August 24th, 2003

ice cream

Marriage, Kids, No Kids, Musings

Today's Atlanta paper had a nice article on married couples without children. It's something I'm very familiar with, since my neighbors are almost all childless singles or couples without kids (either no kids at all or kids who are already adults), but this segment of society seems to get swept under the rug sometimes or derided, e.g. moms telling their daughters they're "abnormal" or couples being told they're "selfish." Anyway, I was glad to see it in there, because while I love kids and also believe keeping up a healthy birthrate is a good thing, I get irritated by the fact that family is usually just seen as one thing.

Other thoughts on this article:

There's a stat cited from a Gallup poll: "Only 20 percent of men and women ages 20 to 29 agree the main purpose of marriage is having children." Now I wonder, what does this age group think about same-sex marriage? Many people who oppose it cite the fact that marriage is about being fruitful and multiplying.

I know a lot of childless couples who have really amazing, cool lives but still have people bugging them. Like in conversation they'll inject comments like "When you and John have kids..." or something like that even though the couple is like late 30s and there has never ever been any talk at all from them about wanting kids or liking them or anything. I always get embarrassed for the couple because to me, it seems obvious they're pretty complete at they are. Of course, it's natural for people to expect that there might be kids, since everybody seems to want "more" from life, but anyway I still wish at times people who be a little more circumspect in their comments.

Thank HEAVEN I only rarely have those sort of comments directed at me, I would be pretty tormented about how to react. I'm 29 and goodness knows any number of things could change in my life (certainly the last 10 years have been a WILD ride!) but right now, I am starting to think I am just too happy with this no-strings life of mine to move in the direction of kids. Even if I were partnered with somebody, it would take years for me to get to know him or her and I would wait until those years were done before having kids. And by that time, I probably wouldn't be able to (if in fact I could now, which I am not certain of). I am not really interested in adoption either. Oh, well.

I can honestly say, though, even though I have had life-long thoughts about having kids and am very good with them, at the same time I have come to realize that I can and do have a wonderful, full life and I am contributing to the world in my own way. I'm not raising any kids, but I'm creating stories, helping my neighbors, caring for friends and family. This attitude has been growing in me for a while ("I'm OK just as I am") but really solidified after my visit to England, where I stayed with Storm and her husband (another married couple that definitely "childless by choice"). I was there enjoying their lifestyle and watching Storm and I thought, "This woman is a goddess and her life seems pretty darn complete, replete even. Why would she ever want to screw it up with kids and who could possibly think less of her b/c she doesn't have any?" It was inspiring.
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