Sunday, September 19, 2010

Child-Hating Monster

People always seem to have theories as to why I don't like children.

You never had any siblings or cousins, so you just need to get used to them!

You'd change your mind if you spent some time with kids!

And the infamous, It's different when they're yours!

Well, of course it's different when they're yours--when they're yours, you're stuck with them.  Forever.

I get more excited about seeing a dog in public than a baby.  While my female friends swoon over a passing baby or toddler, I stand there in stony silence, waiting for them to get a grip.  My lack of maternal instinct was never an issue before, but now, my friends are having their own kids, and I'm doomed to be exposed as a child-hating monster.

Today my family and I went to a festival in my hometown, where I saw some former classmates talking about twenty feet away.  They didn't see me, and I was on the verge of walking over to say hello, when I realized they both had a toddler.  All I could think then was, "I really don't feel like pretending to be interested in those kids right now," so I ignored them.  And when I found out my fiance's best friend is going to be a father soon, my immediate reaction was, "Wow, that's exciting.  I'm not babysitting!"  Yes, I realize this makes me a horrible person.

It's not that I don't think anyone should procreate.  (Although overpopulation is a huge strain on natural resources.  But there I go again, heartlessly thinking of the environment.)  I know people who are genuinely happier since having kids.  I also know people in their fifties who never had kids, and I can't help but notice how well-rested they seem in their large, clean homes. 

The problem is, how do you tell people you don't like kids?  People will ask whether you like Asian food, or cats, or musical theatre, but liking kids doesn't seem to be optional.  There's never a convenient moment to say, "Oh, I'm really not into kids.  Could we skip the kids for today?  Thanks."

Liking kids is even less optional when you get married.  My future sister-in-law, in an innocent gesture of friendship, once commented about our kids playing together someday.  I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I will not be contributing any children to that scenario. 

Sometimes it feels like the entire world assumes everyone wants kids.  You're supposed to date, get married, have a baby, and get old.  There's nothing wrong with that, but I'd personally like to swap out "have a baby" with "do a bunch of awesome stuff."

During my last physical, my doctor said, "You've been on the pill for a while."  She probably just wanted to make sure I was still happy with it, but it got me thinking... What?  Is it not normal to be on the pill from age 18 through menopause?  Birth control assumes you eventually want to have kids.  I need avoid-having-kids-altogether control.

When women are trying to get pregnant, they can use a nifty device that tells them when they're ovulating.  I need the opposite of that.  Something that will tell me when not to have sex.  Maybe a flashing red light and a blaring alarm will go off too.

Why don't pharmaceutical companies tap into this niche market?  Maybe they think no one would want such a device, because all girls want babies.

The funny thing is, though, when I do confide in certain friends that I'm a child-hating monster, and a lot of the time, they look relieved and say, "Oh my gosh, I don't like kids EITHER!"  Then we share light-hearted remarks about being horrible abominations to the human race.

So maybe someone should get cracking on that anti-fertility meter.  You could make millions.


  1. This post made me laugh out loud.
    "I also know people in their fifties who never had kids, and I can't help but notice how well-rested they seem in their large, clean homes."
    There's not a more truthful statement.

    I'm still undecided about kids... I guess by the time I'm married and have a 'real job' I'll have to stand up to the question and make a decision. Right now I'm not capable of taking care of myself...much less a little, loud, rambunctious, terrible version of myself. *shudders at the thought*
    I guess it's another case of fighting biology... Most people can't not fulfill their deepest biological desire.

    As a biologist, and in the most non creepy kind of way I can, I'd like to point out that there are other alternatives to Ethynyl Estradiol supplements, namely vaginal diaphragms that are highly effective. I'm sure your Doctor could provide insight to alternatives... and if not, get another doctor.

  2. Andy--

    Funny, slightly-related story that might be too much information:

    When I was about 14, my mom sat me down for the infamous birth control conversation. Her advice was, "Never forget, diaphragms don't work. You are living proof of that."