! Saying you would be a good mother is a compliment, and means you are a nurturing, kind woman who is probably good with kids. But it is also a way to prod a woman into wanting to have kids. And there are so many ways to use those wonderful qualities to be an awesome tia, teacher, mentor, and more. Just say thanks and mention this fact.