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The Cab Driver Who Convinced Me to Have Kids


No, a cab driver didn’t really convince me to have kids.

But he sure did try.

As soon as I got in, I knew he was was going to be one of “those” drivers.

You know: the talkative kind.

My first clue was that he asked, “How was your day?” instead of asking where I was going.

“Great, thanks” I answered. “10th avenue and 23rd street, please.”

Soon as he turned on the meter, here’s the next thing he asked:

“Got kids?”

“No,” I said. “You?”

“Yes. A seven-year-old. So, you planning to have kids?”


He spent the whole ride insisting I should.

Him: “What if everyone felt that way? We’d all die out.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s not really an issue.”

Him: “You know, here, we think about it selfishly – like, how will having kids affect my lifestyle? But in Spain, they really revere kids.”

Me: “Maybe that’s because there are so few of them. Spain has a low-birth-rate problem.”

Him: “Why’d you get married if you don’t want kids? You know, the point of marriage was originally to raise children.”

Me: “And the point of kids was originally to have extra hands in the field.”

Him: “What if your parents had felt the way you do? Aren’t you glad you were born?”

“Yes, and so are they. But then again, they wanted kids.”

You’re probably wondering why I bothered.

Yes, I could have said “none of your biznatch,” from the very start. But I feel like people tiptoe around the issue too much as it is. I’ve never understood why kids are such a sensitive, private topic, except that it takes a penis and vagina, AKA “private parts”, to make one.

Correction: kids are not a private topic. “No kids” is. Or are.

Not having kids either means something’s wrong in the plumbing-slash-private-parts department (and no one wants to open up that can of sperm), or it means that you’re a weirdo.

As far as we’ve come in seeing babies as a choice, “no babies” is still not a normal choice.

For one, most people with kids don’t like that decision. They’re very disapproving. This isn’t everyone, mind you. Some friends have been very encouraging:

“Good for you! I wouldn’t give my kids up [you have to say this] but my baby just vomited all over me, and the older one is biting kids at school.”

Other people, however, insist that I’m making a huge mistake.

Some don’t want me to miss out. They simply want to share the incredible joy, just as I do when I plead with people to watch The Wire.

And others can’t tolerate the idea that kids are an option. Because then, they have to consider whether they made the right choice. As long as it’s just “something you do”, they don’t have to question it.

It’s not their fault that this idea is so jarring to them. Of course it’s weird: no one ever hears about it, except in folk tales of sad, desperate old childless couples. Like the one we read in my high school Spanish class — a play called “Yerma”, about a woman who’s barren. Spoiler alert: she kills her husband.

The happy people with no kids get no play – because we’re not “trendy.”


Take a look at all the magazines. They’re absolutely breathless over baby-making: “Bump Watch!” “Celebrity Tots!” “Celebrities: They’re Just Like US! They take their kids to the potty!” “Jessica Alba: Already Back To Her Pre-Baby Bikini Body!” “Jennifer Still Wants Brad’s Babies!”

What if Jenny Ani decided not to have kids?


The only story would be that she’s a child-hating monster and dry-vagina-having shrew, and no wonder Brad left. Come to think of it, they’ve already run that story.

They’d never spin it as a happy tale. When was the last time you saw the headline: “Guess Which Joyful Celeb Isn’t Pregnant!” or “Star Couple Not Having Kids – And They’re Over The Moon!”

Covers like that wouldn’t sell magazines.

Well, I’d sure buy them. But moms wouldn’t. And everyone’s targeting moms because moms buy baby stuff. And baby stuff makes money.

There’s no such market as non-baby stuff.

Oh wait, yes there is: vacations at couples-only, all-inclusive resorts, like Sandals (Oh no she di’n’t!)

But I don’t want to rub it in. That’s for another time.

For now, leave a comment and tell me what you think:  about the pressure to have babies, about Jennifer Aniston’s womb, or about the play “Yerma” — en español, por favor.

You can also tell me to have a baby, but if the cab driver couldn’t convince me, you sure aren’t going to.

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  1. LizA says

    Oh man, does this one strike a chord. I am also childless by choice, though overjoyed for people who want to have kids and then do.

    My first husband was willing to take a chance that I’d “change my mind.” Now on his second marriage to a much older woman, he never did end up having those children he said he wanted.

    I’ve felt lots of pressure over the years to reproduce, though as my second husband says, our siblings removed a lot of family pressure by doing it so we didn’t have to.

    For a long time, my not having kids seemed to be everybody’s business. After discovering that no, I did not have children, a lot of people felt it was ok to ask “why?” I imagine that question would be very painful to those who want more than anything to have kids and can’t.

    The good news is that when I reached a certain age, or perhaps acquired enough grey hair, people just stopped asking about it. Nowadays, when I’m asked “do you have any kids?” I usually laugh and say “No, just cats. That’s plenty.”

    Thanks, cuz, for posting about this topic!

  2. Laura says

    Thank god for child-having siblings! I love being an aunt.

    I’m also thankful to have some cousins in my club. Thanks for being my first commenter!

    I agree, it must be awful to want kids and not be able to have them. And even worse for those people that everyone asks why they’re not having them.

    Isn’t it funny that no one would ever ask why someone IS having kids?

    I don’t even want cats.

  3. says

    I love this conversation. Not cool that you had to have it in a cab, but I’m glad you’re bringing it here. I love how Havi Brooks also talks about this topic, she says having kids is like moving to Bolivia. Everybody moves to Bolivia, but it doesn’t mean everyone wants to or has to. :)

    I also liked that Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her “Committed” book that in all cultures about 20% of women don’t have children. And that 20% of women tend to take on more roles in society, like political or otherwise more “nation changing” roles. Again, not for everyone.

    Personally? No clue what I want to do yet, but there’s time to figure that out. 😉
    Nathalie Lussier recently posted…How to Stop Hackers from Getting into Your WordPress SiteMy Profile

    • Laura says

      I didn’t know Havi Brooks talked about that. I’ll have to look it up. Damn right, not everyone wants to move to Bolivia. Especially not if you have to change diapers there.

  4. says

    I find it fascinating that when people follow a particular path because it’s the done thing, they will go to great lengths to defend their decision as rational.

    Having kids is a great example: Nobody that I know – myself included – goes into it with their eyes open. However having gone through such a lot of time and effort, you have to justify it somehow.

    (Personally, I’ve found the whole experience to be like doing one of those ultra-gruelling week-long treks in which you almost die several times, but see some amazing sites on the way.

    Totally worth it and life-affirming, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to everyone.)

    Another one is working for yourself – you always get those people who say “don’t you miss a regular salary?” or “that sounds very stressful” or somesuch. What they’re really saying is “Hmm. This threatens me. How can I defend my position?”

    Oh – and I’d be tempted to answer “No, I have a life.” next time a cab driver asks that 😀

    • Laura says

      Oh, that’s a brilliant analogy, because no way would I do the week-long trek. In fact, some friends were trying to convince me to do the Grand Canyon white-water-rafting and camping trip they went on. They told me how they spent a week pooping in a bucket, and then told me I’d love it. That’s a no.

      BTW, I did tell the driver, “My husband and I have a great life” and that’s when he asked why I got married if I didn’t want kids.

    • Laura says

      Haha. Thanks for the added “not really.”

      Seriously, I don’t know anyone who admits to having regrets either way. And I don’t think many people do – survival instinct won’t let the mind go there. Which is good. It would suck to regret something so permanent.

      • LizA says

        I should mention that when I was young and impressionable, I met a woman who had a child. She had been horribly depressed, everyone had said “have a child; you’ll feel better,” she “took the cure” and it didn’t help. Then people said “Oh, just have another and THEN you’ll feel better” and she stopped listening to them. She came the closest to expressing regret over bearing a child of anyone I’ve ever spoken to.

      • says

        Another thing my wife noticed is the conspiracy of silence/outright lies when it comes to the whole child-exits-mother process.

        Everyone she knew said “it wasn’t too bad, and the first 6 months were ok too. ”

        They’d have been more honest just to give her a guided tour of an abattoir and say “it’s like this, but with no sleep for a year.”

        Gotta say, if there’s anything that made me glad I don’t have two X Chromosomes, it’s witnessing that whole process.

  5. says

    No estoy segura si quiero ninos. Posible en la futura, si encontrar un hombre que queiere ninos y es muy intelligente, porque no quiero ninos estupido! Right!?

    Mi hermano tiene dos ninos y me encantelos mucho. Posible este es perfecto.

    I never heard of the play Yerma.


  6. says

    Well, at least he wasn’t wondering if you wanted to make babies with him, stud that I am sure he was. So many people think that what is right for them must be right for everyone else. Even God gives us a choice between heaven or hell,shouldn’t you be able to choose not to have a kid? When the waitress asks if you want ketchup with your fries and you say no, she doesn’t ask,“Are you sure, everyone else is having ketchup?”
    Another great post Laura, enjoy your life, as you choose.

    • Laura says

      Right on the ketchup thing.
      And you know, it’s not so much that everyone wants everyone else to have a kid that bothers me as it is that there’s no air time for people who don’t. No evidence in the media, no glowingly childless celebs, not enough people to look to and say, “See? You can be happy without kids. They are.”

    • Visitor says

      I am so glad you mentioned the heaven- hell thing. The fact is, Jesus said most people are going to hell (in Matthew)… so, you know what that means?
      That is the most important factor to consider when deciding if to have children.

  7. says

    I think babies are a cool idea. Like when my best friend grew a baby in her belly and then it came out looking like this perfect little blend of her and her hubby. They are little tiny versions of you that you can make yourself and that’s pretty awesome. But I don’t want kids.

    One reason I don’t want kids is that I don’t think I could bring kids into the world the way it is now. Another reason is that I just don’t want kids. I have a lot of goals and I really don’t think I want to put those on hold or slow myself down. I think I’d be an awesome mom and I think I’d raise some cool kids, but I really just don’t want to.

    I always find it amusing when people get defensive if you say something they’ve chosen to do isn’t for you. When I told my stepdad I could never live on his side of the island because it rains EVERY day, he got very defensive. As if my decision to live somewhere else was a direct insult to who he is. Rain isn’t for me, but it’s fine for him and that’s awesome. No need to get defensive!

    I’ve never really felt pressure to have kids, but recently my boyfriend’s mom has been asking about kids and marriage. A LOT. She thinks we’ll have cute kids and we’re both artists so it would be an artsy kid. I’m sure we would have awesome kids, but that’s not going to happen… and it’s certainly not going to happen because one of our parents wants grand babies.

    Love that you wrote about this! xo
    Stephenie Zamora recently posted…How to Overcome Your Inner Critic in Order to Create an Unbelievable Customer ExperienceMy Profile

    • Laura says

      Yep, everyone likes their choices to be validated. It would suck to live in the rain and find out that someone’s over there in the sun having more fun. No no, come live in the rain, it’s so much more rewarding!

      I’m so glad that my parents could have a grandbaby without me giving them one.

    • Laura says

      That’s right, Forleo, you tell them to be happy with their grandbooks and grandvideos! Just as easy to share as baby photos, and much more interesting to their friends.
      As you know, you inspired me with your sureness. Really helped get me off the fence, which is not a pleasant place to sit.

  8. says

    “I find it fascinating that when people follow a particular path because it’s the done thing, they will go to great lengths to defend their decision as rational.”- Iain said it spot on! I think the impulse is to do what everyone else is doing, because if everybody else is doing it, it must be fun and proper, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on magical, amazing, fun, would you?! Of course not. But the naturalistic fallacy is an error in logic.

    On the flip side: If we look at this from another angle, we can gain a particular insight. You see, the way people are thinking when they try to convince others to have children is kind of the same way that bloggers talk when they recommend a book they’ve read that’s completely changed their outlook on life. It’s the same way people are thinking when you go to Baskin Robins and they say oh you just HAVE to try so-and-so ice cream flavour. XYZ has brought job to their life, and I think it’s natural to want to share that with the world in the same way entrepreneurs try to turn their talents into careers. Children are life affirming and perspective changing and joy laden. I get it. How could you not want to share that? I am compassionate towards those trying to hustle their parenting lifestyles- their intentions are in the right place even if their actions make you want to punch them in the face.

    • Laura says

      I totally get that. I am a total evangelist for my favorite things – restaurants, places, TV shows, ice cream flavors (Try the caramel gelato at Otto Pizzeria).
      I think that it would be easier for people who know they don’t want kids to withstand that kind of persuasion, though, if they knew their choice was just fine, too. KWIM?

  9. says

    Great topic Laura and I’m so glad you brought it up and I LOVE your comment about how the original purpose was to have more hands in the field! It totally is a touchy subject. Ever since I got married a few years ago people ask me nonstop, “so…um…are you guys going to have kids soon?” And when I say that I’m not sure we definitely want them they look at me like I’m an evil, evil person.
    Part of me really loves the idea of living independently and spontaneously. Then I look at my relationship with my mom – she’s one of my bff’s and it would be nice to have that kind of relationship with my own kid someday. Who knows. I totally agree that for many it seems like just “something you do.”

    • Laura says

      Thanks, Heather!
      I know, that’s a tough one – I have other friends who feel the same way because they’re so close with their parents. And then, I know others who want kids to make up for their crap relationships with their parents. And others who don’t want them because of their crappy parents.
      And then there’s me, not having them despite the awesomeness of my parents.

      Parents are complicated.

  10. says

    Ok first of all I’m reading and commenting off of twitter on my iPhone. So this is exciting. For reasons I think you are aware of Laura 😀 but you probably already knew this got worked out.

    I am still on the fence on this topic. But so enjoy the freedom my husband and i have. I will always remember the misery loves company comment made to me by a very funny and outspoken mother!

    Thanks for the witty commentary. Our obsession with “baby bumps” is sooooooo bizarre!

    • Laura says

      It is a great comment. I’d say EVERYTHING loves company.
      Luckily, you can be comfortable on your fence because you have so much time to get to one side or the other! Young’n.

  11. kate says

    ooh i love this! We have friends who don’t want kids… i dont really understand the talking people who don’t want kids to have kids. i mean … there are so many unwanted children, why try to convince someone who KNOWS they dont want them to HAVE them?! defies logic! i always knew i wanted kids, but that’s me! And it’s taken me 4.5 years to have the guts to have #2!! (due any day now, cue freakout). i love that my childless-by-choice friends love other people’s kids (ok i only care that they love mine HAHA) and i think it’s amazingly mature to KNOW what you want out of life and GO FOR IT! (Kids, no kids, ice cream, traveling the world, a blog that makes people think you communicate with crustaceans.. whatever!)

    • Laura says

      Oooh, congrats on #2! That does take guts. It actually amazes me how many people do it, because that shit is hard! I do love other peoples’ kids, but only when they’re kids of people I love. Especially my sister’s kid. I’d love him even if he didn’t look EXACTLY like I did at that age.

  12. says

    Envy. That’s why they say it. Living in pure torture some days… that’s why they want you to have kids. They butter it up with all the “wonderful” things. But they really want you to feel the pain. Or maybe that’s why I want child-free peeps to have a kid. Oh, the lessons you could learn…

    oh! and I love my kids 😉 I ship ’em off to the grandparents house when I need a long break.

    Kudos to you for Choosing not to have children! (You too, Marie!)

    • Laura says

      Love that. Of course, I’ll be the envious one when you’ve got grown kids – because that’s something I would like. Apparently, you can’t just get them that way. I would love to have a 25-year-old. Would have to be c-section, though.

      • says

        Well, when ya put it that way it definitely makes me look forward to the future, as well as, enjoying them now. And it’s not so much that they cause the pain, more like they’re an anchor keeping me grounded when I want to fly. (An Excuse? Maybe)

        Will you be at SYSoul?

  13. Lauren22 says

    OK…I am all for a good anecdote, but I HATE when people conversations where they possess razor wit as evidenced by snappy comebacks. This piece is blatantly fictionalized, though I am unsure if the author is aware of it. For example:

    Me: Top of the morning to ya, David!
    David Cameron: Lauren, you are the most insightful woman I have ever met!
    Me: Thank you Prime Minister!

    …that really happened…w/r/t the topic: yes, we get attention by not wanting kids. It’s fun and helps with the loneliness. With that, I’m off!

    • Laura says

      Say wha?
      Nothing fictionalized here, though it is edited for brevity. If I wanted to make myself sound razor-witty, I would have done better than that.

      Not wanting kids isn’t the best way of getting attention. You get a lot more for having them. Presents, too.

  14. says

    Bloody kids. My life would be easy street without them! They mess my house up, they cost too much money, they irritate the hell out of me, they stop me from leaving the house on a whim, and they take up space in my mind always (and I resent that).
    BUT the bad is is as bad as the good is good, and most days I just pray it balances out!
    The great thing about having kids for me is that I am less judgmental of other’s choices, and I think it’s great you know what your choice is.
    PS I am jealous!
    Victoria Gibson recently posted…New LinkedIn Tools UnveiledMy Profile

    • Laura says

      I will not deny that I love hearing other peoples’ kid complaints. It does make me feel extra good about my choice! So does seeing them wailing and begging mom for Cocoa Puffs in the supermarket. So, thanks, V.

    • says

      Victoria – I think you hit the nail on the head with a great lesson in life: being less judgmental of others choices!

      And a lil’ tip for ya: Less stuff in the house means less stuff to mess/clean up ;-0

        • Laura says

          Even more pleasurable if you can do it on TV, for lots of money! Do you have to go to law school to be a judge, or do you just have to be judge-y?

  15. says

    I became a Dad in January. While my wife was pregnant, everyone kept warning me about how I wouldn’t get any sleep, I’d lose all my freedom, I’d constantly be changing the baby and cleaning up his sick etc.

    While these warnings weren’t inaccurate, it hasn’t been nearly as bad as it was made out to be. I get less sleep, I have less freedom and I spend a heck of a lot of time cleaning up bodily fluids, but I don’t mind. These things seem to be a factor for some people considering kids when they really shouldn’t be, since they’re so minor. I think the major factors are your willingness to take on the enormous responsibility and whether you’re willing to dedicate your life and energy. When you think about it like that, the idea of having a child can be pretty scary. Thinking about all the things that could happen to my son and all the mistakes I could make scares the crap out of me.

    Whether you choose to have kids or not, neither choice is one that can be easily reversed later on. If you have a child, that’s pretty much it, and if you don’t, it gets harder to change your mind as you get older.

    Considering that all my son does is sleep, eat and expel fluids, it’s been surprising that the first three months with him have been so much FUN! He’s the cutest thing in the world. Literally. I stare at his face for hours and I never get bored. I can’t wait to do all the other fun stuff that will come as he gets older.

    For me, not having kids was also a scary concept. I think it would be lonely. Of course, I have my wife, family and friends but without kids, my wife is the only one I would want to live with. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a house with only one other person. And if she died before me, I don’t know what I’d do without kids to support me. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable relying on my nephews and nieces.

    Maybe the people who can’t understand people who choose not to have kids keep going on about it because the concept is so scary for them? Personally, I think either choice is pretty intimidating.
    Andrew recently posted…Concerns about the coming monthsMy Profile

    • Laura says

      No, no, no – we do not think about spousal death. My husband has a contract to live every day that I do. He may continue on after that if he pleases, but no going before me. So that’s taken care of.

      It’s a good thing babies are cute. Their cuteness is probably the most darwinian thing there is. What if your baby had been born with an adult face like the kids in those renaissance paintings? Would not be as easy to deal with expelled fluids then.

  16. Pedro says

    I told my wife that I while I wasn’t sure about having children but that I was willing to give it a try. The first one was great. Later, when we found out we would be having twins, I recommended raising one (EITHER the boy OR the girl – I was open to either choice) and having one fetus frozen which we could raise later at our discretion. No-one liked that idea, and I mean no one (You di’n’t just say freeze one of the fetuses!). So I really understand what you are going thru.
    I kind of wish I had a taxi driver to tell me what to do in life. Especially if it was an older African American taxi driver. They always seem so wise in the movies. “Boy, (girl) you gotta do whas right fa you — whas in your heart.”

    • Laura says

      What’s wrong with people? I think that was a GREAT idea! Too bad you couldn’t find any support. Has anyone ever done that? Raised twins to be two different ages? Would you have unfrozen the second one on the original birthday so they still had to share birthday parties?

      My cab driver was probably in his thirties. If he’d had gray hair and a gravelly, down-on-the-bayou kind of voice, I might have valued his advice more.

  17. Dilyara says

    I used to hate my mom for some things that happened with us in the past – and I used to be indifferent to babies and never dreamt of having one. I had some sessions with a therapist some time ago and could overcome the teenage-offence-trauma problem. I didn’t even notice how quickly I changed my attitude to the whole notion of having babies, which was surprising actually. I’m just telling it’s YOU who chooses your attitude. You seem a reasonable person. You probably know what you’re doing.

    I also started noticing interesting things about children. Children very often are wiser than adults. Unexpectedly often. Like my nephew said recently about a draw chess game between him and his cousin, “We both won – he won and I won.” Uuuh the win-win cncept from a 4-year-old kiddo! They are wise, they are good teachers. And I don’t mind having a couple of my own ones around in the future. But just 6 months ago I used to think differently.

    • Laura says

      Well, sure, if I’d wanted badly enough to want them, I could have convinced myself. I agree that we’re in control of our attitudes to some extent.

      But my point in all this wasn’t really about wanting them or not wanting them: it was more about lack of support and acceptance for people who don’t want them.

  18. says

    I’ve been thinking about this some more… and there’s something else that really bugs me:
    Having a kid isn’t the end of it.

    You’d think that having crossed the reproductive Rubicon, I’d be left alone by the why-do-you-not-conform-to-the-standard-issue-life-plan brigade. No chance.

    Now I don’t get asked “When are you going to have kids?”. I get asked “So when are you having another one?”.

    When I reply that we don’t currently have plans to go beyond one, people generally react with surprise and/or horror. Are we in denial? Won’t she be lonely? What’s wrong with us? What’s wrong with her? Why don’t we want to repeat this wonderful experience over and over again until our entire existence is a pastiche of dirty nappies, fractured nights and wailing toddlers?

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally thrilled with my daughter. After the initial grub stage, she’s morphed into more entertainment and joy that I could possibly imagine fitting into such a small package.

    However all kids needs a lot of time, attention and resources. From what I can see this requirement rises exponentially with the number of offspring. Some people are very happy to plough everything into a large family. I wish them well. We’re not.

    Right now, I feel like that stage at the party where you’ve had the perfect amount to drink and you are at your wittiest and most confident best. Others around you may be egging you on to keep going, but deep down you know that beyond this stage the fun diminishes and suddenly you’re rushing headlong into a world of tears and vomit.

    Besides, I’m an only child, and I’ve turned out perfectly. 😀

    (I should add at the end I reserve the right to do a complete u-turn on this position at any point in the future.)
    Iain Gray recently posted…DIY Magnificence ReviewMy Profile

    • Laura says

      Have you read the New Yorker piece by Tina Fey? I’ll email it to you in case you didn’t see it. It’s from Bossypants, a chapter on what she calls “the rudest question you can ask a mother.” All about the decision whether to have a second kid. Turns out she is having one, but her debate about it was really thoughtful and hilarious.

  19. says

    Oh Lord, I’m glad it’s not just me. I’ve had someone suggest I consider freezing my eggs. Yes, still angry about that one. My take is that the folks who are sure you should have kids aren’t 100% sure why they had kids, and would feel a whole lot more comfortable if you’re kid-less presence wasn’t in front of them reminding them of the freedom they no longer have. Ironically, I think I want kids, but let’s not tell anyone:).

    • Laura says

      Well, I don’t think it’s ironic that you want kids – it’s great. But if you didn’t express that to someone and they still recommended freezing your eggs, I’m not down with that.

  20. says

    Gah … I was told once the choice to not have children was a very selfish one (of course, this was also the same person who told me God made me a woman and thus my responsibility was to repopulate the earth).

    I can’t imagine any more selfish act than believing your own DNA is worthy of being inflicted upon the earth more than once.

    Of course, now I’m in love with a guy who wants to breed. And I’m conflicted.
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    • Laura says

      OCP (oh chile, please)! Who here thinks they’re not selfish? Raise your hand. Now, put it down, because you’re wrong. Having kids is selfish, and not having kids is selfish. Even the most generous kind of having kids (adopting an emotionally disturbed special needs kid who is also an armless, legless torso) has to be self-serving in some way. Otherwise, how would you get through it?
      I have no problem with selfishness. We should all just acknowledge that that’s what we’re about, and then pick the kind of selfish that’s right for us.

  21. Bruce says

    Thank goodness that there are heroic women like Kate Gosselin and the Octomom to make up for people like you. Without such women, the world would be devoid of the joyous sounds of toddlers projecting non-stop, ear splitting screams of agony and deprivation in public places.

    • Laura says

      Thank goodness is right. They serve the planet in so many ways: filling the void wherever there aren’t enough screams, providing another platform to advertise strained beef, and convincing more intelligent women that having 8 kids is a really terrible idea.

  22. says

    oh man, laura…you’re writing ability is truly outstanding! this made me LOL for realz.
    i DO want kids and can’t wait to have them, but really i can. i mean, i’m not ready now but fear that when i am ready, it may be too late. ugh. but similar to this, is the awesome “when are you getting married?” question. i would like to answer “none of your f’ing business” but that probably wouldn’t go over well. i think it’s interesting that people are so concerned with other people’s personal stuff. seriously, mind your own business! and i do sympathize with the women out there who really DON’T want kids and get the snarky looks because of it. to each their own people!
    great freaking post. you are da bomb!

    ps – ill be in nyc 5/6-5/14 can we please hang?!

    • Laura says

      Thanks, Grasie! Yeah, it sucks to be a woman for that reason. I wish nature would give us an extension. IVF doesn’t count – that’s hard, and it makes twins.
      And oh, I know from the marriage questions! Steven and I were together for nearly 6 years before we got engaged. So I got a lot of that. It’s always a loaded answer, unless the answer is “We’re engaged” or “Never, we don’t believe in it” or “Not till gay people can” (which usually means, “We’re stalling,” if you ask me). I didn’t blame people for asking. I think mostly, they liked us as a couple and wanted us to make it official – and invite them.
      People are naturally nosy. We can’t help it. But it’s good to develop a sense of when to ask and when to just wonder to yourself.

      And yes, let’s hang! I’ll be mad if we don’t.

  23. says

    Was it really the cab driver that didn’t convince you in the slightest to have children or this week’s AWESOME cover of OK! Magazine?


    Mimi is pushing me off the fence into no baby land with that one.
    In all sincerity, I’m happy if I don’t, I’m happy if I do. I praise my mom for never putting pressure on me to have children nor putting pressure on me to be married. Of course, I get it from other family members and friends’ parents which becomes awkward, un-nerving, and I’m going to say it…small-minded. It is tough watching friends go through the pressure from their own families.

    Thank goodness for my best friend with her children, I get all the babies and tots I need. She even referred to me as Jennifer Aniston on NYE. I will wear that diamond-encrusted, independence crown proudly, even though I know that reference means something else in her world. Thanks for the birth control, Bestie!

  24. Linda G. says

    Oprah had a show about this a couple of years ago… a few depressed mothers finally got together and admitted to each other that it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be… and yet it’s a social taboo to say anything but glowing positive reviews of motherhood. Another example of O revealing a “big secret” and busting myths on national television. Watch the episode if you can find it and want a refreshing perspective and some downright blasphemous conversation!

  25. Linda G. says

    P.S. there was also a widely publicized long-term study that came out about a year ago to detremine whether people who have children are happier than people who don’t. (i.e., the current going assumption)

    The conclusion was that there is no difference.

    • Laura says

      Yes! I’m well aware of that study. It was a huge relief to hear (and believe).
      They did a whole cover story around it for NY Mag last year, and people cite it whenever I say there’s no real coverage of folks who decide not to have kids. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about people WITH kids who admit they’re not happy. A whole different thing.

  26. says

    this is better the second time around. when you don’t actually read the article you just skim through it, look at the magazine covers and then read all the comments.

  27. says

    Yay, sis! I love this post, and all the replies. I’ll admit, it took me a few days to read and comment…because I was busy…WITH MY SON. Cute as he is, he takes up so much of my blog-reading/commenting time.

    My selfish reason for wanting you to have kids was so Samson could have cousins. But I’ve realized I’d rather he have a happy auntie. And you are such a good happyauntie!

    In addition to wanting their choices validated, I bet lots of people want you to have kids so they can hear your witty take on spit-up and pre-schools.

    You finally came out! I’m so proud of you. I’ll march with you in the No-baby Pride parade.


    • Laura says

      Awwww. Thanks, Sis! I know, I feel bad that Samson doesn’t get cousins. But he’ll never lack for friends. Maybe they can play “cousins”. You’ll have to hide afikomen for them to go find on their playdates.

      You sure made my life easier and better, having that kid. I’m proud of you for being such a good mom.

      Will you be the honorary Grand Marshal of the parade? Like, the Cher of no-baby people?

      • Mom B says

        And I’m proud of both of you for knowing what you want and doing it well. I don’t think it ever occurred to me not to have kids, and of course I’m glad I did, even with the spit-up and predictable bumps-in-the-road along the way. It’s easy for me to forget the bumps and remember the rewards, of which there are many. I have to tell you, though, the intrusive questions don’t stop with the choice to have kids. From the surreptitious to the blatant, there are plenty of people around who think they know better than you how you should live your lives. I just hope I’m not one of them.

  28. Moriya says

    I’m not sure which in enjoy more? Reading your fabulously witty and insightful blog posts or your responses to the plethora of comments you receive!

    • Laura says

      I’ll tell you what’s easier to write: the comments! I wish answering blog comments were a high-paying job. It’s the most fun part.

  29. says

    I have 2 kids, and to be honest, I never really thought about having kids in the first place (shit, hope they don’t read this!). I was all into my career and when I got married, we didn’t even talk about having kids really. Then one day (after being 6 months married ) BAM! I got pregnant. Total shock (well, not the part on the how, but why). I miscarried about 4 months in and I didn’t anticipate how crushed I would be. Okay, I know this is turning out to be a long story, but after that I knew having kids was for me. It is hard but it is also amazing. I think I learned a good lesson on judgment and being compassionate with kids. BUT everyone has a right to choose what is best for them. Man, can’t believe that guy.

    • Laura says

      I think your kids would like that story. Sounds like you wanted them extra hard.
      It’s true, everyone has a right to choose what’s right, but what makes it so hard for the ones choosing what’s unusual is that they don’t have a lot of role models. I get so excited when I meet happy older couples who never had kids, because you only hear about the lonely (and murderous, Spanish) ones.

  30. Karie Hill says

    I WANT TO MAKE MONEY AND DO WHATEVER I WANT AT ALL TIMES! Is that so wrong? I was just yelling there in case you couldn’t tell. All my girlfriends are getting ready to make some babies or have already started. “Kar, you’ll change your mind…. Kar, you HAVE to have a baby… You’ll totally regret it.”

    I love kids a lot but there won’t be any babies coming out of this vagina.

    Great post, Belgray.

    • Laura says

      For realz, that’s exactly what I want. In fact, I like doing whatever I want so much that it’s hard to make money.
      Don’t tell your friends the vagina thing, they’ll suggest c-section or adoption. Everyone looks for a loophole. Or whatever hole they can get you to have a kid through.

      A friend asked me recently if I wanted kids, like she was interested in the answer, and then when I said no she said “I see you going for it.”

  31. Erin Meagher says

    I needed this posting too. I’m just starting to hit the stride when people around me aren’t just accidentally having babies, they’re wanting to have them too. And I keep wondering, what if I still don’t know… how do you tell a potential mate, I probably don’t want kids…

    I love how my only real issue is whether my uncertainty about kids will be a turn-off to a potential mate. That’s funny even to me.

    What’s serious is how many of you women out there whose work inspires me and helps me lift myself higher are making the choice not to have kids. Bravo in being consistently brave models on so many fronts and encouraging the rest of us to be brave (however we choose to do that, babies or no babies) too.

    PS If children came in 0-3 and 18+ varieties, I’d have tons of them. It’s when they start talking that I get unsure…

    • Laura says

      I don’t know, that’s a pretty real concern – whether or not your mate wants what you want. Though if you’re at the age where people are just starting to have kids on purpose, the guys you date (unless you go older) are probably at a place where they’re relieved if you say you don’t want them.

  32. Jeannette Pucella says

    I love that you wrote about this today. I’m 36 and have been “on the fence” about this for a long time. I’ve gained clarity recently and I realize now that I’ve never wanted kids, I guess anything can change in the future, but so far, nope… I don’t have any desire to experience pregnancy or child rearing. Luckily, my husband feels the same way. We travel, live in the Bahamas 6 months a year, and generally enjoy everything about our lives. I don’t think that’s selfish. I think it’s smart. Right now we are part of a Freediving competition in the Bahamas. There are the most amazing women here from all over the world diving on a single breath to unimaginable ocean depths. It is exciting, inspiring, and empowering to be around them. Most of the younger athletes neither have nor want children. Almost all of them are entrepreneurs. However, yesterday I witnessed a Russian grandmother achieve a world record of 100 meters, that is over 300 feet!!!! on one breath of air!!! What an amazing display of commitment, focus, discipline, and control! I guess one of my reasons for not having kids is that I don’t want it to hold me back. It sure as hell didn’t hold her back, but its definitely not for everybody.

    • Laura says

      Wow, what a cool use of your kid-free-ness. I’ve never heard of freediving before. Or maybe I have, but I didn’t know what it was. My lungs hurt just thinking about it.
      You do have time to decide about kids, but knowing that it’s ok not to have them and knowing other people who don’t makes it a lot easier, I think. Thanks for chiming in!

    • Laura says

      Great article, thanks! I learned about cognitive dissonance in college, and always thought that it was partly responsible for a parent’s fierce love.
      That phenomenon comes into play on both sides, because once we make a choice that big, our minds won’t let us venture into “did I make a mistake” territory. I pay way more attention to screaming kids than to the cute, quiet ones, because I like extra evidence that I made the right decision.

  33. Jojo says

    Getting the opposite response from people is really annoying, too.

    I’m actually feeling more pressure to not become a mother. Most of my friends want to remain childless and my parents tell me not to bother with kids. They all cite the horrors of parenting as their reason, and while I know parenthood isn’t a walk in the park, these reasons seem to be pretty superficial. There are very good reasons to not have children and I respect them, but don’t expect me to change my plans for fear of a little diarrhea and spit-up.

    People push the sans-baby agenda, too and it’s every bit as disrespectful. “To each his own”, I always say. Can’t anyone make up their own mind on the topic without some one in the other camp making them feel crazy for their choice?

    • Laura says

      Yeah, that sucks. I’m sure your friends are afraid they’ll start to regret going without kids if they see you having a great life with ’em. If I’m not going to the party, I don’t want my friends to, either – because if they do, they might come back and tell me it was great.

  34. Elle says

    I am CBC, 30s, and I’m just about to break up with my sweet but over-burdened longtime boyfriend after I’ve supported him through his last day of divorce proceedings before he gets custody of all three children (ages 5, 6, and 7). O.O Can you say…RUN THE OTHER WAY…SCREAMING?

    I wouldn’t ever have a child of my own either unless I or the man was super-rich enough to afford nannies, and as long as he doesn’t have any of his own. Therefore, it’s not likely, which might be unfortunate in a way, because there are way too many imbeciles procreating and too many intelligent people that are CBC.

  35. Claire says

    Although I’m only in college, my Mom likes to subtly “hint” that she’d like grandchildren sometime in the future. Just the other day, we were sitting in a restaurant, discussing the particularly horrendous time my sister and I had in Junior High. At the end of the conversation, I told her “I don’t know how you did it, which is why I don’t want kids in the near future. I would rather have a dog.”

    She answered: “But you can’t take a dog to the restaurant.”

    I’m hoping my younger sister (who LOVES kids) will take care of providing our Mom with the grandchildren she wants. :)

  36. arti says

    Hey Laura, You’re so right about everything. It’s interesting how people will ask “Why?” when you’re deviating from the norm. If you’re single – Why?. If you’re in a relationship but not married- Why? If you’re married but no kids- Why?
    You can spend a LOT of time defending your choices in this world!

    I do think that though that nowadays there generally is more awareness of other choices. I don’t know if other choices are more accepted- but at least awareness is growing.
    More and more magazine covers show celebreties having kids later in their life 30s even 40s. I feel that’s becoming more acceptable. Its no longer as selfish to focus on yourself first.

    Difficulty getting pregnant and IVF,etc are also less taboo topics. There is always some celebrity shown of finally getting pregnant. Like you said though- it would be REALLY cool – if the focus was on – “I can’t get pregnant, but I’m happy and alive!” We’ll get there :)

    Me personally, I want to have kids someday. I have no idea when that someday is- but i figure that if i spend more time in my day daydreaming about travel and a jetsetting lifestyle than about babies- that day is not today!

    Will my kids have Down’s (as my friends keep telling me), will it be impossible to get pregnant when that someday comes (I am afterall almost 37)? Will i regret my decision to wait?

    Who knows. I’m just glad that i have a niece and nephew.

    – Arti

    OH- Also I don’t believe in regrets.

  37. says

    I have to admit I’m a 3 time baby breeder. I love my kids to death.
    But there was a time when i swore up and down that there was no way in hell I would have a kids.

    I loved my life of travel way to much to be tied down and birtin babies. I, got to travel, i lived in japan, Europe. I hung out with friends, i ate in bed. I did whatever the hell i wanted and it was great.

    When i finally decided to have kids, everyone around me seemed to finally accept me as if there was something wrong with me before because i didn’t want to have kids. But now that i was having kids, i was finally normal.

    It kind of pissed me off actually. :)

  38. Pamcakes says

    I love this post, and I love the comments. I’m coming up on 29, I’ve been married for 4 years and everyone thinks it’s OK to ask the question- for those close to me, I feel it’s OK to ask once. For strangers who know nothing about my life, do I have kids should suffice. It bothers me that everyone is always asking about the current status of my uterus, and I’m often tempted to fake burst into tears and say I’m infertile. Although my infertile friend assures me that even that doesn’t end the intrusiveness, that people have suggested how she should lay after sex to get pregnant. Amazing.

    I’ve known I didn’t want to give birth to kids like I knew I was straight. Early in life it was apparent, I told my mother at 3-4 that I would adopt. As I’ve got older, I question whether or not I’d ever be willing to even do that. Adopt, yes. 2 dogs, and 2 rabbits, and I adore them.

    Since my engagement in my early 20s everyone has with condescending knowing tones told me that any day now I would change my mind. Anyone who hears that if I have kids I will probably adopt gets very judgemental about “it’s different when they are your own”. Explain to me now how that was true in cases of mixed up babies in hospitals, families with no idea they had the wrong child. Each year that passes when I hear someone deliver the condescending “you’ll change your mind” speech, I get increasingly angry. They know me better than I do? They are an authority on desire?

    The most frustrating part for me is when someone is finally convinced you will not budge, they treat you like your a mental case. A tactic that doesn’t work well on me, but bothers my husband. He occasionally acts like he wants a child, after people nag and whine and his mom talks about the death of their bloodline. *sigh*

  39. says

    What I don’t understand is why people don’t think ‘I don’t want to have kids because I don’t want to miss out on the possibility of having a future to dedicate to the work I love, instead of to other people’. People always talk about ‘missing out’ on having kids’ What about ‘missing out’ on having the life you want? Also, who in their right mind, when asked, “I’ve got a great job for you – the hours are 24 hours a day for at least the next 15 years, after which it could taper off fractionally but will probably take a further 15 before you can have your own accommodation back to yourself alone, unless you can get someone to help you – and you’ll have to pay for that unless you actually like having your relatives around a lot – and the first year or so will involve getting no sleep and being ill a lot because your immune system will crash from the stress levels and sleep deprivation, oh and did I mention, this post is unpaid, actually, it’ll cost you a considerable amount of money to take on, but it’s an opportunity of a lifetime! Want to apply?” would actually answer – “Oh yes, I don’t want to miss out on this opportunity!” I rest my case.

  40. Regattare says

    I’ve never understood how not having kids was selfish of me. Did the parents around me decide to be noble and have a child for the greater good or something like that? I don’t think so. They’re just not selfish because they’re devoting all their time and energy to a single human being. Whereas I have time to contribute to the community, volunteer, and help lots of people. Who’s selfish again?
    If anyone is interested, I found a really funny childfree blog at http://www.babyoffboard.com

  41. says

    Glad to know I’m not alone!
    I’m 30 years old and I hear people say that I should have children…
    But the truth is I’m not even a good aunt.

    Little cuties kids trigger your protective instinct. But that not means that I MUST have one of my own.
    Sometimes I tell people that I’m not going to have babies, but rather adopt a child. And this always trigger a discussion! (Why would you want “other person’s kids”?)…

  42. Laurel says

    Okay, I gotta say that I have enjoyed reading this. I am trying to understand why people (not just women) not want children. I do not have children (by choice) but I want them terribly. I am 26 years old and if I go back to the mind of my 18 year old self I figured I would have had at least 3 by now. Instead I went to work, started dancing, went back to school, I just don’t have the time! Many of my girlfriends do not understand why I WANT children! Some of my girlfriends have sworn them of indeffinatly others have a more “if it happens” attitude and only ONE of my close girlfriends actually have a baby and she is stopping at one. I see nothing wrong with choosing not to have children. There are many people who have children who I believe should have avioded it. On the other hand I have certainly met those people, who for there own benefit should have had children if only to avoid being the crazy old couple who dress their dogs and never teach them proper manners.
    Thanks for giving me maybe a little more understanding.

  43. says

    Mitsamt die Gärung die jener Hanglage kommt es bei dem Hugo Sekt gut Hugo Cocktail Mosel an.

    Corder ausfindig gemacht hat, findet sich auch in Italien jetzt wieder.
    ihm sehr viele neue Hugo Sekt renommierter Hugo Sekt güter jener ganzen Welt in dem Sortiment auch bei Avinos.
    sekt lagerung recently posted…sekt lagerungMy Profile

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