Dane comes from a large family and they’re all close. It fascinates me when I see them all get-together and everywhere you look, you’ll see conversations upon conversations. It was a slight culture shock to me as someone from a family that barely talked.
We’ve attended three large get-togethers from his side of the family in the past four months of our married life. People have made statements or have asked us about having kids—in different iterations of the same topic— six times in total. I counted. And we also know it’s not going to stop any time soon.
Discussing before people even start asking
When Dane and I started dating, we both knew we wanted something serious. It wasn’t long until we were discussing future plans. When it became evident that marriage was sooner than later, the talks of having kids were one of the things we had extensive discussions on repeatedly throughout our relationship.
Especially for a topic like having kids, it’s a huge dealbreaker for many.
When I was younger and not yet at the age of marrying, I always thought that getting married and having kids is the logical next step as what many do and what social norms dictate. But as I grew up and started gaining some financial responsibility for my family, it led me to the decision of not wanting any kids.
On the other hand, Dane wants kids.
And that’s the reason why the conversation happened a lot of times so we can both assess what weighs more in our relationship, because clearly, one of us has to compromise if we want to stay together.
Being on the same page
We’ve had several light and serious conversations in the course of our 4-year relationship. Truth be told, both of us love the other enough to compromise, but we knew it wasn’t the best way to decide about something as important and life-changing as having kids. Dane respects my choice of not having children, and I also want to make him happy by having them. But we also had to face reality. We couldn’t afford to raise one right now.
If we were to have one without being financially ready (let alone emotionally, physically, and spiritually ready), it might compromise the life we want our kids to have—comfortable. I knew I didn’t want to risk the chance of repeating the cycle to any kid of mine where we had to take on financial obligations for the (birthing) choice we didn’t make.
With those in mind, it led to one of our last conversations on the topic. It involved creating a very specific set of criteria we had to hit before even considering having kids. It includes:
- putting reversible measures on how not to have unplanned pregnancy
- a specific amount of combined income
- a timeline when we can revisit the thought while I seriously consider my take during the time
Once we agreed, we knew exactly what to expect out of the relationship and our future marriage regarding kids.
Communicating the same thing
When questions about having kids poured in, we knew we had to act as a team on the topic. But we also had to be smart about what exactly we were going to say or it will raise more questions and unsolicited opinions.
In the end, we opted for what we think is a legitimate reason where no one else could really have say.
It’s easier to say that we couldn’t afford it yet, because aside from that statement being true, their succeeding comments would be offending or insulting if they still continue to pursue. We can also shut them down by asking if they are ready to sponsor the child if need be. And we all know no one will present themselves for such a one-sided benefit.
What was surprising though was when we told this to one of Dane’s relatives. We were met with the reply of “anak lang agad, darating din and pera,” which translates to “just go have a kid, money will come eventually.” I wasn’t ready for such a bold and admittedly insulting reply as someone who came from a poor family. I was caught off-guard and wanted to clap back, but I had to politely laugh awkwardly since I was meeting her for the first time and it was a happy gathering.
I know this post sounds quite a rant about my stance on kids. Some may think it’s manipulative of me to trap Dane in this situation. But this is one of the things I can control and I will do everything to make sure that if I ever consider having kids, it’s going to be in circumstances both my husband and I agree in.
We both know that getting the “when are you having kids?” question won’t really end. The same as when having one where the next question will be “when’s the next kid coming?” But I do think that both of us having constant communication about the topic and saying the same thing is the best way to handle being bombarded with iterations of the question. We just have to act as a unit.