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The Dreaded Question

My DH and I have been together for 13 years, no children. Every holiday during our family visits we get the dreaded question: “When are you two going to have kids?”

We are not interested in having children……at all. We thought it would be an acceptable answer, but family still insists to know why. Then things get awkward. We don’t want to offend the parents in our family by saying we don’t like children. We’ve tried fibbing by saying, “We’re trying…but nothing” but the conversation gets even more awkward with baby making tips.

I’m very interested in this community’s opinion on how to answer this question in the best way! 1231-16

This is merely my opinion but when relatives keep nattering wanting to know information you aren’t willing to share or they won’t accept the answer given, it’s time to switch to viewing this as a game that you must win. And games are fun! Go to holiday dinner prepared with a humorous, fantastical story. For example, one relative of ours has a long scar down the middle of his chest and he isn’t interested in retelling the boring medical history of why it is there so he fabricated a story of being attacked by a shark. People get the idea that he’s kindly dismissing their intrusive question but it’s done to amuse as well. I know the real story of how his scar came into being so I play along with the shark story and feign horror. I’ve seen some bean-dipping fantasy stories take on a complete life of their own so much that they become family folklore.

I don’t think anyone needs to know the reason why you do not want children. At holidays it’s a recipe for contention as the issue becomes serious and debates can ensue. In your shoes I might come up with a stupid story that gremlins seem to be invading my bed each night and stealing my eggs. Or that I’ve been diagnosed with necliberositis (from the Latin nec liberos meaning “no children”) and that I cannot have children. Yes, it’s stupid BUT people are being stupid asking intrusive questions and it’s a way to skirt around the intricacies of serious issues with a little humor.


{ 88 comments… add one }
  • Bec January 3, 2019, 8:28 pm

    When asked “when are you having kids” my BIL’s response was simply “9 months after conception”. When asked when conception might be, his reply: “9 months before birth”.

  • Michelle January 6, 2019, 9:40 pm

    My husband and I are childless by choice and every time someone asks me, I tell the truth. I look at them like they’re crazy to even suggest such a thing and say “Oh, no no no no no! Not us! I know myself well and some people should not raise children.”

    I respond as if it is the most ridiculous thing they could expect of me. It has never failed. I do not get asked again. There is no reason to feel guilty for not having kids. Just be absolutely honest. Since you told people you are trying, I would just change gears and say something like: “Kids? Oh. We’ve decided against it.” If they ask why, maybe add: “It just isn’t really for us. We’re happy with the way things are right now.” Shut them down completely or they will keep following up. If they continue, just keep saying “No. Our decision is made.” Over and over if you have to.

    Of course, you don’t owe anyone any explanation at all. I continue further explanation depending on how close I am to the person. Immediate relatives get more detail than nosy neighbors, co-workers, or distant family members.

  • Jacqueline May 20, 2019, 6:42 pm

    My response is… well, I’m the eldest of 6, volunteered with kids and worked on Department of Human Service child cases. I’ve also worked for my country in China and seen the devastation of everyone having 1 child policies or 2 child policies (one of each gender) and am donating eggs to a girlfriend who is struggling. In Australia, the minimum wage is based on a family supporting a minimum of three children. Australia doesn’t have a population problem, we have the reverse where 2 kids is below replacement and we have an ageing population problem. The world does have a population problem however this is made worse if well meaning people in Australia spread inefficiency and environmental damage by all having 1 or 2 children per couple. So my conclusion about why I don’t have children right now, is that in Australia, it is immoral for children and society…if I plan to have 1 or 2 children only. It’s either none (and help others and get a pet instead) or…3 or more kids. As a 33yr old, the numbers of people in western society adopting China child policies, yet using Kardashian-esque reasons…appears to be growing. I think it’s a capitalist/consumer or pet attitude to children that is spreading in some parts of the world…in direct contradiction to other parts of the world and the Dickensian little worker attitude of the Industrial revolution. Then I ask them…what were their reasons/preparation for kids? I usually find the rude people are stunned to silence…and the reasonable people are incredibly stimulating to talk to.

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