Children are definitely a source of joy and happiness and many will support that all women should fulfill their maternal role in their lives at least once. However, there are many women who, for a variety of reasons, choose to not have children. That, indeed, is an individual choice that should be understood and respected by everyone else.

Unfortunately, family members and friends usually expect a couple to have children as a natural coincidence of the relationship. You might often hear these words: ‘You have been married for 5 years, when will you have children?’, or ‘when are we going to have grand kids?’.

If you are one of those women who are comfortable with your decision of not having children but it is very difficult for your family to accept, the following tips might just help.

1. Be firm

No matter how much pressure you are or will be under, stay firm by what you feel and believe. Your partner or spouse should keep the same kind of firm position – it would help if you both get your story straight and stick to it. Don’t try to indirectly go around it when asked about having children. Be direct and to the point. Explain that you know they might not understand or they might feel disappointed but this is something you both want and you put a lot of thought in. Tell them that if in the future things might change or not. The most important thing is to do what makes you happy and your relationship healthier.

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2. You decide how much information you want to share

You don’t have to explain your reasons for not wanting to have children. Share as much information as you feel comfortable sharing. Remember that you don’t need to justify your decision to anyone.

3. Having children is a unanimous decision

Children should be only be brought to this world through families that really long, want, cherish and welcome them without ANY reservation. If, within a couple, there is any disagreement whatsoever about whether or not to have children then the decision to remain childfree SHOULD prevail.

4. Your family loves you

Although the same questions come up over and over again, and the constant nagging  can wear you down, and feel overwhelming at times, you shouldn’t forget that they love you and want the best for you. That is the reason why they are concerned ending up repeating themselves a billion times. Parents, especially, have great difficulties in accepting or even comprehending how can someone not want children especially when it comes to their own daughters.

5. Allow them to feel disappointed

Your decision should always be yours and not be affected by what other people want . However, you should also understand that your family’s feelings of grief and disappointment are real and genuine. You should allow them to grieve for their loss. To them, for many and different reasons, it is a real loss that they need time to get to terms with. They love you and they had hopes for you and your children probably since you were a child yourself. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you, under any circumstances, should alter your true wishes in order to please your family.

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All you have to do is just show empathy and compassion for their feelings and allow them time to get over their sadness and get used to their new reality.

6. You are not alone

When you go through rough times of feeling that no one understands you, remember that you are not alone. Here is how Juliana, 39, from Brazil feels like every time she has to explain herself of her decision to not have children:

‘My family (mom, daddy, brother and sis) they all respect my choice of not wanting to have children  and they fully understand why. However, my relatives, cousins, uncles and aunts, still keep asking over and over again about  when I’m going to have a child. Although I have always replied the same way, they keep insisting.

Everybody knows that I love kids and  because of this  they always try to make me change my mind.  Many people tell me: “you will regret this one day” and “there will be no one to take care of you when you are old” or “pity that you choose to be a sad/alone person”. I would be much happier and feel more comfortable if people could accept my decision without saying that I’m wrong and I will regret. Because it hurts – I do respect all my friends and relatives with the choices to have children. I also admire them for being good parents … but many of them, don’t respect my decision. People hurt me when they treat me like a “non sense”. As if I am unable to decide for myself what makes me happier and what doesn’t. I really don’t understand why does it seem so difficult for people to accept that some men or women are just not meant to be parents.”

7. Be informed

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There are many websites online and resources you can find and read on. Having an educated and informative answer will allow you to not give people space for any rude or inappropriate comments.  For example, if they call you selfish, you may wish to remind them that some people have children for selfish reasons.

Moreover, using the words: ‘for now’ when answering about your decision to not have children will ease people off a little it and will give them the impression that you haven’t completely made up your mind forever.
Explaining to people sensitive decisions like that, especially when we live in a society where family perfect situations are the norm, is difficult. However, like with all personal realities that others find had to comprehend,  load yourself with a lot of patience and courage and rest assured that children thrive in families where they are welcome and not the opposite.

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Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the alwaysladies.com founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at www.thethinkingmomblog.com

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