Tuesday, January 31, 2006


• Why is it wrong that I feel the need identify myself as "childfree" instead of just saying "I
don't have kids"?
• Is it wrong that the topic comes up constantly among my childfree friends?
• Is the fact that we seek out similar individuals and couples indicative of a larger problem?
• What about the fact that it colours our experiences in public places?
• Are we really just kidding ourselves?

I had it implied to me today that the fact that I am proud to be childfree and it's a major topic of conversation within my marriage and my friendships, that it's indicative of some bigger issue, likely that I really do want kids and I'm trying to talk myself out of it.

Yes, I'm probably reading into it, but I don't think I'm wrong.

Yet instead of saying "f*** you", as I was initially inclined, I decided to think about it.
And y'know what?
A couple hours later, all I want to do is say "f*** you."

Yes, we talk about it a lot. It's a big part of our lifestyle, and it's on the forefront a lot of the time. I don't think it's an issue of overcompensation. I don't think people with kids understand the pressure we're under, both direct and indirect. We talk about it a lot because it's on our minds a lot.

Is there really something wrong with that?

A Simple Experiment

I included, buried in a post in my LiveJournal, my first child/parent frustration comments, and for the first time in months I chose not to use my "Childfree" friends filter to see if it was safe, if maybe I was blowing things out of proportion about not being able to discuss things in my journal.

The experiment worked.

The filter is activated again.

I got chewed out by a parent friend of mind who angrily explained why strollers are necessary (I know this) and that I'm the adult, I should have just waited for the kid to play with the sink's motion sensors while a line formed behind me instead of politely asking him to "excuse me!" Nevermind that my issue wasn't with the strollers themselves, or with kids washing their hands in general, and I never said that children should never be taken out of the house, etcetera etcetera etcetera. No no no, nothing like this. Yes, there was emotion, frustration, in the post, but it was situational, and I never made a blanket statement about children not going out in public. Not even close!!

I give up.

I really didn't want to be right.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Experiencing, not Chaperoning

My husband took me to the Shedd Aquarium on Saturday. He brought up the idea of going museuming on our Saturday "off" (a diversion from our usual weekend fare) and because I haven't been to the Shedd since I was a child, we agreed to go there and I was so very excited.

It was, of course, beautiful. The ratio of behaving children to misbehaving, annoying ones was about 10:1, which is really good for a crowded place. I could not believe the number of infants, though. One woman carried a baby who couldn't have been more than three weeks old, and I'm probably being generous. Seems like a place filled with people in the middle of winter wouldn't be the place for a newborn, but hell, I'm no mom.

I could talk about the annoying people who made me understand why the derogatory term "breeders" comes about -- you know, the woman who sneers at you when you politely ask her son, who's finished washing his hands and is now playing with the water in the only other sink to please let you use the sink; the hordes of people who refuse to use the "stroller parking lot" and instead take their mack-truck double-wide strollers into the standing-room area (after removing infants; dad's babysitting the stroller, apparently) and you have to miss the dolphin show. Thank goodness there was a poorly-attended late show and we didn't miss it. I could go on and on, but instead I want to talk about this.

I watched the parents in awe as they chaperoned their children throughout the day. I'm sure some of them got some enjoyment from the place, but between keeping track of the children, wanting to look at something the children weren't interested in (or, gods forbid, read one of the information guides!), very (and I mean VERY) few of the parents seemed to be having a very good time. Even the parents of the well-behaved children looked exhausted and irritated. "Mommy just wants to look at this for a second, hold on!" "That's BORING. I wanna see the sharks again!"

So my husband and I talked about it, and about how lucky we are that we really get to experience these places. We can linger by the explanation of the life cycle of coral, because we think that's interesting. We can go back and see the sea otters, or we can go look at the whales again, and we can do that when we want to. We don't have to shuffle quickly past the gift shop so somebody won't see it, or spend $20 on a stuffed dolphin because we just want to shut up the screaming child that's embarrassing us. We can order what we want from the restaurant and not have to get the pizza, and we don't have to compromise because a temper tantrum would be completely intolerable in this crowded room.

And we can do that anywhere. We can go to the zoo, museums, parks, and do what we want. There's no one we have to entertain but ourselves. Sure, sometimes he wants to spend more time with the tarantulas than I might like, or I might be enthralled by the barely moving turtles, but we can move on or stay put without fear of losing anybody. Hell, my husband's 6'5", there's no missing him in a crowd, and he can see over everyone's heads to where I'm at. We don't need to hold each others hands (unless we want to, which we often do)... we can experience these places as grown-ups. It's fun to take my niece to places like this -- she LOVES the zoo and her enthusiasm is infectious.

But, you see, it's nice that we can make our own itinerary without having to hire a babysitter or something. And if we want to experience the places from a child's eyes, we've got a bright seven-year-old who's a phone call away. And believe me, her grandparents love getting that phone call.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Magic Number

So the hubby and I talked about it, and we decided that when I turn 30, either I'll get a tubal ligation or he'll get snipped, depending on what our research turns up to be the safest and least offensive. I really want to get it done now, but there's something about that magic number... 30. But why wait if it's something we want to do?

The fact is, we probably wouldn't be able to tell family about it. Can't tell my family simply because there's the potential of them telling my husband's family, or something slipping in conversation. I can just hear the jeers now, from his barren aunt and his stepsister who's knee deep into her fourth pregnancy in an attempt for her first child, to his desperate grandmother who'd just dying for great-grandkids. That's sort of why I think it's better if my husband gets the procedure, because then I won't have the guilt.

It's odd. I don't feel guilty about not bringing children into this world, but I do feel guilty when I think about doing something surgically to my own body to make it so. Makes no sense whatsoever, I know, because what does it matter if my bits are in tact or not to the women in my life who can't/couldn't have babies when they wanted them. They're still going to find it offensive.

Or maybe they'll understand. I haven't given them the chance to understand. I'm not sure I want to take that risk.

So for the next two years, according to "the plan", we'll continue to weigh the cons of various birth control measures, keep a close eye on the calendar, etc. All to make it an easier conversation with the doctors, to take away the argument of "oh, but you just got married", to take away the accusations of us being too young to make such a decision. Sure, if A goes in the doctor will say "does your wife know about this?" and if I go in, the docs will say "what if you change your mind?" Somehow I feel that once we've reached that magic number 30 that the discussion will go much more smoothly.

I just wish we didn't have to wait so we can stop being paranoid and just enjoy ourselves.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I'm deep in the midst of a search for a new job, and I'm getting paranoid. I find myself wondering how to deal with telling people that I'm married, or newly married. I've heard tales of discrimination against the hiring of newlywed women, and I can totally understand why. They stick around for awhile — but not too long — before getting pregnant, leaving to have the baby, then toss a coin to see whether they come back after their leave ends.

So there's that, but it's not like I can wave a flag around saying "wait, I'm not having kids, so you don't need to worry about that!" Sure, they're not allowed to discriminate, legally, but all of that happens behind the scenes. Uh-oh, she's recently married with no kids. Do we want to invest in her?

I've seen it happen a lot. Two women at my old job got married, had kids, and lead the company for months to believe they'd be coming back. They never did. And again here -- women get pregnant, stick around, say "sure, I'll be back in three months", then put their resignation in at the end of that time so they can keep their benefits or something. Hell, E did that at her last job, and it's M's plan should she get pregnant again. It isn't any wonder that this is seen as a trend.

I wish I could advertise it. But I also worry that for some reason an employer would discriminate against me because I don't want kids. "What's wrong with that girl?" I feel like I can't win.

The reality is probably that no one really cares, but I'm starting to look at my wedding ring and wonder if that's going to hinder my chances at getting a new job. Not that I'd take it off for interviews or anything — I'm incredibly proud to be married. It's just irrational, and I'm looking for excuses for why no one has called me back yet. Nevermind that none of the applications mentioned my marital status.

What a freak.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Snippity snip

A close friend of mine, who is also childfree, is getting a vascectomy. He's 31, single, has no desire to have children (doesn't like them much at all), and I honestly can't see kids fitting into his lifestyle. To him I say, BRAVO. People tell him this will kill his chances of dating, but he doesn't want to date a woman who has or wants children, anyway, so I say it's helping him thin out the dating pool. But he recommended this to my husband.

And I froze.

We don't want children. I am sure this will not change in the future -- it doesn't fit with the plan, and we've talked a LOT about it. Kids make me miserable, and I don't care if "it's different when they're your own." Yes, it's different when it's kids I care about, but it's still a life sentence. I can still only handle my favorite kids for hours at a time, if that. If I'm tired at work because I didn't sleep, let it be because I had a good time with my friends or my husband last night, not because I was being manipulated by a teething toddler who's learned that if he cries enough, he gets to come into mommy and daddy's bed and watch The Wiggles at 2:30am.

But to do something so permanent?

I'm 95% sure I think the procedure would be a good idea. Imagine, no more stressing about it. It would be done!! What a way to no longer worry about "accidents happen!" I'm not so worried about me changing my mind, but him changing his mind. That's always been the biggest worry about us, that someday he'll go back to where he was when we met, to thinking four little ones running around is the kind of life for him.

He's been a pseudo-step-dad before with his ex, so he knows the sacrifice involved and doesn't like it. Then, when we met, I showed him a life filled with fun and friends, the promises of traveling. He's also seen his nephews grow up to be far more than we could ever dream of handling. He's seen the sacrifices our friends have to make now that they have children, and I believe him when he says he doesn't want it. But it's still hard feeling like I've talked him into being childfree.

So why not get the vascectomy? Because I don't want him to have buyer's remorse and regret it, to resent me for "making" him do it. Yes, it can be reversed, but it's not so much the fact that I fear we'll change our minds, but moreso that taking away the final option seems so... final. That's not the sort of thing you want to regret the next morning.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Polar opposites

My husband's stepsister is currently going through hell. This is her fourth pregnancy, or attempted pregnancy; she's due in May, but she's been on bedrest for over a month due to her three previous miscarriages. I can't even fathom what she and her husband are going through. She feels miserable all the time, and she's not even halfway there. The best-case-scenarios involve her carrying the baby at least to 6 or seven months, delivering prematurely and hoping for the best.

How can she want this so badly?

My lack of maternal instinct hits me especially hard during situations like this. I can't empathize at all. I just think "Why not adopt? Why go through all this hell?" In the meantime, I'm thinking of all the horrible things that would happen if I got pregnant by accident (note to self: call doctor and schedule appointment!) and here she is struggling, giving up her social life -- or life outside the home at all -- just so she might maybe have the chance that this might maybe work this time, when all the while the odds are stacked against her, even with all this sacrifice. I wish her the best because she wants this so badly, but its the "wanting it so badly" that I can't comprehend. It makes me consider if something really is very wrong with me. I know it's not healthy to think that way, that it's okay to not want children, but seeing such an extreme opposite to my feelings makes me wonder.