how (not) to talk about (not) wanting children

If you know me personally, I might have tried recently to engage you in a conversation about (not) becoming a parent.

This is a big issue for me right now. I grew up believing that having children is really just normal, in the sense of it just happens to everyone unless they are sick or very unlucky. It’s just another part of the suburban way of thinking about life that I grew up with.

Meantime, after leaving the small town nightmare behind me, I have been questioning a lot of my self-conception and I now lean towards not having children, which is a development that I did not see coming at all.

However, few people seem to want to talk about this issue. Either they are absolutely sure that they do (not) want children, or they are proponents of the “We will see what happens” way of handling the situation, or they simply do not understand how this could even be an intelligible question.

One of the worst conversations I ever had in that department was with a guy I was seeing at the time. I said “I always thought I wanted children, but actually, I think I changed my mind.” to which he replied “Well, you need to ask yourself whether you want to be someone who is childless.”. Yeah. Thanks for mansplaining the question to me, but that did actually not help very much. Furthermore, the much more interesting question seems to be: Do I think of my future non-parent me as childless or childfree?

Anyway, the more pressing question right now is when to start cooking the mountains of food that I bought today. I have guests tonight!

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