Two Is Enough

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  1. Stellar article! I am 27 years old, currently childfree and plan to stay that way. It’s nice to know that even in small amounts men get a bit of blow back from childfree choices. I have two pet peeves when having discussions about being childfree. First is the assumption that I don’t like kids… which couldn’t be further from the truth! I adore children, and love being around them! Second is when I hear the statement, “Oh don’t worry! You’ll change your mind.” Do either of these irk anyone else?

    • That irks me so much too! Okay, so I’m 21. Whenever I mention I don’t want children (I’m too selfish, I have my future mapped out, and frankly, children would ruin that), people are always telling me, “Oh, you’re going to feel different when you have them.” Or “You’ll change your mind soon.” Hello? I feel stronger and stronger about this the older I get. When I was a teen, I didn’t want kids just because I didn’t want to get pregnant. Now I don’t want kids because I know they’ll pretty much ruin my life. I have no nicer way of saying it, because it’s true. I’m not going to sugar coat my words and just say they’ll change my life. No. They’ll freaking ruin it.

  2. Great to see some coverage of men’s stories. I enjoyed this article and relate to most of the men you covered in that my story is very similar. I’d like to see more coverage on the topic.

    However I disagree with the term “intentional childlessness”, its Child Free by Choice. I also disagree with Ellen’s advice quoted at the end. If you’re being asked intrusive questions. I find it quite rude that those with children consider my wife and I’s reproductive and sexual health or history their business.

  3. No kids. My inner child doesn’t want the competition. =)

  4. I’m happy for couples that make EITHER choice and are comfortable with it. What drives me nuts is a few men I know that divorced or refused to marry strickly over this issue, AND THEN had kids with someone else a couple years later.

    Men and women DO change opnions over time.

    Never assume at 20 or 25 that your opinions on ANY topic will remain the same at 35 or 40. Sometimes they will, sometimes they wont.

    • “Men and women DO change opnions over time.
      Never assume at 20 or 25 that your opinions on ANY topic will remain the same at 35 or 40. Sometimes they will, sometimes they wont.”

      Your comment is true whether I have a kid or a tubal at age 25. Either way if I have regrets I’m stuck with my decision. I would rather regret not having kids than to regret having kids, which are a true til death do us part relationship.

  5. I disagree with the need to play up other relationships with kids. It’s perfectly OK to not like kids and not want to spend much time with them. I really don’t like them (I’m a woman) and when I say that sometimes people look at me like I’m some sort of sociopath.

    I mean, I’m not going to kick your kid in the face or anything, but I don’t like children, don’t really have any relationships with any, and don’t want to be around them. And that’s alright.

  6. I knew when I was 8 that I didn’t want kids. Being the oldest of 5 kids (born within 6 1/2 yrs) in a strict Catholic family, I was told I would change my mind. I never did. Everyone TRIED to get me to change my mind: parents, clergy, teachers and practically everyone else.

    I stuck to my guns. It was tough. When I got married I married the 5th guy that asked me…cause the first 4 thought they could change my mind about kids.

    Have never ever regretted my decision. Ironically, I had a partial hysterectomy several years back and found out after the fact I had an (unknown to me) disorder that would have killed me if I’d gotten pregnant.

    So in more ways than one, deciding not to have kids saved my life. And definitely my sanity.

  7. Wellokaythen says:

    I find it very intrusive when people ask if I have children. It used to be when I said “no,” I would always follow it up with some quasi-apologetic remark like “maybe someday” or “I can barely handle having a cat.” Now I simply say “no” as calmly as possible and don’t say anything else. There’s usually a bit of awkwardness for a moment after that, because a simple no is very unexpected, but I consider that to be their problem, not mine.

    I try not to be defensive or apologetic about it, but the older I get and the more I think about it the more offended I’ve become when I hear the question. If someone asks if you have children, in a way that person is basically asking about your sex life, or at least your reproductive life. I don’t see why it should be more socially acceptable for a stranger to ask you that than for some stranger to ask you how often you have sex. To my mind it’s basically the same territory.

    I think as a male I get asked that question much less often than if I were female, and at least no one has ever asked WHEN I’m going to have kids, just IF I have them. I haven’t kept track of all the moments I’ve been asked (I swear I don’t!), but I would guess 99% of those who ask me are people who have children.

    • I don’t get offended if people ask me if I have kids. I do not see it as a inquiry into my sex life. Yes, sex causes kids but Its mostly people looking for a common subject for small talk with folks they don’t know. Much like my computer geek mate often gets asked how about them Braves or Hawks and he doesn’t care about either. We simply say we opted out anfd may ask if they read any good books or took any good trips latelly.

      I get offended when people tell me I’m selfish, or whose going to look after me in my old age, or when I was younger (I’m 55) that I would change my mind, too young to make that decision, etc. God bless greying hair!

  8. My girlfriend is a miracle baby, her dad got a vicectomy after his first marriage and then got it reversed with my girlfriends mom. That was in the early 80′s, so it’s still possible to do that. But it’s true Men don’t get enough attention when it comes to these things, I guess because it’s obviously rarer but still should be talked about.

  9. Interesting and well-written! Everyone should have just the family– biological and otherwise– that they want, whatever that looks like. Good uncles and aunties (and teachers and coaches and friends and caregivers and healers) are ALWAYS awesome!

  10. I think the reason men’s voices are missing from this and the reason men don’t get as much grief on this issue as women is because, by and large, much like abortion, this is an issue decided by women. I have met very few men who when faced with a teary eyed red faced woman they are deeply and madly in love with and want to spend the rest of their life with begging for a child who will say “no, can’t do it” and walk away. Even if that woman previously professed to be as childfree by choice as they were. I’ve also met relatively few men who when presented with a woman they are deeply and madly in love with and want to spend the rest of their life with who says “never no way will not cannot” regarding children who will then leave her to find a woman who will have children. (Until his mid 40s or so, which is when men freak out about kids, if they are going to, in my experience anyway). I’ve also met several men who professed to be happily childfree, would expound on the philosophy of it, were very big promoters of it, who then divorced, remarried, and in two cases even had vasectomies reversed as condition of marriage to their new partners, and are now happy and involved fathers who have no idea wtf they were thinking beforehand. Ironically, in the two vasectomy reversal cases, their ex wives are also happily mothering with their new husbands, despite being the instigators of child free status in the previous marriage. Go figure. In one case she went through years of painful infertility treatments and ended up adopting several times.

    The simply fact is opinions and tastes change over time. I had to laugh at the very young 20something who knows exactly what her career is and where it will go and what she will be doing and how kids will ruin her whole life above. Most people change their major several times just in college and come out looking for entirely different work than they intended upon first entering. Many people change careers several times over a lifetime of employment . And ask people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s today if they are working in the field they intended in the way intended as a 20 year old and they’ll most likely laugh. Tastes change, political affiliations, morals, religious beliefs, views on just about anything change over a lifetime. I thought I knew it all at 20, at 27, at 35, and now at almost 40 I realize the only thing I know is I don’t know a darned thing and I may be wrong about anything.

    So yes, people will balk when a young 20 something wants permanent surgical birth control. No it’s not some secret plot to impregnate you. It’s not some child centric insistence to keep populating. It’s that older people know times change and doing surgery for something you’re quite likely to change your mind about or regret later when there are plenty of non-hormonal safe and accurate methods of birth control (condoms used correctly –correctly is the key part– and copper IUDs for example) that are a far less life altering choice for someone so very early into their life.

    People who don’t want children shouldn’t have them. There’s nothing wrong with not having children. But I’ll let you in on a secret. Whether you have one child, three, four, or none, someone is ALWAYS going to comment on your family size. Childfree people need to stop the persecution complex; we all get it.

  11. Every time I see an article about childless-by-choice men/women/couples, it feels like I can breathe a sigh of relief. Ahhhhhhhhh!

  12. crystal says:

    It’s nice to see commentary not criticising those who choose not to have children. I am 25 and have been with my husband for 8 yrs (married for 5). I have known since I was a child I didn’t want kids. Oh course I have always gotten the “youll change your mind someday” crap from everyone and it annoys the heck out of me. Kids are fine but I can only take them in small doses. I applaude anyone who does have kids and give them my full respect but please don’t look down on me for not making the same decision. It doesn’t make me selfish or a bad person.

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