The “C” Word

People my age are starting to get married and have kids. Not necessarily in that order but it’s happening one after the other and it almost feels like an epidemic—and that’s probably because I don’t want any. I’ve been saying that since I was 20-years-old—that I don’t want kids—but no one takes me seriously.

“You’re young, you’ll change your mind,” they say, like it’s not a completely legitimate desire to not want children. I do feel young still, but when the average age of women having children is somewhere between 25 and 30, it doesn’t feel so young. I wonder…if a 25-year-old is old enough to have a child, when will I be old enough to say I don’t want any?

It seems scary to me because I’m not at all where I wanted to be in life: graduated university, moved out of my mothers, debt-free, well traveled. It wasn’t even until recently that I started a career, so that’s one of five things I’ve accomplished. I know I’m not alone in this. There are plenty of women my age who are still working minimum wage, part-time jobs while going to school and yet they are already thinking about babies. I don’t understand what the rush is, but there’s something about having kids before 30 that seems to be the concern.

My main concern is trying to find someone who feels the same way I do. I’m at the age where people don’t typically date to date—it’s usually date for keeps. The whole “children” convo isn’t exactly talked about early on in a relationship, as I think it’s assumed that both people want them…but what happens if one doesn’t?

Since I was 21-years-old I have dated several guys who have definitely wanted kids and it’s been a struggle to voice my opinion on the subject—half because I’m not taken seriously and half because it’s really hard to tell someone you like so much, who wants a family, that you don’t. So, when is a good time to talk about it? There are hazards: if you bring it up too soon you’re likely to seem a bit crazy; however, if you bring it up too late you run the risk of hurting someone’s feelings or angering them for having wasted their time on you.

A guy I recently started dating told me he thought I’d make a great mother. His instincts were an assumption based on my repeated Instagram photos and Snap Chats of my friend’s 3-year-old daughter, whom I treat as my own child. I couldn’t bring myself to respond with more than a smile to his comment because it felt too soon to break the news. Not to mention, the conflicted messages I have of what I believe I want and what others tell me will happen, have often swayed me to keep quite. I thought about what he said over the next few days though, and I started to feel guilty for not being honest. I later told him of my uncertainty towards children, which felt more like a confession. I’m not sure what that information will make of us long-term—no one can be sure how that information will affect the future of a relationship—but saying it when I did was the right time.

2 thoughts on “The “C” Word”

  1. Stay true to what you want! I’m in the same boat but married. I’ve felt the same way as you since I was a child. Never took babysitting jobs as a teen, had no interest. I would say the best time to bring up the subject of the C-word is when you start “overnighting” at each others’ places. When I meet new people I tell them that I have a cat and that is enough.

  2. Great article Lindsey. Don’t give up. My daughter struggled with the idea of having children just because society expected her too. When she came to terms with it being okay to “just do what felt right for her”, she was able to share her feelings with her husband. Luckily, he was feeling the same way and things have worked out beautifully for the two of them.

    The best advice I can give you is to be honest right from the start. If you’re uncomfortable with being the one to share your feelings too soon, why not ask the guy very early in the dating stage, where he sees himself in 5 years (for example)? Maybe add some humour by giving him a multiple choice question….Like…do you see yourself travelling in a mini van with a couple of kids OR backpacking in Europe with your significant other? Sort of nip it in the bud before any feelings start to grow. Then you’re not “wasting” his time or yours. If he’s offended by your question, he’s probably not the right guy anyway.

    It’s okay not to want kids. They are a huge responsible and require all of your time and effort. Better to not have them, then lose patience and be frustrated with children you’ve had for the wrong reason. Your day will come….Mr. Right is out there. 😘

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