It seems like, the second you say “I do,” the questions about babies start rolling in. Can't people give you a little time to just be married? It's hard enough to deal with when you know children are in your future, but if you and your partner know that you don't want to be parents, all the asking can feel much more like nagging. While there's no rush, you will have to answer their questions eventually, so we asked our experts for a few tips on telling your families that you don't want kids.
Families are complicated, full of diverse perspectives and sometimes conflicting outlooks (we see you, Thanksgiving dinner table). But there's one thing almost all families have in common: They want their spouses, children, and siblings to be happy, even if that sometimes means letting their personal viewpoints fall by the wayside. So, having a conversation about not wanting children with your families might be tough, but remember that they love you.
Once you've found the right moment—we recommend a quiet one, at home instead of in public, and without other relatives or friends around—be decisive. You've put the time, energy, and thought into deciding conclusively that you don't want to have children, so don't start by saying: “We aren't sure we want to have kids.” Instead, be firm and make it clear that the decision has already been made.
Framing is also important. Instead of simply cutting to the chase, put your decision within the context of your happiness as a couple. Many people love being parents, but if you know it isn't for you, you shouldn't feel pressured to become one just to satisfy your mom's dream of being a grandma. Keep the focus of the conversation focused on what will make you and your partner happy and what fits within your vision for your life together.
Be prepared for all sorts of responses. You'll probably get questions, ranging from “Why?” to “Will you ever change your minds?” and it's up to you whether or not you want to answer those questions directly. Go back to the framing of your announcement, and remind your families that you've put a lot of thought into your decision. You may have additional reasons, such as a career you love or a passion for travel, and you can feel free to reveal those reasons—or you can keep them to yourselves. Know that you may have to make this statement more than once before it truly sticks, and that you might get a call from your grandma or your partner's aunt who heard from so-and-so that you weren't having children and wanted to know why. When it comes up, take a deep breath, and start from the beginning. You and your partner are building a life together, and you should feel confident in turning it into the life you truly want for yourselves.