Sarah Elkins is an editor of We Are Kathy. She lives with her husband, dog and two cats in Flint, MI.
In 2016, my husband Steven and I got married. We were ready for a life together filled with adventure and everyday mundane moments. We were excited to see the world and to see where life took us. We also knew we might not want to have kids.
I know what you’re thinking. Because, well, we’ve heard it all.
“Oh, you’ll change your mind.” Maybe. But maybe not.
“You guys would make such great parents.” Thank you. Really. I appreciate the confidence in us. But it doesn’t make us less than to not want that.
“But you’re so great with kids.” I love my friends’ children. I celebrate with them with each and every new life. I will be there for them. I will spoil their children and shower them with love. And I also really love giving them back to their parents. (Kidding… Kind of.)
Fun aside, here’s what really gets to me. I will never understand when people think Steven and I cannot make an impact in this world without having children. Couples do it every day. Single people make a difference every day.
This world changes and evolves based on the actions of so many different kinds of people in every stage of life.
I understand that it’s common in today’s world that as soon as a couple is married, or thinking about getting married, that anybody and everybody starts asking when they are having children. Your intentions are probably good and pure. But the question can have more of an impact than you fully understand.
About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For women who know they’re pregnant, about 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies (10 to 15 percent) end in miscarriage, according to March of Dimes.
And, in our case, it’s simply not what we want for our life. At least right now (and maybe forever).
I hope as women (and men) we recognize how devastating this question can be to other women. You don’t know if they’ve been trying for a year or more to get pregnant. You have no idea if a woman has had a miscarriage or multiple miscarriages.
As women, and couples, I hope we are defined as valuable based on more than our decision or ability to have children or to start a family through adoption or other means.
Women have enough expectations and standards surrounding them every day, whether at work, at home, in their marriage, in the dating world, in public, or society in general.
I’m excited to see where my career will take me. I smile thinking about all the places Steven and I still want to travel. We are still enjoying being married to each other and learning more about one another every day. And we enjoy giving back to our community and being a part of our community.
I’ve heard people call it selfish to not want to start a family. I strongly disagree. We acknowledge how big a decision it is to have children. We understand how drastically our lives would change. And that is not something we want. And that is OK. It is.
And I want to be clear. If we did get pregnant, we would be thrilled and would love that baby with everything we have. And we would adjust our lives. But, today, we are choosing not to. I want this to be acceptable.
I want women to not feel guilty or feel the need to defend themselves for making that decision. Instead, let’s celebrate what women can offer this world and the impact they are making simply being who they are.
Let’s celebrate the women who choose to work full time and push forward to grow in their career. Let’s celebrate the women who work for small nonprofits trying to make a big difference with little resources. Let’s celebrate single mothers and the dedication to their children. Let’s celebrate the stay-at-home moms. Let’s celebrate the women trying to find their place in the world.
Let’s celebrate all women. Wherever they are in life.
My husband and I made a choice. And maybe later on we make a different choice.
But today, we are making the choice to not have kids. And I need this to be OK. Because, for us, it’s perfect.