Wednesday, 4 December 2013

When you get asked the same question again and again and again…..

As a childfree person, you know the question that gets asked of you again and again. When you get the same question ad nauseam, it makes you think real hard about the decision you have taken after thinking real hard. My answers, and perhaps my thought process, have evolved over time and I’m sure they’ll keep evolving until people stop asking me.

The following conversations are all real (except where indicated):

Question: So why don’t you want children? (this a couple of months into marriage; I am 29)
Answer 1:  Umm… I don’t feel like it.  
Response: Don’t worry. You’ll feel like it. Everyone does. Just remember, your clock is ticking!

Question: You don’t want to take any responsibility in life? (At this point I was taking a break from work and generally chilling; Age: 34)
Answer2:  Well the truth is I have decided to take the responsibility of reducing the world’s population.

Question: But seriously, I still don’t get it. Why no kids?
Answer3: Well since you asked, let me ask you, ‘Why did you decide to have children?’
Response: An uncomfortable silence with an embarrassing smile; occasionally, ‘because everyone does, because we’re meant to’ or ‘because I don’t feel complete without children.’

Question:  I ‘m sure you don’t fit into this category but you know most other people these days are not having children because they want to lead an extravagant life. Very selfish and self-absorbed, don’t you think? (This is from someone at a women’s empowerment conference who wore a permanent ‘holier than thou’ look.)
Answer4:  Well, we have limited resources these days including water, so don’t you think it’s selfish to have children?  And anyway, isn’t it good that such ’self-absorbed people’ don’t have children?  Imagine what kind of parents they would make. But don’t you think we should be breaking the mould of what being a woman really means?  So, what about you? Why don’t you adopt instead of having children?

Question:  Don’t you like children?
Answer5: I don’t mind playing with children as long as I can return them to their owners, oops parents.

Question: Ok. Why don’t you have children?
Answer6: Isn’t it time we flip the question and start asking, ‘Why are you having children?’  The resources and infrastructure in most cities in India can’t handle the current population.  So shouldn’t people be taxed for having children at this point? Shouldn’t we be questioning the need for more?  How many people think before having children? We have progressed to the question of ‘when kids’ but not evolved to ‘why kids’. When will we get there?

Question: Isn’t it selfish not to have children?
Answer7:  Give me one unselfish reason (other than stupidity) why people have kids. Or indeed, why people do (or don’t do) anything in life.

Question: No children? How long have you been married? (A persistent aunt who asks me this every time we talk over the phone. I never know what to say... I’m 37 and she still hasn’t lost hope.  It’s time to create a hopeless situation.)
Answer7:  Yes Aunty. You are so right. I’m “trying” for the last 9 years including a year before marriage. We try everyday – morning and evening. Sometimes afternoon also. All positions Aunty. But nothing.  Sad no? But I’m not giving up. Actually, I have to keep the phone down – it’s our time to “try”. So bbye! 
I haven’t had the courage to give this answer yet – maybe some vodka might help me with my delivery! No pun intended.

I would love to hear your responses to this question. A handy repertoire of some wickedly funny retorts would be nice to dish out at the appropriate time.  So, what have you got?


  1. Often heard questions and great responses. I might borrow some of those. My answer is rather short and precise- "I don't want kids and I don't like kids". Inevitably, it starts a discussion that will go on and on till you quit out of sheer boredom and exhaustion. I feel that many people who ask these questions do not really want to hear the reply. All they want is to know that they have been instrumental in influencing your mind about it somehow. And to that effect some weird things people say. Here's one such gem- I was once asked whom will I leave back my possessions after I die? And right after that question (without giving me the chance to reply), I was told that in my old age I will be robbed (of the paltry pieces of jewellery that I wear) and either murdered or left to die etc. as there will be no one to take care of me.
    Makes one think: 1- nice well wishers I have, who foresee that end for me out of every other possible scenario that could happen!!!! and 2- nice society we live in. It seems all the people who are breeding kids are breeding either thieves or murderers who will be out to get you when you are old; unless you breed the same.
    My reply to the well-wisher: I am not an astrologer, as far as I can see (kids/no kids) death doesn't come easy to anyone. All the best to the people who fear their respective dying moments, personally I will face mine to the best of my abilities as and when it happens. Meanwhile, I live. And the two pieces of jewellery that I wear; well, I would not care to come back and see what happens to it once I am gone. Ditto for all the other possessions. (Is it possible to live fearlessly and die fearlessly? I don't know, but I try.)

  2. Dear cannykan,

    I like your take on the "art of dying" especially the living fearless and dying fearlessly bit.
    Well said!

    Yesterday, someone asked me "No issues?" Why are children referred to as such? That's hint enough to stay away from having any issues :-)

    1. Now that you have mentioned it, I see it too: it could be that ppl who call kids as "issues", really find them painful and so wish to warn us off by dropping such not-so-subtle hints. Good observation! Polka Dog. Why seek "issues" in an otherwise blissful living :-)

  3. Just deleted 2 rather tasteless comments that added nothing of value except ever-welcome site-traffic
    One claimed to be someone with poor motility and another was someone who should be introduced to him :-)
    Goes to show we attract all sorts! Happy new year folks...let's hope the current lot of well wishers don't fall off the CFbC wagon...

  4. Fantastic blog. Happy to find more people like us. We are in our mid thirties as well and CF since a few years. Keep up the great work!

    I have started a new blog: with a goal to build a community around it. Please share some article that I can post there. Thanks a lot.

    1. I missed your comment. Sorry about that. Thank you!

      Good to see one more Indian blog on childfree especially from a man's point of view. I look forward to seeing more Indian blogs on this topic.

      If you want to post any articles from here - let the author know and please link it back as well. Am going to hop over to your blog now.

  5. Ramakrishna Putrevu20 January 2014 at 16:57

    I work as a manager in a IT company in India.To be frank , I hate childless by choice couples.One guy who reports to be didn't have a child for long time.I asked him why?He said it is his choice and he wants to enjoy his life.He said it in a tone that pissed me off.So I decided to make his life a hell so that he wont be able to enjoy his life.I gave him lot of work to do.I started micro managing him.I made him stay late in office.Usually guys with children in my team will leave office by 6 PM.But I made him regularly stay in office till 10 and 12 PM.Ensured that he is loaded with at least 3 times the normal work.I did it because I felt he is avoiding a child just because he wants to enjoy more sex and go frequent trips.I also wanted to put a stop to his trips,so made him work on weekends as well.So the guy started getting back-aches and neck pain.I was happy since such pains will put a full stop to his sexual adventurism.Finally he got a child.Now I became a good manager and gave him normal work and ensured that he joined mainstream society.

    1. Ramakrishna Putrevu, thank you for posting're a classic example of why sometimes child-free-by-choice isn't the right solution. Some people should be prevented from having children (read between the lines)
      Sometimes, by not having a child, it means saving people (like your subordinate) from having to to put up with insufferable people (You, for instance)

    2. Hilarious! Mr. Putrevu, what planet are you from? And do you really believe that couples remain CFC for only the two reasons you mentioned :-)? In any case your post managed to entertain as much as shock! Enjoy your myopic view of the world!

    3. Dear Ramakrishna,

      It is funny to read your comment. It shows how immature an IT Manager can be who works for an company like Accenture. How difficult do you think to get this information to that subordinate of yours, and to your HR?
      Can't believe you are an IT Manager working in Social media era.

      But that is not my or like minded people's primary concern. The concern is your mentality towards Child Free people. Why does it bother YOU if HE is having fun in his way.

      By the way, why do you have kids?

  6. I am a mother myself and yet I think its hilarious!

  7. Thanks Writer. Your blog is a moral support.

    I just love kids. But do not want my own kids for many reasons, including "Why have kids?". And planning to adopt later just in case I regret my decision of not having one on time. I am in very early stages of Childfree life where people around me had started pushing me to have kids.

    We have not yet disclosed our decision to all, but I am all set with my answers, including "Why are you having Kids? " :)

  8. Though I am all for childfree life, at times it scares me....I am really afraid of being an outcast from the society and not have anyone to share my joys and sorrows with. I just don't want to hurt my parents and in-laws, but i don't fancy having babies either....Confused but inclined to being childfree. I wish I find the strength.

    1. I hear you. Going against societal norms is not easy. You and your spouse need to be 110% sure about a childfree life. Once you both are absolutely convinced that this lifestyle will bring you happiness - then it will be easier to talk to people who matter to you. They might still not understand but at the end of the day your family wants to see you happy. And, it is more important that you bring a child into this world for the right reasons.
      Polka dog enjoys living on the fringe of society and is used to saying 'our life, our decisions' for a lot of situations. And living in a different country away from family helped. Basically polka dog had it quite easy and cannot add much value :) I will put this up as a separate blog post and let the readers give their stories/suggestions/perspectives.