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My husband and I chose to not have children, even before we were married. We talked long and hard about it, and continue to revisit the subject on occasion. The decision has not been an easy one internally or socially. Besides being called selfish, lazy, and immature, we took grief from our families and friends for many years. But the decision to not have children of our own has helped shape us into strong, responsible thirty-somethings.
Some of the considerations that weighed into our decision included: our lifestyle, our own responsibility and maturity levels, the effect on our families in positive and negative ways, and the impact on population growth (we have considered adoption also). But our final resolution was to work hard at being the best aunt and uncle around. We are able to babysit our sisters' and friends' children. We have a play room in our home for them when they come to visit. As they enter their teen years, we hope to be sounding boards when they are struggling with communication at home. Inspired by other childless friends, we plan on taking them on traveling adventures. And most recently, we've been able to dedicate a lot of our time to support friends whose four-year old died from Leukemia.
The hardest lesson that I've learned about deciding not to have children, came when a friend pointed out my hypocrisy. They were in the hospital after the birth of their second child, and while everyone was asking them if they were going to have a third, I suggested that they get a vasectomy. The father seriously turned to me and said, "I respect your opinion not to have children, and I ask that you return the favor by supporting our decision to have as many as we want." Lesson learned: We can state our opinions about others' lifestyle choices, but we must first and foremost respect those decisions. You can expect that of me, and I will expect it of you.
Elisa Joy, Hillsboro
posted 3 years, 7 months ago
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