Saturday, May 5, 2012

Things You Should Never Say to a Person Who is Childless by Choice

I recently read an article called “Infertility: 16 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman Who is Childless but Not by Choice.” It was posted on the FMH Facebook page, and I was shocked by the insensitivity experienced by the author of this article and those commenting on the Facebook thread. I imagine that most people don’t intend to be rude, but honestly.

On the Facebook thread, someone said that she could write a similar list of things not to say to women who are childless by choice. I like that idea, so here’s my attempt. I haven’t too many experiences with people being insensitive about my choice, mostly because we’ve only been married three years and K is still in school. But I’ve gotten a few comments. Recently there were a couple of episodes on Daughters of Mormonism discussing being childless by choice, so I’m drawing on that as well. Here’s goes:

1. “Oh, you’ll change your mind.” You’re right, I might. But I might not. And assuming you know me better then I know myself and that I made this choice lightly enough to just change my mind one day is a little absurd, don’t you think? 

2. “But kids are so much fun!” That’s your opinion. I don’t find little kids all that much fun. Why would that change if they are mine and I’m around them all day, every day? And is it a good idea to do something as big as having kids just because it’s fun? 

3. “Being a mother is the best thing you can do.” Being a mother is a great thing to do. And there are all kinds of great things that people can do, for themselves, their families, their communities. The best thing that someone can do depends on the person. There is no one best thing for everyone. 

4. “You’re being selfish.” Why is selfish to choose myself and family’s needs over someone who doesn’t exist? I don’t have children that I am neglecting, I am just choosing the needs of people who are already alive over the needs of someone who does not exist. I also feel that there are so many people who are already alive who need help, and that the people who are alive and in need should take precedence. And at this point, I would make a bad parent because I would resent my kids. I’m choosing not to put a child into that situation because that would be unfair to them. How is that selfish? 

5. “There are kids waiting for you in the spirit world.” First, show me doctrinally (Saturday’s Warrior does not count) that we are assigned spirit children. I know that many people feel that way about their children. I don’t discount their experience, but I don’t share it. It could also be said that there are people here who are waiting for help; children waiting for a stable home. Why do spirits count more than those that are already here? 

6. “But there are women who can’t have kids and want to!” I understand that. It is a sad thing. But how exactly would me having kids help them? It wouldn’t change their situation at all. 

7. “God wants you to have kids.” I am entitled to personal revelation for my life. You are not entitled to revelation about my life. So you don’t know what God wants me to do. Trust me when I say that I do. 

8. “You need to give your mom/mother-in-law grandkids.” My mom and mother-in-law won’t be the ones raising my kids. They would be my responsibility. Kids are a big deal, and having them just to make someone else happy seems like a recipe for disaster to me. 

9. Keeping talking to me as though I’ll have kids. Dude, I just told you I don’t want kids, so why are you still assuming I am? Respect me enough to respect my decision and trust me enough to believe that I am doing what I feel is right for myself and my family.

4 comments:

  1. Have people honestly said these things to you? That's awful! I think sometimes people react this way because they think that there is one Right Choice for everyone, and if you're making a different choice than they are that that invalidates their choice. But it doesn't. It can be right for them to have kids but not right for you. I hope you do give the responses to these people that you have in italics...and knowing you, you do! ;)

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  2. I especially love #8. It, to me, is the most nonsensical reason for doing anything I've ever heard. Great list.

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    1. I've actually gotten that from my aunt. I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard in my life.

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  3. Thank you for writing this! It also pertains to those who already have a child and who are STILL having these reasons flung at them!!

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