Tuesday, April 3, 2007

DINKs Unite!

I have a little secret to tell you...

I don’t really like kids. At all. Babies make me extremely uncomfortable, and the idea of breast feeding repulses me. I don’t enjoy being around older children either, (except for a few notable exceptions,) and I wish restaurants had “no children” sections so I could eat in peace while rambunctious kids enjoyed themselves in a different area. I am just not one of those women who is overflowing with natural love for children.

It’s generally not a good idea to disclose this point of view if you are trying to fit into the traditional Southern church culture. When my husband and I got married and joined our first church together, I made the naïve mistake of telling a group of women that I didn’t like babies. I think I would have gotten a better reaction if I had told them I was the spawn of Satan! There wasn’t much of a verbal response, but their eyes and facial expressions told me there was a special place in Hell with my name on it.

I’m ashamed to say that I really let those women get to me, and for awhile I chose to skirt the issue rather than be myself. Once when a lady asked me when I was going to have children, I simply said “I can’t.” And as I knew she would, she assumed it was because of a physical limitation, and I just let her believe it. Bad of me, I know. But it wasn’t a total lie because I really can’t have kids – as long as I keep taking my special little pill.

At this point in life, I am way past hiding who I am to fit in with ANYONE, especially the church lady crowd. I know that God made me the way I am for a reason, and that children are not in His will for me right now. Someday He may zap me with a maternal instinct and tell me to have 6 kids, and that’s okay. And if He never allows me to have a child at all, I think I will be a little sad, but that will be okay too.

My husband and I have since become part of a much more progressive, though still primarily family-focused, Community church. We have even started a Home Group, (our church’s alternative to Sunday School,) for young couples without children. We’ve been dubbed the DINKs, (Double Income No Kids), and God has blessed us tremendously through the group. That’s not to say we’ve received unconditional acceptance, because the idea of excluding children from a church activity is still somewhat controversial, no matter how open-minded the church. But I know there are at least 5 couples grateful to have a place to belong.

I believe it’s right for churches to put the majority of their efforts into reaching families with children, but I wonder if we’re doing ourselves a disservice by forgetting about people in the no-man’s-land between marriage and parenthood. According to an NBC news report that aired this week, 70% of married couples now wait more than 3 years to have children. So that means for the most critical early years of a marriage, the church overlooks 70% of couples at a time when they need guidance the most. Could that have something to do with the 50% divorce rate?...


Katherine said...

I know what you mean. I don't want kids either, and am constantly wondering if if I'm just being selfish and when/if I'll grow out of it. I keep being asked to serve in the nursury or teach SS, and I wonder if it isn't because people are thinking "Aww, Katie's so sweet. She must be sad she doesn't have children. This would be a perfect fit." No one is asking the young men in the church, most of whom probably like kids more than I do.

Being a Christian woman can be very strange. Sometimes I feel like people think there are to types of Christian: the men-Christians and the woman-Christians. Personally, I believe with C.S. Lewis that definining one's self as "Christian and _____" is dangerous.

Maybe I'll start liking kids again once I stop associating them with ways in which the "Jesus-Junk" Christian book marketers tell me to be someone I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Still praying for a zap.

twiga92 said...

Our culture and especially Christians seem to have the assumption that being a woman means that you'll automatically love and adore babies and children. It's a stereotype and difficult to overcome. I do like newborn babies, but once they get older I'm not as enthused. I don't really know how to relate to kids.