For years, I was adamantly childfree. I constantly heard how my mom was pushed out of her job after my older sister was born, and after becoming one of the few people from my high school to go to college, I heard stories from my friends who became SAHMs super young that convinced me that having kids would push me out of a job and deprive me of an identity. If my parents or relatives tried to pester me about kids, I would firmly say no.
Then four years ago, I realized I was bisexual, and I started dating my now-fiancée soon after. She knew my feelings about children from the beginning of our relationship, and had always told me that the decision was ultimately my call—she loved her siblings’ kids, and had wanted to be a mom, but it wasn’t an absolute dealbreaker. But when we started thinking about marriage, I realized that I … want to be a mom with her. I talked a lot about it in therapy, and saw how my perception of having kids was affected by my upbringing. I had believed that having kids would automatically mean that I would be forced out of my own life and lose my identity, like I heard my mom and childhood friends complain so bitterly about.
When I discussed it with my fiancée, we decided that we do want to have a child, probably through IVF. We also talked through who would carry the baby and made sure to consider how we would divide up household labor with a baby, especially because that was where so much of my hesitancy came from. And a year later, as our wedding approaches, I still feel really good about this plan. My issue? How to explain this to my family without coming off as rude, or confirming their biases about childfree people and making life more difficult for my cousins and siblings who have very valid reasons for not having children.
I know that the second I say that we plan on having a child, or when we actually get pregnant, my older relatives and my parents will constantly keep telling me how they always knew I couldn’t resist it, when that’s not what happened at all! I can’t just say “Mom, you telling me that my sister and I ruined your life messed up my perception of having children, but I finally worked through it!” and expect nothing to happen, but I fear that I’ll end up blurting it out due to sheer frustration. How can I handle this conversation maturely while not making things worse for those who actually don’t want kids? Is there a script out there for this?
—Irritated by the Inevitable