Ask Ciiku: I Don’t Want Children

Dear Ciiku,

There’s been something tugging at me for the past couple of weeks that has been further triggered by a post on a popular blog. First, I have issues with the post… but, gai, anyway.

Five years ago I met a guy who from the beginning was unlike anyone I knew, he is kind, thoughtful, and above all else, he comes through. When we started dating I was unsure about having kids but as we went on, I became resolute in my decision not to have children. He has been supportive and we agreed that companionship was more important and focused on growing together in love.

Over the past year there have been instances when he has asked if I was sure about my decision. My answer remains the same. I get there is pressure from both our families, not to mention the fact his best friend and younger brother became dads a few weeks apart. I never thought this would get to this point but I have noticed a change, he seems withdrawn. I brought it up and he agreed that not having kids is affecting him and how he views himself. I keep being coaxed into having just one child, but I don’t want that. All of this is taking a toll on me, I can feel myself fraying and don’t know how much longer I can stand it. This is a wholesome relationship, it refreshes and nourishes me, I don’t want that to change, I just want my decision to be accepted and for us to be how we have been, but… but, it seems harder by the day. Please talk me through this.

Xeno

Dear Xeno,

I am so sorry you are going though this.

I will try my best to talk you through this.

Culture has dictated how people live their lives. Back in the day romantic relationships were not about “love” as they are today (even though we cannot even agree on what love means). People had many children because of the high mortality rate etc etc. As the world changes, so did how people live their lives. More than anything, at the time when women became able to make decisions and not have them made, culture had a major shift.

When someone is resolute in a decision that breaks away from the cultural norm, people always assume that at some point the person will change their mind. Because most often than not, people maintain the status quo and even those who rebel, somewhere down the line, they revert to the status quo. In other instances, people think that because one isn’t following the socially acceptable ways of doing/living life, then you are judging their decisions to do so.

Deciding not to have a child isn’t an easy decision to make and I sometimes find it offensive when people make it seem like it is an easy position to make. This is further compounded by the fact that in this part of the world, there is social capital attached to still following the norm (the norm being “get married and have kids”). Decisions need to be respected.

The thing is, when some people see others around them doing certain things, they become swayed, they second guess themselves or they change their mind. And that’s fine. But that should never become an expectation that you too must change your mine. And this works both ways, if he has decided that children is something he wants then perhaps the thing that isn’t working is the relationship. Is it a wholesome relationship if you do not want the same things? Change is something that humans most times don’t do well with. However, I must implore you to remain authentic.

In all this, it is important to remain connected to yourself, to remain true to yourself. If this means that two years from now you change your mind and want kids, then all well and good. It is your decision to make. And not one done under duress or as an ultimatum or because other people are doing it. But because you want it, or you want to.

I wish you clarity of thought and peace of mind. I’m sure this is not an easy place to be.

Ciiku

One thought on “Ask Ciiku: I Don’t Want Children

  1. This is quite a weighty matter. As long as you and your partner are on the same page you can weather societal pressure, expectations and a value system that’s different from yours. However, Ciiku you mention one big thing. Change. In a relationship, the two individuals grow, sometimes your interests converge sometimes the opposite happens. And that is perfectly ok. The question then becomes how do you accommodate one another. I feel like I understand both you and your partner’s positions. Having a child is an awesome experience but definitely one you do not want to be coerced in to. There is no exit plan. Please have an open and honest conversation with your partner; ask yourselves if your current views on this matter are a deal breaker.

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