Am I doing it wrong?

Hey guys:

I have to admit something right off the bat: I don’t normally listen to a lot of Therapy Thursdays. The reason is my email.

A lot of episodes have to deal with raising families and dealing with married life. I realized that something must be horribly wrong with me because the idea of reproduction and marriage as a necessity is so far opposite my own view on life that I could possibly have a mental disconnect somewhere. I’m 34 years old, female, from VA, black and a nerdy gamer. I’m an artist and a loner but I have a boyfriend that I’ve been with for 13 years. The problem is, I have never ever wanted kids, never wanted that great big wedding, needed a huge family, none of that. Matter of fact I quite dislike children. I won’t tell people that their kids are annoying to their face but I’d rather not be next to one ever if possible. I just have zero desire I guess to be what a woman is supposed to be and I don’t know what to do about it.  Maybe this disconnect happened growing up as a black female gamer in a world where people still don’t think we exist and I just never found a way to connect?

So when I tell people that I’d rather not have kids they press me as to why and won’t leave me be. It gets worse when I tell them I had my tubes tied to prevent accidental impregnation. Then they look at me like I’m some horrible monster. I literally had someone ask me what was wrong with me because I’d been dating the same guy for so long with no ring and no kids.

So I’m asking, is something wrong with me? Should I be feeling the urge to reproduce, get married, and fit into what is perceives as human norms? So I’m begging for just a simple answer to a stupidly complex question. Am I doing it wrong and if so how do I fix it?



Dear N:

Who cares?!  (I’m not talking to you – I’m talking to everyone else!) Can we leave people alone already with the kid question?!?  There is nothing wrong with you.  Throughout history there have been women who don’t want kids or the married life.   Just as there have been plenty of men.  I’m not sure it was as culturally safe to say it out loud like it is now.  However, it sucks that you have to deal with the remaining stigma.  Really it’s more about the fact that people are uncomfortable with people who have views or feelings that are drastically different from their own experience.  We are a very tribal species and when someone chooses to live their lives or have ideas that are totally different from the majority in the group, then its quick and easy to dismiss them as crazy or abnormal.  It is simply more time consuming to listen to people in order to really understand them.  I think it’s especially tough when those differences are experienced on such a visceral level.

There are plenty of women who want a baby as if it were the key to accessing their next breath.  Your visceral or gut feeling is no less valid, just on the opposite side of the spectrum.  As a minority in this department, and in many ways in your life, it probably feels pretty isolating.  I’m sorry about that.  It’s never a fun feeling to feel alone or different.  (However, I guarantee there are at least 100 chat rooms out there where you can find your tribe of baby haters.  Ha ha!)   One idea might be to come up with a little stash of ready made comments or tricks to use when confronted with incredulous parents or when you have to sit by a booger-y kid on a plane or when someone asks you for the 100th time when you are getting married and having a kid.

Here’s just one example, your boyfriend should feel free to use:

When my husband was asked by a nosey neighbor lady 6 months after we were married ”so when are you guys going to start having kids?” My hilarious husband, without skipping a beat, quoted a line from one of his favorite movies “Raising Arizona.”  In his best southern drawl he quoted  “well, doc says somethin’s wrong with my semen.”  She never asked again.

Best of luck.  Enjoy life, do some good in the world and have a little compassion for those people who can’t seem to wrap their heads around folks who aren’t just like them.

Warmest regards,