There exists a phenomenon that happens to men and it often does not carry the social reaction I feel it deserves. Some women trick their male partners into procreation. Like so many other things people do, there are various reasons for this. Sometimes it is done as a misguided effort to save a failing relationship and sometimes it’s simply because a woman wants to have a child.
I had the opportunity to play the fly on the wall in observing this situation unfold around a friend of mine. He had been dating a girl for some months. Things were going well so he decided to buy a house and invite her move in with him. This decision made sense for him; he was living with his parents at the time but had a sizeable amount of savings and wanted to take advantage of a first time home-buyer’s tax incentive. She moved in as planned, he paid the mortgage and property taxes, and she paid the utility bills. All was well.
Then, one early Saturday morning while Brittany and I were having breakfast at a local diner, he called me with the news. His girlfriend was pregnant. In a panic, he asked me to come over. Brittany and I scarfed down our omelettes and rushed over to the home he shared with his now-pregnant girlfriend.
My friend and I sat at the picnic table in his back yard. He didn’t say much. His hands were trembling and he had that thousand yard stare that soldiers sometimes get after surviving combat. I became worried about him. He was an absolute wreck.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend was having a much different experience. If he was a soldier surviving combat, she was a woman who just won the lottery. She announced her pregnancy by bringing a stroller and some baby books into their living room. The items spoke for themselves and she was all smiles, seemingly more focused on the way in which she told him than the fact that she was pregnant with his child.
When Brittany and I left their house that morning, something seemed off to me. I could’ve attributed her attitude to time, after all she did have longer to digest the fact that she was pregnant. It still didn’t sit right with me.
There are very few questions that make me more uncomfortable than this one and I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. It’s not a matter of being insecure in the decision my wife and I have made to remain childfree that makes me feel awkward. Rather, it’s the nonchalant responses to my answer(s), which usually consist of brushing off our decision as immaturity or trying to delay the inevitable.
“That’s what you say NOW”
“You’ll find out”
“Yeah, wait until your wife decides she wants one”
And the list goes on and on and on. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before.
These replies are usually coming from co-workers and general acquaintances – people who don’t even know me very well. Frankly, there are times when I just don’t feel like getting into it with these people. So, I’ve come up with a new game- a game in which I volley the awkwardness back to the boundary-invader before the conversation has a chance to devolve into dismissive clichés.
If you’re of child-rearing age, many people of the older generation expect you to have children to protect the family’s legacy. Hearing that you do not intend to produce offspring and fill the imaginary ancestral throne with little heirs and heiresses is often met with accusations of selfishness. After all, their generation had kids so if we just prioritize like they did, we should too.
Settle down, buy a house, it’s never the right time to have kids, these things have a way of working out…
There’s no substitute for experience, and older people obviously have that in spades. The fact of the matter is that it’s almost always a good idea to seek advice from our elders. Almost. There is a generational gap at play that just may skew their outlook.
Making a Living is Hard(er Than They Might Think)
A recent study based on US Federal Reserve data indicates that millennials have a median household income of some 20% less (after adjustment for inflation) than their baby boomer parents did at the same stage of life. This is despite the younger generation being better educated and more likely to be in a dual income household. Their net worth is about half that of Boomers, home ownership is lower, and student debt is drastically higher. With so much financial insecurity, it should come as no surprise that the interest in having offspring has seen a downturn.
Hello there, my name is Colin. My wife Brittany is the creator of this blog, and she asked if I could write a monthly column as exclusive content for The Rinky-Dink Life.
After all, we made the decision to stay child free together, so it only makes sense that we share some of the blogging responsibilities.
And from atop my shiny new soapbox, I’d like to talk about selfishness.
There’s a common belief that couples that choose to live their lives without having children are being selfish.
If you’re reading this blog, you’ve likely heard this before. You’ve also probably heard the notion that we childfree all have the same goals, to “play hard” without the constraint of having children. We’re all pleasure seeking hedonists that think money and an unfettered life brings happiness and fulfillment.