Stop Telling Me I'll Change My Mind (Updated)

We've briefly discussed on this blog how I don't want to have kids.  Some other women on here have voiced a similar sentiment.  The most annoying thing, I find, is that whenever I say I don't want kids, people immediately tell me, "You'll change your mind."

People have been telling me this since I was 16.  And now that I'm...ahem, not 16 and nowhere close, people still me give me that knee-jerk response.  First of all, here's what I've noticed about that the people who say this to me:
  1. They're usually women.  Men almost never say this to me.  Not even the gay ones.  In fact, whenever I tell a guy I don't want any kids, his eyes usually light up.
  2. They're usually women who have kids.  My female friends, female colleagues, female strangers/acquaintance who don't have children are often less likely to automatically tell me I will some day change my mind about not wanting kids.  Chances are, they've made a similar decision, or are struggling with a similar decision.
  3. They're usually women who have kids and are miserable.  Say what you want to, but happy, childless, single bitches with careers, bars, and vacation spots they love aren't spewing this shit to me.  And the women who are moms who very much love being moms and are dedicated are mostly likely to tell me, "If you don't want kids, don't have them.  They're a lot of work" - that's a real woman looking out and thinking about the kids, even the unborn ones.
  4. They're usually women who have kids and are miserable because they either did it for a man, or to appease friends, family, and society overall.  I'm sorry; I don't need a man's presence and/or approval to validate my existence.  I'm not getting knocked up to keep some dude around - to hell with that.  This is 2011, people.  Furthermore, I'm strong enough to bear other people's disappointment.  They're not the ones who will carry, give birth to, and raise the child.  Therefore, they're input is ultimately irrelevant.
  5. Sometimes, they're just bossy older Africans.  Both men and women from previous generations still spout that "woman's duty/wife and mother" propaganda to which I do not co-sign.  I don't take it personally when they do this; just because I still respect my elders doesn't mean I have to do everything they say.
And now, let's talk about why you shouldn't be that person who walks around telling women who don't want kids that someday, they'll all change their minds.

  1. It's sickeningly condescending.  Good intentions be damned; it's not cute.  A grown woman saying she doesn't want kids is not your cue to immediately contradict her and tell her she doesn't know what she wants...when she just stated what she didn't want.
  2. You're basically saying you know her better than she knows herself. You don't.  That's why the best therapists use the Socratic Method in supportive intervention.  That's why journaling is so therapeutic.  A woman's answers to her life lie within herself, and no one else.
  3. It's the infamous female selective hearing.  A man says he doesn't want you or he doesn't believe in monogamy, but for some reason, you hear, "I may change my mind for you."  A fellow woman says she doesn't want kids, and you hear, "But I may change my mind, so I can be just like you."
  4. It's flat-out insulting.  A woman says she doesn't want any kids, and you tell her she'll change her mind.  You're basically saying she's supposed to want children, so there must be something wrong with her because she currently doesn't.  But it's okay, once she changes her mind and falls in line, she'll be back to normal.
***Update***

(Thanks, Y!)

This right here is a part of what I'm talking about, except this time it's coming from the men.  It's one of those articles which portrays the educational, occupational, and financial growth of women as having severe drawbacks.  Meanwhile, a commenter on there knocks it out of the park with this:

"How is it that women are the emotionally and financially stable ones and are yet at a disadvantage somehow? This does not make sense at all. What if roles are just shifting? Men are earning fewer and fewer college degrees, fewer and fewer honors degrees, and the advanced degrees are going to more women than ever. Maybe men can now be the ones to stay home while women provide. Maybe we could call the whole notion of masculinity=sex=emotionally stunted equation into question."

Suggested Reading

Definition of a Woman

    Comments

    1. I hear you loud and clear on this topic. I can't tell you how many times I've been told the very same things you were told and in my opinion by women who had kids when they did not want to have them. It took me a lot of conflict resolution to finally not feel guilty and not call myself selfish because I was not interested in having children until either I felt ready or at all. I never said never yet I was still attacked. (I won't tell you how many times I was told the "Be fruitful and multiply" bit while I was married, as soon as I got married when neither of us were ready for children) I believe it is very responsible (rather than selfish)to hold off on children if you aren't willing to sacrifice the lifestyle you’re accustomed to being childless. There is no point in half stepping parenthood. I sure wouldn’t go around telling people they will change their mind knowing what I know now.

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    2. Alright, I am going to say something that will make me sound like an awful person, but it is nothing but the truth. I LOVE when I hear people say they do not want children. You know why? Because I am INSANELY JEALOUS of women who can easily become mothers, and whenever I see a pregnant woman or a woman with a child, I automatically hate her and think I would be a better mother. It is truly insane, but it comes from years and years of trying and failing to become a mom. So, I am thrilled when I see women who do not have children, because, frankly, I would have a really hard time befriending a woman who has a child simply because I am so intensely jealous. So, I would NEVER tell a woman she will change her mind if she does not want children, in fact, I may actually try to change her mind if she DOES want kids, simply because I do not want her to have what I have not been able to attain my whole adult life.

      Yeah, I am an awful person.

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      Replies
      1. It may sound awful but at least you are being real...BTW I am so very sorry that yo are unable to conceive as of yet. I do sincerely hope that someday you will be able to become a biological mother.

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    3. "It's absolutely insulting"

      THANK YOU!!

      Not every woman's cut out to have children whether it be they don't feel capable of providing for them, or they just don't want to traumatize their bodies and/or lives. If a woman (or even a man) is smart enough to accept the fact they shouldn't produce members of society, leave well enough alone.

      Of course as you've pointed out, the folks in group #4 didn't think of their OWN reasons for having children and don't see that in not doing so, they may be faced with some very real not so great consequences, so it's easier to just have other folks drink the kool-aid.

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    4. Amen to that! I put up with this ish daily when I tell friends and family members I don't want kids. You said exactly what I've been saying...only in context form. I'm so glad I'm not the only woman out there who feels the same way.

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    5. #3 in the first list stands out the most to me, but all are true. Those of us "accident prone" mothers will remind you of your birth control. I don't regret having my children. What I regret is never having thought about this stuff when I was younger. I didn't even give myself a chance to decide who I was and what my life would be like. I have immense respect for women and young women who have done the deep thinking about this and made their decisions. It's the one choice you'll make that changes who you are drastically and abruptly.

      Another thing my childfree-by-choice friends say is condescending is when moms (or dads, but mostly moms) say they understand and then start talking like choosing not to have children is done because you're so self-involved that it's a good thing you don't want children. Sometimes people directly use the world selfish when they get to this point. I think people tend to forget that, overwhelmingly, we don't bring children into the world for THEM, we do it for US.

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    6. The women who are always asking me when I'm going to have kids are always the ones who had their first child before age 20. Generally I respond "when I get married" not because I'm religious but because I have no desire to be a single mother. I'm 31 now and I can easily see my life child free and unmarried, trust me the view is fine. Or if I do eventually settle down I might only have 1 kid.

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    7. you hit the nail on the head, if you don't mind I'll post my comment from another site about this very same topic...

      the problem is that a woman’s value is often tied to motherhood. If someone tells me I should have children, and I ask why and they never give me a substantial thought provoking reason.

      Will I have children? I honestly don’t know; maybe at some point it may become appealing but I’ve been adverse to the idea since I was a child. Don’t get me wrong kids are great, they’re adorable but they don’t stay small for long.

      I’m only 22 and my mother is pushing her limits with this grand children talk…every time I talk with her. Like honestly whether I chose to remove the vacancy on my uterus is my decision and my decision alone.

      Having children just because you can is entirely selfish. I believe that if you consciously want to have kids, think about what you have to offer this innocent being that would enrich their lives. Honestly there are more than enough people out there who SHOULDN’T be parents. Children aren’t accessories, and parenting is a full time, lifetime job.

      Forgive me for not finding that amount of responsibility appealing. I’m also really tired of people telling me when I get older I’ll change my mind. Again I ask why and I still get a bulls*it answer. If I feel that I have something valuable to offer a child that will really enrich their lives so that they’re a great individual that will contribute to society, I’ll consider it but I also would have to be in a position to financially support this individual. If not… it ain’t happening.

      To those who still adamantly disagree I say “Mind your own crotch!”

      ...that about sums it up

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    8. >>I think people tend to forget that, overwhelmingly, we don't bring children into the world for THEM, we do it for US.<<

      This is very true. Deciding to have children is no less selfish.

      It's not fair that childfree-by-choice folk are automatically assumed to be selfish by some people. It's a far wiser course of action to figure out and be honest about what it is you actually want from life.

      I'd also add being childfree doesn't mean you don't care about the welfare of children and families. I can still love children even if I don't want any of my own. There are so many ways for a person to give back to their community.

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    9. As a child of a single mother, I saw first hand that being a parent is NOT easy. If more people sat and thought about all that's involved in parenting and evaluated why they feel they ought to have children, I think we would have far less damaged and rudderless people in this world.

      I don't know if I'll even have children, but I'm not about to snub my nose and people who decide that parenthood is not for them.

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    10. @ Joanna

      Have you considered adoption? Email Moi...we'll talk.

      @ Victoria

      Another thing my childfree-by-choice friends say is condescending is when moms (or dads, but mostly moms) say they understand and then start talking like choosing not to have children is done because you're so self-involved that it's a good thing you don't want children.

      Talk about flat-out insulting.

      Not to mention, in my job, when I have to ask people why they like being a parent, most say they like receiving "unconditional love" and "being needed". Talk about being self-involved.

      @ MG

      The women who are always asking me when I'm going to have kids are always the ones who had their first child before age 20. Generally I respond "when I get married" not because I'm religious but because I have no desire to be a single mother.

      WORD. I refuse to be a single mother. Fuck that. Fuck that all to hell.

      Whatever happened to polite, civilized conversation? You know...in the almost ritual sense? Since when did people just blurt out how they think you're a lousy person because you've made a conscious decision about your life concerning marriage and children? I thought those were things people are supposed to really think about before they act...not just follow everyone else.

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    11. Girl, you beat me to it! I'm working on my own post this weekend!

      I have no desire to be a mother. I absolutely abhor the idea of pushing one out of my body. I love the freedom of being single and kid-free. I love the life I have. I love being able to do anything and everything I want without having to put others first. I love making random, spontaneous travel decisions. I love being free.

      I have done my part and served my time caring for others and I do not feel that I have to devote the rest of my life (any parent who tells you that you only have to put 18 years into raising a child is full of shit) to taking care of anyone else other than me. I don't give a fuck how that makes me sound.

      As has been stated time and again in the above posts, the people who are quick to tell me that I'll change my mind, or that a "good man" will make me want a family, are typically mothers who are unhappy and regret having children. The whole subtext about the "good man" changing my mind annoys the shit out of me. Like he matters in the grand scheme of things. Fatherhood isn't motherhood.

      *gives middle finger to the establishment*

      I happen to believe that women like myself, who know themselves and who aren't afraid to buck convention and live their lives on their own terms scares other women. Perhaps it's because we find our security in other places and not in the anchor of motherhood. Our independence and honesty is like a slap in the face because they believed the happily-ever-after myth fed to them while a child at their mother's knee and were quite shocked to learn that it was bullshit. That having kids isn't the pretty the media makes it out to be. Motherhood is a messy, expensive, tiresome and thankless job from my standpoint. Besides, I'd much rather buy shoes and clothes for myself.

      All of the ladies I know who are mothers have lost their womanhood in the midst of motherhood. It's like they've forgotten that they were women first. They're scared to acknowledge it because they're afraid others may believe that they aren't good mothers. Some think that they'll become women again when the kids are grown. But as I've always been told, "if you don't use it, you'll lose it." Now that scares me.

      I don't want to be a mother and I won't change my mind about it. Every woman is not meant to be a mother, and this world would be a far better place if they realize it. It pisses me off when other women try to force that shoe on MY foot. One of them is going to catch me on the wrong day and I'm going to unleash hell.

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    12. I'm mean, and I generally dislike other people's demon spawn. (Ever since I was young, I've been telling people that the only kids I'll ever like are the ones I push out.) So you'll never hear me criticizing people for not wanting kids.

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    13. The article you referenced is biased and outdated. Its genesis probably stems from bar conversations between men who haven’t been able to get any and are desperate to find validation somewhere. I suppose those two educated idiots think that all women attach meaning to sex; that it isn’t possible for a man to be a boy toy. Why does the article assume that such a shift change in the sexual behaviors of women “favors” men?

      Oh, because it’s written by men!

      How in the hell can two men write about what women want? The day a man grows a uterus is the day he can honestly know what it is that a woman needs.

      Men also generally display few emotional consequences in their sexual choices, while women have a harder time dealing with "no strings attached" sex, the authors write. "For them, the strings are often what makes sex satisfying," says Regnerus. Women, he notes, also "seem to be happier when they’re in a relationship than when they’re not."

      Um, no. This is complete and utter bullshit. In fact, it is the complete opposite. Women aren’t necessarily bound by traditional roles, and as such, don’t have a problem with sex for sex’s sake. Some of us just like to fuck; no strings attached. Most of the women I know who are in relationships are miserable, so Regnerus needs to go back and look at his data source, which is woefully insufficient. The study is limited to 18-23 year olds. As if therein lies the gospel of human experience as it relates to sex and relationships.

      You'd think that UT would produce better, more balanced research than this shit.

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    14. @ Amaya

      The article you referenced is biased and outdated. Its genesis probably stems from bar conversations between men who haven’t been able to get any and are desperate to find validation somewhere. I suppose those two educated idiots think that all women attach meaning to sex; that it isn’t possible for a man to be a boy toy. Why does the article assume that such a shift change in the sexual behaviors of women “favors” men?

      ...How in the hell can two men write about what women want? The day a man grows a uterus is the day he can honestly know what it is that a woman needs.


      Bingo. This article is delusionally androcentric and the fact that it was written by two advanced degree-holding researchers is yet another example of the appalling state of the American educational system.

      This is a sign of great desparation. I don't understand that this obsession with the inaccurate view that men are more casual about sex than women: they're not. I've yet to personally experience that; there were times when I had to flat-out correct a man and make it clear that I did not want to be his girlfriend, 'cause they didn't have jack shit to offer me in that department. And when we finally, ahem, got around to "stuff", it was woefully unimpressive "stuff"...which yet again reinforced the fact that when it comes to what women want/need, straight men are always the last to know.

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    15. Bingo. This article is delusionally androcentric and the fact that it was written by two advanced degree-holding researchers is yet another example of the appalling state of the American educational system.

      This is one of the reasons why I'm considering just getting my RN, instead of a four year degree. I don't care for Nursing as a career at all, but I can apply to get a visa with my RN. It's a waste of debt and a strain on my nerves dealing with the so called "higher" education system.

      As far as that article goes, I read "Sex at the Dawn of Civilization" to get a better understanding of human sexual behavior. The article was entertaining. "women tend to display more emotional responses to sex"

      Of course men don't respond emotionally to sex, spousal abuse and stalking and women bashing and all these pissed off singers, calling women "sluts" and "whores" and "bitches" and backlash for women showing just how little they give a fuck about men/need them is just coincidental?

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    16. Of course men don't respond emotionally to sex, spousal abuse and stalking and women bashing and all these pissed off singers, calling women "sluts" and "whores" and "bitches" and backlash for women showing just how little they give a fuck about men/need them is just coincidental?

      Good one. I hadn't even begun to think about that. I was still stuck on a couple of men tell women what women wanted.

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    17. Oh my Goddess, thank you so much for this post!

      I am so sick and tired of the majority culture asking me about kids. Wake up people, its 2011, not 1875. It also seems that the women who have kids that ask you this are incredibly miserable, unhappy and often very jealous of you. Mainly because you are strong in who you are as a single and childfree gal!

      I am single, childfree and I loving it! It is NOT my responsibility as a woman to have kids. Just because I was born into a female body doesn't mean that my body wants kids. I don't have to live out some conditioned gender norm. I am 29 but my body is not "craving" babies and kids. I don't find that babies and kids are cute. I just don't have the heart for kids. Kids are also for life and this adds more relationships to the mix. This could mean more sorrow, pain and worries.

      There are so many issues we need to take care of before we add more humans to the mix. We just aren't smart enough to hault our population growth and focus on issues such as: the economy, food systems, education, hunger, environment, sex education, water issues, etc. Gosh, when will this happen?

      If you have not read this book check it out -- Child Free and Loving It by Nicki Defago -- http://www.amazon.com/Childfree-Loving-Nicki-Defago/dp/1904132634

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    18. @ Anishinaabekwe

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Just because I was born into a female body doesn't mean that my body wants kids. I don't have to live out some conditioned gender norm...There are so many issues we need to take care of before we add more humans to the mix.

      Very well-stated. I agree whole-heartedly. And I like how you worded that. "Conditioned gender norm" - so very accurate. This notion was invented by people, but any woman who decides to break from this conditioned norm is subtly branded "unnatural."

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    19. I swear, people act like having children is the same as buying puppies.

      And from my experience with puppies, I really, REALLY don't want any kids.

      If I ever wanted kids, I'll make sure to adopt some White kids. If it's good enough for Madonna and Angelina Jolie, it's good enough for me.

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    20. It also seems that the women who have kids that ask you this are incredibly miserable, unhappy and often very jealous of you. Mainly because you are strong in who you are as a single and childfree gal!

      My sentiments EXACTLY!!

      Anishinaabekwe, tell the truth and shame the devil. You hit all the nails on the head with that one!

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    21. I'm just gonna leave this right here:

      http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/802767.html

      ReplyDelete

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