I know, I know. You’re never supposed to actually say you don’t like kids. I mean, we were ALL kids at one point – how can you say you don’t like them?? I don’t know, but it seems to roll off my tongue pretty easily.
When you don’t want children, you learn quickly that there is a list of reasons that are relatively “acceptable” to most people when you choose to actually justify your decision with a reason, should someone ask (and they will).
I don’t want to pass on the genetic health issues that both sides would be contributing to.
I don’t want to bring a child into a world as fucked up as ours is right now.
I prefer a lifestyle where you can spend money on travel and custom furniture instead of diapers and daycare.
I have never felt any type of maternal instinct and feel like you shouldn’t really have kids unless you KNOW you really want them.
These are all reasons most people digest fairly easily. They can understand them. That said, many will still try to debate you on them and tell you that you’ll change your mind, or the joy of being a parent overrides the fact they can’t remember the last time they slept in, or peed alone, or haven’t had a spa day in 15 years. But that’s why they’re OK with these particular reasons – they feel like they might be able to talk you out of them or that you’ll “change your mind.”
When you tell someone you don’t want kids because you don’t LIKE kids, things go a little sideways.
I have been totally spoiled though because my friends and family are actually awesome, and not super intrusive jerks who really push on stuff like that (although I know that happens A LOT). So I don’t really get challenged about not wanting them, because this conversation has happened many times already (basically since I was 15) and everyone who loves me and thinks I’m awesome already knows I’m not kid-friendly. They know that babysitting duty = any other friend. Counting on someone to take their teenager to Planned Parenthood and teaching them how to master the perfect cat eye and not take shit from boys = Auntie Courtney.
But recently, I was made to feel REALLY uncomfortable by a medical professional who looked at me like I was a troll who ripped the heads off of puppies when I told him in no uncertain terms I was on birth control to prevent pregnancy. Forever. Because I never want kids. Ever. Because I don’t like them or want them.
It was my second appointment with this doctor (a sleep specialist mind you, and not my actual primary care doctor), and the topic of kids had already come up in the context of genetic issues, which is when I made it clear that wouldn’t be a problem for me. When the topic of birth control came up again later, he advised me I needed to stop taking it not only because it is “part of why you’re fat” but because a different medication I had been prescribed was going to regulate my cycle, so I “didn’t need birth control for that anymore.”
OK. 1. I’m not on birth control just to regulate my cycle you clueless buffoon. And 2. I know from my ACTUAL PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR that this other medication is actually also used to treat infertility because it helps women get pregnant so much easier. I only agreed to take it when she promised me it wouldn’t “cancel out” my birth control.
Back to the idiot doctor. I calmly informed him that I am taking birth control to actually PREVENT PREGNANCY and that it is not an option for me to stop. To which this cartoon character of a man said to me, “You’re only 32. You don’t really mean that. You’ll change your mind and decide you really want kids.” And then stared at me, like he was waiting for me to confess that he was right, and that I do in fact harbor a secret desire to procreate. Um, what? Like, what the what? What the actual fuck did you just say to me???
I should pause for a minute to mention I live in California, in SILICON VALLEY, the most progressive place in the world. It’s not like this was some backwoods doctor in the Bible Belt (not that it would have been acceptable there either).
So when I lost my patience and explained that no, stopping birth control would never happen because I don’t like kids and have literally never experienced an ounce of desire for them…. that’s when it happened. That’s when the whole ripping heads off puppies face came in.
For the record, I do not rip the heads off of puppies. Ice does not run through my veins. Kids just aren’t my jam. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, with all my heart, my best friends’ kids. They get a pass. They’re cool as shit because the people I love most in the world made them. I love to hold my friends’ kids (if they’re not covered in goo or screaming) and I will spoil the shit out of them because they are my family by proxy. And even THEM I don’t really want to spend an entire day with. A few hours is more than enough for Auntie Courtney. Get a sitter and call me when you want to hit up a wine bar or grab some sushi.
It sounds harsh, but it’s really not. I have built a life for myself that purposely does not include children. And I like it that way. A lot.
I do make exceptions for kids of the people I love the most, but if someone asked me and Gil to babysit a kid for them, it would be all him. His coach instincts are strong. I see it when he’s hanging out with his nephew – that’s his territory. He never wants kids either, but he actually enjoys hanging out with them. I just don’t. I mean, I can tolerate it. I am a functioning human being who understands the rules of society. But I don’t ENJOY it. And this does not make me a heartless monster.
And in general, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by intelligent people who understand all of this, so it is usually a non-issue for me. I am in the best relationship I could ever imagine with the man of my dreams and we’re building a life we love. The people who love us are thrilled by that and support our crazy dreams (even when it involves moving hundreds of miles away). So it catches me off guard when someone feels they have the right to speak to me that way and I just had to talk about it with you guys. Because I also realize not everyone has friends and family who are as supportive as mine, and it never hurts to be reminded that liking kids is not a prerequisite to being a good person.
Also, that doctor is FIRED. I saw a new female sleep doctor today who kindly decided to stay the eff out of my uterus.