Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Reflecting on: “No need to kid around”

Having children is a big deal for a lot of people. For others it’s almost a requisite, meaning either you have kids or you will have kids. In other words, it’s on your to do list. At my wedding, my wife and me hadn’t cut the cake and were already being bombarded with baby questions by 3 people… Our main reaction was: “Can we cut the cake first?”

So what happens if you can’t have kids? Or what happens if you don’t want kids?

Either option seems like the recipe to become a pariah in certain social circles so when a very nice friend decided she wanted to share her words about “life without having kids”, I thought it was a good opportunity to talk about something people don’t enjoy talking about, but would like to about because it’s on their minds.

In our pre-marital course, my wife and I were amazed at how many people had a set number of kids they wanted to have and expectations. I even heard one particular couple answer as follows:

Man: Well we’ll have two and if they’re both girls, we’ll go for a third.

Woman: <looks incredulously to her fiancé> Oh really? Good to know. <Crosses arms and pouts>

My wife and I said, well let’s see if we have one, and if that works, we’ll go from there.

Now I’m not saying ours was the “right” answer and I’m not even implying that the other answer was wrong. I’m just saying that instead of having full-fledged expectations, we are cautious into what we say we will do and what will happen… because in all honesty, we don’t know.

Anna Maria brought forth a very intense topic, coping with not being able to have kids. As soon as I read her words, I was struck by emotion at being able to understand a bit better what is expected of women, which is a ridiculously stiff list of demands.

Reading her words, I thought back to many friends of mine who were given grief throughout their entire relationships from their parents because they had to have kids. And the fact is that you don’t have to have kids. Sometimes it’s an option, sometimes it just happens, and other times it doesn’t.

Reflecting on what Anna Maria said, I think it’s good to take into account the weight on the shoulders of many women and the expectancy of having to bear children. For me, I think this type of thinking ascribes to living a “To-do List Life”, something I will write more of in a later post. It turns out in many cases fertility can even define how much a woman you are.

For men, a sign of masculinity is basically their package and their ability to conceive. That may be crude, though I think it’s accurate. Truth be told, I think just the physical manifestation of a penis is the main thing to which society and men in general ascribe masculinity with fertility a close second. Thinking about Dwight from The Office and how he felt less of a man when he thought he was barren, I think that rings true for many men in that order, though this is a generalization. I’m just taking into account the various enlargement options, and remedies to stimulate virility and I think that although important, fertility comes at a second place for men. After what I read, I realize that women have it far more complicated than I even imagined, which wasn’t a cakewalk to begin with.

So going back to Anna’s words, let’s make this clear: As a man I’ve been asked all of the following:

- Do you have kids?

- Why don’t you have kids?

- What are you waiting for to have kids?

- How many kids do you want?

- What do you want to name your baby?

- Are you or your wife infertile?

- Are you one of those people who are creeped out by babies?

Have I been annoyed? Well yes, who wouldn’t be annoyed at having their privacy intruded in such a way? Please take into account, that none of these questions were asked by anyone remotely intimate to me or my wife. They know better and know us enough to know that if it happens, it’ll happen in its time. No rush. No requisites.

Some people are different; they need to have a kid. It could be a desire born from within, it could be imposed by their parents or other people or countless reasons. The strain I’ve seen put on people trying to conceive is something that strikes various chords in me because it passes the point of wanting a child and goes straight into needing a child. This is a fine line between love and obsession although I’m happy to report that most people I know absolutely love their kids. Actually in the case of many people, it’s helped them become better people. And yes, there are cases where I know parents who’ve lost a child or a pregnancy, and it was brutal, though it brought the best in them and they stuck together. I also know various couples that don’t have kids because they just never wanted to have kids or maybe they grew to accept the fact they couldn’t have kids.

There are many options and variables in life and from Anna Maria’s words, I focused on the closing statement:

“Life is about choices, and it is also about learning to be grateful in spite of what you don’t have, because you still have so much.”

In life, we are continually blessed with experiences and connections. Having a child is a beautiful thing and saying otherwise would be hypocritical on my part. However, saying you have to do it goes against my belief that everyone is entitled to their own definition of happiness and that we shouldn’t live a “To-do List” Life.

Having a child or not is not God’s will. It’s not the hands of fate. It’s not destiny. It’s an event that can happen, and regardless if it does or not, does not exclusively define a woman, a man, or the child. There are many sides to a woman and life is there to allow to explore all of them. Being a mother is one aspect of being a woman and one that isn’t given across the board. The thing is that many women who can’t have kids would make great mothers and many actual mothers may have been better off without children. That’s all speculation.

What isn’t speculation is that no one in this world is defined exclusively by what they can have, be it money, property or a child. What most of us have been given is the potential to listen to a story and share it. This is me doing that, I hope you find something that can help someone within these words and Anna Maria’s.

Thank you for reading. 

Peace, love and maki rolls.


  1. that is what irks me to no limit,that people expect,speculate and intrude privacy...i just wish we were not programmed this way...my sister-in-laws had babies after 18 and 13 years of marriage and in India living in a joint family i've seen them go through hell,everybody has advice and they won't let you be,every wedding people would come up and say to them "so and so had a baby within the first year of marriage,you should see another doctor"... people are so insensitive here they don't let you forget,but thankfully they both have two children now,but one of them has two daughters and now everyone wants to know when she'll have a son...her misery continues....i count myself among the lucky ones ...i like your line where you say not all mothers are good,oh yes..i know many of those...somedays i am one myself....thank you for sharing this post,it is much needed that we talk about issues that need talking about.

    1. People do have a tendency to want to give an opinion of what is not of their concern. Sometimes it's with the best intentions, other times it's just the need to share their view of what is right. It is our nature to have our opinions and that's fine, but it shouldn't be our nature to shove our opinion down anyone else's throat. Thank you for your comment and that's exactly the purpose of this series. To collaborate and offer two perspectives of issues that would be good to talk more about. Cheers