Katie Couric Asks: Are you married or in a committed relationship and childfree by choice?
This blog has moved. Go to ChildfreeVoices.com . Seriously, do it.
Do you love living a childfree life with your significant other? Are you tired of people asking you why you don’t have children? If you answered YES, we want to hear from you! Please share your story with us and you may be featured on Katie.
My name is Julie. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost five years and we are happily childfree.
I met Jon when we both were first transferred to Ft. Carson. A mutual love of video games made us fast friends. We spent a lot of time together, growing close, until it came time for him to deploy. I deployed as well shortly after. We were both in different parts of Iraq, but we kept in communication over the internet, talking as often as we could.
It was during this time that we began talking about what we wanted in life. We discovered that neither of us were interested in children or marriage. Neither of us was really expecting to find someone so easily who shared the same view, but we did.
He returned from his deployment months before I did and was there to greet me when I returned from my year-long tour. About a year later, he left on his second deployment, while I remained in the US. Deployments can be rough on relationships, but it helps that we were both in the military and had both deployed, so we understood how military life could be and knew what we were getting in to. I was there to greet him when he returned.
I have wanted to get a tubal ligation ever since I was a young child and discovered that my mother had one. However, getting such a procedure is difficult when you’re young and have no children and have to contend with sexist stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes. I dealt with obstacles, but I persevered. When I was 22, I finally found a doctor who would agree to give me a tubal if I tried an IUD for six months first and was still unsatisfied. Six months later, I was not satisfied and was just as determined as ever to get fixed. My boyfriend was 100% supportive of me, and even offered to join me in the OB/GYN office to help ensure I got my way. The OB/GYN was true to her word and I was referred to another doctor who agreed without any argument. By complete coincidence, I was sterilized on World Population Day.
When I awoke in the recovery room, the nurse told me that the procedure had been done and that there were no complications. Even in my hazy state coming off anesthesia, I was overjoyed at the realization that I was finally sterile. My boyfriend was there to greet me in the recovery room, offering me juice and laughing at my dozy state. Then he took me home and took care of me while I recovered.
My boyfriend never once second-guessed my decision. He has been there for me every step of the way. I love him all the more for it.
I wrote about my tubal ligation experience and my research on the procedure on my blog. Soon other people were were contributing their own stories. I now have several articles and resources collected on one page. My tubal ligation was over two years ago and I still get messages from people saying that the information I’d written and collected helped them in their own quests to get snipped. I like to think that’s worth something.
My boyfriend and I each left the military at about the same time and decided to stay together. We rented a condo together for about a year. We had many reasons to not renew our lease, but one of them was the daily annoyance of the never-supervised neighbor children who would scream at all hours, damage property, and make messes in common areas. As we began searching for a house to buy, we made a point of trying to avoid having to deal with such problems ever again. We bought a house in a good school district, but made a point of avoiding any that were directly adjacent to schools, daycares, or playgrounds.
We now live our own four-bedroom home with two dogs, a cat, and a bearded dragon. We both work for the same security company and are working on our education. We feel that we have, at a young age, have achieved a lot in life and will do even more still. I daresay that, if FaceBook has been any indication, we’ve fared better in life than many of our peer have. And we owe a lot of this to one important factor. Some nights, as my boyfriend and I would soak in our hot tub in the large yard of our house, my boyfriend would suddenly get giddy and say how pleased he is with his life, and point out that we could not have any of this if we had kids.
We’re very happy together and consider ourselves successful. We aren’t mega-rich by any means, but we aren’t impoverished by the financial drain and lifestyle restrictions of children as many of our high school classmates were. Enough people have had children for us to look at their lives and decide if that’s what we wanted our own lives to be, and we decided that we want more. I am everyday grateful for that decision.
Our decision to be childfree rarely comes up. My mother has not mentioned the possibility of children ever since I told her I was getting fixed. Ultimately, she supported my decision. My father never seemed to be bothered either way and seems to respect that my decision is none of his business.
Occasionally, the matter has come up with my boyfriend’s family, at least in the earlier stages of our relationship. He’s been telling his parents long before he met me that he would never have kids, but his parents assumed that he would change his mind. Once when my boyfriend was speaking to his father about an expensive vet bill we had to pay for our dog, his father responded “just wait till you have kids,” referencing the fact that children are even more costly. It occurs to me that, if he wants us to have kids, talking about how expensive they are was probably not the best sales strategy. My boyfriend responded that we would not be having kids, but was answered with “you never know.” The truth is, we do know. As my boyfriend was quick to explain to his father, I have already been surgically sterilized, and, in the unlikely event that a pregnancy did occur, I’d have an abortion. His father then mumbled something about adoption.
The issue of children only once came up between myself and my boyfriend’s mother. His family was visiting us for Thanksgiving one year, and his mother was watching me cook. Out of the blue, she asked me why I don’t want kids. I told her that was the wrong question to ask. Sure, I could make a list a mile long of reasons that having children is a bad idea – to me, it’s tantamount to sabotaging my own life to have kids. But I told her that focusing on those reasons meant missing the point. When you go to the store and see an extremely expensive item, do you buy it simply because you have no reason not to, or because you have a reason to buy it? This is how I look at having children. It’s not being childfree, but parenting that should require a very good justification. I already have no kids and am happy, if I am to change this, I need a very good reason to do so. I have, even if only for the purpose of a writing exercise, tried to come up with good reasons to have children that had nothing to do with narcissism, were unselfish, and were actually valid. Despite honest effort, I could not come up with so much as one good reason to reproduce. Not one.
I’m childfree because I only have one life to live and I want to make the absolute most of it. I am glad to have found someone like-minded to share it with. We have a good life together now, and our future gets brighter all the time. Being childfree has paid off for us already in the short-term, and with our freedom to seek higher education and employment and live the lives we choose without the burdens of parenthood, our choice not to have children will be a major factor in our future success.
I am overwhelmed with joy as I write this, just as I was when I was first knew I was fixed. I am 24 and happily childfree.