Tuesday, August 02, 2005

End of the line

In a little over two months I will be changing my name. In doing so, I will become the last new addition to my groom's family. My fiancé is an only child and already we've been pressured, poked and prodded to unveil the date when we'll begin the process of carrying on the family name. They're going to have to deal with this... whenever we decide to tell them.

There are a number of reasons why we have yet to declare our upcoming marriage a childfree one. The wedding tops that list. We'd rather this decision NOT be the focus on our wedding day.

For now, it's easy enough when confronted with the "when you two have kids" comments to just smile, giggle, and act uncomfortable. It usually makes people go away, or at least drop the subject. My family has pretty much accepted this reality, although they hope I'll somehow change my mind, bringing my groom along with me. His family, however, will be devastated.

I don't think that word is an overstatement.

My fiancé is the only child of an only child; my future father-in-law can't wait for us to have kids, and he can't wait to tell me so. He's the only grandson of a woman whose daughter (my fiancé's mother) is deceased and whose other child's wife is barren; she speaks of it constantly. My fiancé is under a lot of pressure to reproduce. We feel it at every family gathering, every other phone call, you name it. It's intimidating, frustrating and heartbreaking.

We'll be breaking their hearts when we announce our plans to remain childfree.

My fiancé has toyed with the idea of claiming that I'm barren, or that he's shooting blanks. But I don't want to be pushed into emotional discussions with his aunt, who had two stillborn babies and a miscarriage before deciding to call it quits, or his stepsister who is desperate to have a child but can't seem to conceive, about how hard it is wanting something so badly and being unable to have it. It's disrespectful of their suffering, and I won't do it. Nevermind that I don't want to lie, period. I don't want endless discussions about fertility treatments, etc. I can't pretend like that. But he REALLY doesn't want to go there with his family.

I simply don't know how to handle this. I want to get it out of the way, although I'm all for doing it AFTER the wedding, but I'm terrified. I don't want to alienate his family, I don't want to disappoint his father and grandmother. But the fact is, we don't want kids. We love the children in our lives and feel that we have plenty. We want our careers, we want to travel, we want freedom, and we don't want the responsibility of raising children.

Someday in the months to come, we'll be asked outright and forced to answer. I've already told him that if someone pushes and requires a response stronger than silence, it's time. Before or after the wedding, the news will come out. We'll deal with the tears, the pleading, the pressure... It's a day I equally anticipate and dread.


Anonymous said...

Never say never....
After 18 years of a childless marriage.....BAM! We were pregnant. Yes, was a MAJOR adjustment but now we wonder what we did without him. Have a wonderful wedding and enjoy each other. It's ok not to want to have children but I found that OUR OWN child was better than other peoples brats! Ha!

Anonymous said...

What a ridiculous comment that person left above. Ugh.

You have great posts, btw! I enjoy reading them!!


Anonymous said...

I've been married for one year and my mother has placed a countdown on when she expects us to start "trying" for a kid. All I can see is a ticking timebomb. I haven't given her any indication that I want kids, ever, but she acts like this is the normal course of action and I need to jump onboard. I don't look forward to the day when I simply have to say "I won't be having kids, ever." :/

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you said "never say never". Have ou any idea how belittling that is?

My boyfriend and I, who have been together for 7 years now, have no intention of having children together. I am 27 and have just been given the green light for my sterilisation procedure at a local hospital and I'm so happy about that. He has a 12 year old to his ex-wife, who now has a second child with her current husband.

All my friend's have been very supportive of my decision to remain child-free, as have most of my family (who have children themselves). My dad however has told me that he doesn't think it's at all fair that he doesn't get a say in MY fertility! Can you believe that?!

I have many reasons for choosing to keep my life as it is, too many to list, but it really irritates and upsets me when people think it's OK to basically say "You don't know what's best for you" or "never say never" or "you're only young - you'll change your mind". Two of my friends got married at 25. They promised to love each other and be faithful for the rest of their lives - no one told them they might change their minds.