My husband and I once made the decision not to have children. We didn’t want to mess with the recipe of what was working in our life. We felt good about the decision and the life it would bring us. Until one fateful night in the Emergency Room, we got the surprise of our lifetime. A sure case of appendicitis quickly resolved when an ER doctor held my hand through the phrase, “no you’re pregnant.”
Our fate surpassed our intentions and we are loving the life we’ve been given. Now we do life with two children, a life that was made for us, we just hadn’t realized it before. But in a society that expects single people to get married and married people to have babies, I think we may need to respectfully recognize the people who have chosen not to have children or to wait longer than what society deems appropriate.
I have people in my circle who have made this choice. Whether the decision is a permanent one or a just for now one, they have made this decision in a conscious effort for themselves, their marriage, and their future.
And I love them for it.
These families often get sent the wrong messages from those of us who are raising kids. I want to clarify for the ones in my life, some of those mixed messages.
My time is not more valuable than yours so our relationship should not revolve around only my schedule. I know it often does. The minutes of my morning, day, and evening are not more precious than yours are.
My life is not worth celebrating more than yours is. You have bought me more presents than I have bought for you. Unfortunately, I am only just now recognizing this. With each baby came showers, trips to the hospital, food trains, and birthday parties. Meanwhile you are creating, living, and accomplishing milestones that are also huge. They should be celebrated with just as much intention.
You get to be tired too. I remember my life before kids, I was tired. Some phases of parenting have forced parents into steamrolling every conversation to how little sleep we are getting. It is absolutely one of the hardest parts but parents don’t get to win at being tired. Life is full for all of us even if it looks different.
Your work is just as valuable. The influence you have over the people you work with, what you create, and who you do life with doesn’t hold any less importance because you’re not raising littles.
The decision not to doesn’t mean, “can’t”. Not having kids doesn’t mean something is wrong. I’d argue to say that you’re ability to succumb to our world’s unsaid expectations represents what is going right within you and your life.
Your perspective is necessary. My other mom friends don’t get first dibs on all advice just because they are parents too. The fact that you don’t have children is usually the refreshing perspective I need. You are the one who can look outside the box and remind me of the reality I sometimes forget exists. I am blinded by worry and invisible expectations and you being there to shine light on my perspective is all too often, my solid gold.
There is beauty in choosing a life without children. There’s a need for society to do a better job of highlighting that option. Life for everyone is not about creating more people and you don’t have less of a family because you don’t have kids. Those of us who are doing life with children need you. You’re a voice parents need to hear and company we desperately crave. You’re an essential part to the village, who can’t function as well without you.