When the subject comes up, “do you have kids?” (or similar), I also get to say no kids. The lovely follow-up “are you planning to have any?” rarely comes up anymore now that I’m in my late 30s. Noticed that not too long ago, although it has probably been a thing for much longer.
I don’t have a womb anymore. The odd response I give if it’s another woman/mom, usually cringing afterwards, is “Nope, I can’t… broken” waving a hand around my stomach region.
WHY? I have no clue why I respond this way, and wish I would stop making such an awkward and personal statement. But I think the reason is exactly like you express here — some kind of odd fear of being judged about not wanting kids (and by some weird extension, therefore disliking them).
I love kids. “I almost became an elementary school teacher!” (my other disclaimer if a discussion ensues). I can say I’m not sure if I want/wanted kids of my own or not. The intense drive left me in my mid-20s, and I can’t figure out why. I spent many years with a damaged system trying to figure that out before making the final decision of removing the babymaker when no other solutions worked.
I have been married for 15 years, stable enough income, so there was no practical reason to not have kids. But for some reason neither of us had that intense drive. At the same time, I’m not sure I *wanted* to be childless or childfree. I suppose for some women the answer just isn’t all that clear. After five years of questioning it, zero clarity. And then simply too broken.
But still I find the reason to fear judgement from others about being a childfree child hater or whatever, even though I know for certain losing my womb (“for medical reasons” — fear of judgement!) was the best decision I’ve ever made. Heck, maybe I finally feel strong enough mentally and physically to have those kids! Oh wait…
Anyway. Now I need to focus on simply leaving it at “nope, don’t have any kids” and not fear any judgement that might be made. If judged, the other person can expend their energy on that and I need to choose to use my energy on living a full life rather than worrying about something that really makes no difference at the end of the day.