questionshow to handle not having kids?

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We've been married for 10 uears and after about 6 years and multiple nieces and nephews coming in to the family, we decided we were not going to have any children. Once we decided, we just told people if it happens, it happens, but we were not planning anything. For the most part, people didn't press us, and we adopted a dog, which we labeled the "grand-dog" for our parents, vs. grandchild. Everyone eventually got used to it and now no one bothers us. I know my Mom was/is really disappointed, as I am the youngest and she really wanted a grandchild from us, but she respects our decision and doesn't say anything about it anymore (at least not to me!).

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@lmensor: I've used the "grand-dog" term ever since my son married a few years ago. His wife is a wonderful young woman, and my spouse and I are very happy she's part of our family. That said, while I'd really like to have a grandchild or two, it's really none of my business, so I just stifle the occasional urge to ask about their family plans.

Possible holiday present? http://www.amazon.com/this-straight-grandchild-Ceramic-plaque/dp/B00024JNAW

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@lmensor: I wish our friends and family could handle this the way yours have. We just keep getting more and more subtle (and not so subtle) hints and comments. We also got a dog, labeled the grand-dog just like yours. My parents are upset but I think they still hold out hope that one of us will have kids. I think it will be worse for my dad than for my mom.

My wife's parents already have one grandchild and they are ok with the decision we made and never bother us about it. I guess having a grandchild already makes it much easier for them to deal with.

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had one friend ask but then realized how inappropriate when i responded with when are you gonna stop having kids--she had been nagged by enough people she knew what i meant.
most people get the point when you explain it's a life choice you and your wife made before getting married, and are still feeling the same. others you have to point out "i'm just to selfish. i want my money, time, priorities to be about me."-may not be true, but it shuts up a lot more people. others it takes a little more putting them on guard-"with all the times you've asked me this and i've told you, one would think you have no comprehension" or "how do you think someone would feel if you kept badgering them like this, and they just didn't want you to know they had been trying, and couldn't" also the "if i ever change my mind there are always a lot of kids in need of adoption, or fostercare."

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@magic cave: thanks for commenting. It's good to get someone from "the other side" to join in!! BTW, I love that gift idea!! Saving it for later.

@moosezilla: i'm afraid that at some point I am going to have to be that blunt about it. Also you are correct, if we ever did want kids, we would be MUCH more likely to adopt than to have our own (medical reasons).

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@magic cave: Thanks for sharing that link, that's an awesome plaque, I might have to get that for my parents!

I guess my advantage is that other siblings on both my side and my spouse's side already have kids, so neither set of parents are lacking grandchildren!

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My husband and I have been together for six years, and just got married in September. We also decided that we don't want to have kids.

No one bothered us about it before we got married, but once we did it was like a flood. Family (his dad, who already has seven grandkids and an eighth on the way, and worse are my parents who have none), friends, (though not our closest friends, who know what we want and don't want), and coworkers have all been badgering us about having kids. Especially me. Whenever I'm mildly sick, everyone assumes I'm pregnant.

It's starting to really get on my nerves. I've tried explaining to people that we just don't want kids, I've tried the tactic of telling people we're being "selfish" and are just focusing on ourselves, but SO MANY people just don't get it. It's to the point where I'm snapping at people who insinuate I might be pregnant because it just makes me so angry. I don't know what else to do about it.

I guess my point is: I know the feeling.

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@sunnyx0r: It's funny, I seem to get more of the questions than my wife does. I feel your pain though. I haven't gone the selfish route yet but I fear what will happen if I do.

Also worth noting, my dad works for a church (and is very prominent in that church) so as his son, I get lots of questions from nearly everyone at his church about this topic.

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It's your choice and your parents should be cooler about it but you should try to understand their feelings too. Your decision, and your sister's, is affecting them, all of their friends and peers probably have grandkids and once they reach, or if they're at, retirement they probably always envisioned having grandkids around. This doesn't mean you should feel guilty or change your decision but maybe you should be a little more tolerant when they make subtle, or not, hints. If it really, really upsets you when people inquire then there may be something else going on here, possibly you feel guilty and don't want the reminder.

My wife and I are having similar inquiries made by friends our age that are having their first or even second kids, although we do plan to have kids, just not soon. In the end their questions don't change anything or have any effect on my life so we just give some vague answer and forget about it. The bigger your reaction the more memorable it is so play it cool.

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@apocello42: good comment. I do feel their pain and understand where they are coming from. I can't help but feel guilty.

also, wouldn't a bigger reaction be better? I want it to be memorable so that they will remember and stop asking me about it!

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People often do things for the reaction. If you don't react, even completely ignoring the inquires, then people will just move on. If they persist then maybe a big blow up is in order but think about how that reflects on you. Blowing up at a simple question doesn't seem very mature and will lower peoples respect for you, at least it does for me when I see people loose it over little things. That being said, I'm all for mocking people and using sarcasm if they really won't leave you alone, just don't make a scene. Also don't mock your parents, you probably are just going to have to deal with the things they say. They put up with you for ~18 years.

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@cardinalsfan: This is only a half-serious suggestion, but I've used it successfully regarding medical issues: when asked, put your head down slightly, then say softly and mournfully, "Well, it's, uh, it's just a difficult situation and it hurts to discuss it."

Most people will immediately feel a bit of embarrassment and try either to console you or to change the subject. You don't have to explain that the difficult and hurtful part is that you're tired of people prying like that.

The late Ann Landers used to suggest you look people straight in the eye and ask, "Why would you ask such a terribly personal question?" but I suspect most folks these days mean well and are just a little socially dense about proprieties. And, of course, the line of what defines "terribly personal" has moved drastically in the last several days.

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@apocello42: good points. I've seen one suggestion where the person went into a detailed, gross medical reason why they couldn't have kids. in reality, they just didn't want them but they were tired of getting asked and that was the best solution to them.

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@magic cave: good idea!

Ann is right, that is a personal question but the people that ask me about it are ones I know well, such as friends and church people and relatives and such. but yeah, the personal line has seemed to move quite a bit.

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My wife points to our pets and says: That's the closest you're going to get. I just ignore it, like they didn't say anything. We're in our late 30s/early 40s...not going to happen. Glad others want to have them, we're just not interested.

And just for the sake of asking, what's with all the downvotes on this question? Are people really that offended, or did I miss something?

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@okham: I try to do that but it doesn't seem to stick. they just laugh it off like I'm joking.

I really thought the talk my parents and I had last year would set everything straight but it didnt.

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@okham: Just a guess, but I don't think the question was seen as offensive. I think the downvotes came from the number of questions asked in such a brief period of time.

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@barnabee: yup, this is likely the reason. it was my first time asking questions and i didn't even think to ask them together or anything.

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@cardinalsfan: Yep, that'll do it. I didn't even notice who asked, the question just resonated a bit.

Sorry your folks won't take the hint. You could always suggest that if they want a baby around so much, they could adopt one...but that might come across as too harsh.

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@okham: well, now I know better for later. gotta learn somewhere.

what's funny is they might actually do that. both my sister and I were adopted and they have thought about the idea of fostering or adopting again. I'm sure the lack of grandbabies would make this idea look better to them.

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My mom calls my dog her "grand dog" and when people look at her funny she tells them that she has known since I was a kid that was as close to a grand child as she was ever going to get out of me. As the oldest of five I had changed enough diapers and wiped enough runny noses by the time I was sixteen that I was all done with the idea of raising kids. My brothers and sister have all given her grand kids, though. (Mine is the best behaved of the lot.)

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@moondrake: that is my wifes reason for not wanting children. oldest of three AND her mom ran a day care while she was growing up. She got her share of children early.

My parents call my pup their grand-dog...unfortunately he seems to just be a placeholder for the real thing.

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@okham: yeah, still not sure how I feel about it though.

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My inlaws constantly told us we needed to have kids. Even before we were married they were pressuring us to have kids. I just politely kept telling them we weren't ready yet and we'd let them know if we were. Finally a few years ago I gave them this cardboard cutout baby for christmas. http://www.lilsugar.com/Instant-Infant-Cardboard-Cut-Out-1099747
Maybe it was rude, but after that they quit bugging us.

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"About one week after 'peace on earth' and 'good will to all' become an existing reality, not just a hopeful wish people make noise about once a year."

...or...

"When there isn't a single child anywhere on this earth that is going without good food or clean water or warm clothes."

...or...

"When I know I won't be bringing a child into a world that is already over-populated, poverty-stricken, rife with war & conflict and a place of ever-diminishing personal freedoms."

You can follow any of these with, "So if you'll let me know when you've accomplished that, I'll let you know that we're having kids."

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I think it is terribly selfish of you to not have kids. You owe it to your parents to provide them with children they can actually enjoy.

One possible solution is of course to offer to babysit for some of your friends who have stepped up to that responsibility and then drop them off at your folks house, providing them the grandparent experience.

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@apocello42: "They put up with you for ~18 years."

That was their choice.