Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Guest Post: Child-Tinted Glasses November 8, 2012

By The One Hand Man

I had a boss once who was married, very successful, but childless. When questioned about his lack of offspring he shrugged his shoulders and said it wasn’t for him.

Not understanding him at the time, I viewed him as someone who didn’t want that ‘completion’ in his life.

Knowing what I do now, I would probably have kept my mouth shut.

It is, as I understand it, a natural feeling to desire your own children. So does that mean it is ‘unnatural’ not to want them?… I should think not.

If you put a spreadsheet together of pros and cons of having children, I reckon the cons would outweigh the pros about five to one, so it is perhaps more natural not to want your own kids.

For me, the thought of going through the pearly gates without even trying is not something I can face, but having struggled with infertility and IVF, I am familiar with the sympathetic stares of child bearing parents, especially when my wife and I rock up to children’s parties and the like without any kids of our own.

I have had three years of batting off the obligatory “so no Kids yet then?” remarks, I can only imagine the frustration of those who never have children – a lifetime of explaining themselves when they really shouldn’t have to.

The pressures of having children (or not) can become immense, and with feet being put in mouths left, right and centre, I have quickly learned not to judge or assume anything about individuals and couples without children.

Some can’t have them, some don’t want them, but what business is that of ours?

The One Hand Man: Married in 07, sperm test in 08, IVF in 09, another sperm test in 10, adoption started in 11 – still going through the adoption process. Not had any recent sperm tests. Read more at: www.theonehandman.co.uk

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13 Responses to “Guest Post: Child-Tinted Glasses”

  1. Amel Says:

    LOVE reading a post written by a man. 🙂 GOOD LUCK with your adoption process!!! Hope it has a happy ending! 🙂

  2. ivfmale Says:

    While I’m sure there is a percentage of the population that doesn’t want children, I can’t help but think that number is much smaller than those who “say” they don’t want children. I know one couple who always told people they didn’t want kids, but opened up to me after hearing about my struggle that they couldn’t have kids.

    They tried for years. They told no one about their struggle and hid behind those words “They’re not for me” to protect themselves.

    We all must travel our own path through life. The reason a couple doesn’t have children is a personal one. And just like you said…what business is that of ours?

    Good post.

    • IrisD Says:

      I’ve told people before that we weren’t interested in having kids. In response one friend asked what the purpose was in being married. :/

  3. loribeth Says:

    Amen to that last sentence!

  4. IrisD Says:

    Long, long, long, long ago (in my defense I was in my late teens), I asked a significantly (for me at the time anyways) older couple (in their 30s) when they were planning to have kids. I also asked a friend who had gone through failed IVFs if she considered adoption. Don’t get me wrong, I think adoption is a great outcome, and always thought positively about it. But, obviously any couple who wants kids and has not been able to have them has thought of adoption and decided it is either for them to try or that it is just not for them. I knew several couples that really did not want to have children, and so when I was a bit older, I stopped asking couples “when” they were going to have children. I sometimes assumed that maybe they didn’t want any. As I met people who had gone through IF, I knew some perhaps couldn’t have children and it was not a good thing to ask childless couples, just in case. This was all waaaayyyy before I realized that we could not have kids, and so I am soooo surprised that there are so many adults out there that simply have not had the life experience to stop asking private questions of this nature.

  5. Maria Says:

    I also am so glad to see the man’s perspective. I recall make a stupid similar inquiry to a colleague at work when I was single and in my 20s. I found out later he could not have children and his wife left him because of it. I felt terrible and it was a learning experience from me. Fast forward 10 years to my diagnosis, and I could now totally understand the look on his face when I made that comment. It changed me but I agree with IrisD when I say I don’t understand how other people older than me have never had this life experience and continue to make the same stupid, hurtful comments. Anyway, when I have gotten these comments, I must admit, my responses were similar, e.g. kids don’t suit our lifestyle (which was often rebutted with comments like I don’t know what I’m missing out one (yes I do)); we’re having so much fun we forgot to have children (rebutted with looks of pity). When you get these comments and you’re not ready, it’s easy to say anything other than the truth.

    • ivfmale Says:

      Unfortunately fielding these types of questions is a case of picking your poison. To deflect it with a lie leaves you open to the criticism you describe. To confess the truth leaves you vulnerable to idiotic suggestions about relaxing and platitude responses.

      It’s a no-win situation we must suffer and decide which pill is easier to swallow.

  6. jthorne Says:

    Years ago, before ever knowing I would be unable to conceive, an older female co-worker used to ask ANYONE who was newly married when they were going to have a baby. Even back then in my twenties, I felt that was an intrusive question and I told her that you shouldn’t ask because you never know someone’s situation. It was as if I had a sense that I would be the one fielding those questions one day. I knew then that it was no one’s business as I know it first-hand to this day! The reality is that some people do not have the life experience to know better because in their small-minded lives, they have obviously never had to deal with infertility and the pain it can cause.

  7. Klara Says:

    It is lovely to read a post written by a man!
    Wish you all the best with adoption process!
    kind regards from Europe.

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone, IrisD I had a little ironic chuckle when I read your reply! I am still amazed by some of the prehistoric attitudes I have heard, some from people a bit too close to home.

  9. Elena Says:

    are you shure your ex-boss hadn’t gone through some sort of infertility problem and just didn’t want to tell you about it?
    On the other hand the prejudice works the other way round as well. I recently met a friend from University who has just had a baby at age 40. Which bugs me, I have given up after i separated from my partner at age 38 because i have become so insecure about what my body can still do and what not. So since this friend had been with her partner for many years and “only” now had her baby I, with my infertility/childlessness experience, thought they might have gone through some sort of infertility problem and asked her “did you wait long for the baby?” and she goes “oh no I was pregnant sooner than I expected”.
    So now I don’t know what to make of that… and hope she hasn’t sensed my prejudice behind my words!

  10. CitySnacks Says:

    Thank you! My uterus is mine, I am so happy that some people understand that. It does not mean I am ‘immature’, ‘selfish’, or a ‘child hater’ and I do not secretly want them. Biggest pet peeve is when people dismiss me by telling me I’m only 26 and will change my mind some day.


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