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你为什么不要孩子?这个问题怎么答

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luyuna

2017年08月26日

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Nothing could have prepared me for the invasiveness I face about my fertility plans as a married woman in my late 30s.

作为一名将近40岁的已婚妇女,我在生育计划上面临着的侵扰是完全无法预防的。

What was once an occasional topic of conversation five years ago when I first dated Mike, now my husband, has become a full-blown speculative crisis since we tied the knot in April.

五年前,当我第一次和迈克约会时,这只是一个偶然提起的话题,今年4月我们结了婚,自那之后,这件事就成了一场关于推测的全面危机。

I understand the concern. In our youth, many of us were taught, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage.” There’s no asterisk after the ditty clarifying “these milestones might never be accomplished in this order, or at all.”

我知道这件事的重要性。在我们小时候,很多人都被教导说,“先是陷入爱河,然后就会结婚,然后婴儿车上就会有小宝宝。”在这种顺口溜后面,不会加上星号来说明“可能顺序不会是这样,也可能某个阶段永远无法达成”。

Well-meaning relatives touch my arm and ask when we’ll start a family. I bristle at the suggestion, as if me, my sweet fella and our delightful cat aren’t already a complete family. Their faces drop when I break the news that we plan to be child-free.

亲戚拉着我的胳膊,好心地问我们什么时候成家。这种暗示让我很恼怒,好像我和我的帅小伙,以及我们可爱的猫咪不能算是组成了一个完整的家庭似的。当我宣告了不生小孩的消息之后,他们的面色沉了下来。

“What a shame,” they say. “You’d make such a great mom.”

“太遗憾了,”他们说。“你是一个当好妈妈的材料。”

Acquaintances are more blunt: When are you going to pop out a kid? “Two minutes after never,” I reply, which sucks the air out of the room. I pretend I don’t notice them exchanging worried looks. Even my primary care physician has an opinion on the matter, advising me last year to “keep an open mind” about having kids.

熟人就比较直白了:你什么时候打算要小孩?“永远不会,”我回答说,房间里顿时就沉默下来。我假装没有注意到他们担忧地互相交换眼神。即使我的初级保健医生对此也有意见,去年他建议我对生孩子一事“保持开放心态”。

I was never sure what to say when people put me on the spot. After alternating between arguing, brooding and stewing, I now realize I don’t have to react in such a negative way. So when I want to keep my friendships (and my doctor), I take a breath and try to keep the following five things in mind:

当人们把我置于这种处境时,我从来都不知道该说什么。在争论、生闷气和冒火交替发生之后,现在我意识到,我没有必要通过这种消极的方式作出反应。所以,如果我想保住友谊(和医生)时,我就先做个深呼吸,试图记住以下五点。

Don’t get defensive

不要太自我防御

Most of my closest friends — all city-dwelling creative types — don’t have biological children. In fact, we rarely discuss our reasons for why we chose our child-free lifestyles.

我最好的朋友都属于很有创造力的城市一族,在他们中,大部分没有亲生子女。事实上,我们很少讨论为什么选择不生孩子。

I assume it’s for some of the same reasons as me, which range from the inane to the intense: We cherish our flexible lifestyles, children are time-consuming and expensive, child care costs are prohibitive, and we all have varying degrees of anxiety about our future. Why take the leap when so many aspects of parenthood feel so risky?

我猜有些原因和我的一样,有的无关紧要,有的至关重要:我们珍惜自己灵活的生活方式、养孩子耗时且费用昂贵、照顾孩子的成本令人望而却步,以及我们对未来都有不同程度的焦虑。在为人父母的很多方面都给人感觉风险很高的情况下,为什么还要跨出这一步?

I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many like-minded women. If I still lived in my hometown, a tiny suburb outside of Albany, I’m not sure I’d have the same support. I moved away the summer before eighth grade and haven’t been back since. A quick scroll through my Facebook feed shows all my childhood friends with little ones in tow. I imagine the pressure to have children would’ve been much stronger if I’d stayed.

幸运的是,我身边有这么多志同道合的女性。如果还生活在家乡奥尔巴尼郊区的那个小地方,我不确定自己能不能得到同样的支持。我在上八年级之前的那个夏天离开了那里,之后再未回去过。快速滚动我的Facebook推送会发现,我童年时期的所有朋友都有孩子了。我想,如果还留在那里,生孩子的压力会大得多。

But when strangers ask about my plans for a child-free life, it can come off as if they’re really asking what kind of person I am.

但陌生人问我对不生孩子的生活的安排时,可能会让我觉得他们其实是在问我是一个什么样的人。

It takes effort to keep my cool. After a few deep breaths, I run through my usual answers in a measured tone: Yes, I love children, but I don’t feel an urgent need to have my own. No, it’s not because I’m a selfish jerk.

这让保持冷静颇为不易。深呼吸几下后,我会慎重地说出自己常备的答案:是的,我喜欢孩子,只是觉得不用着急生孩子。不,不是因为我是个自私鬼。

I then politely assert that my husband and I are making decisions based on what’s right for us as a couple. I don’t elaborate more than that if I don’t want to.

然后,我会礼貌地表示我和丈夫是根据什么适合我们夫妻做决定的。如果没心情的话,我不会再多做解释。

For some, staying childless contradicts their worldview

不生孩子抵触了有些人的世界观

When people push back about it, they seem to be more upset at having their sense of order questioned. Sometimes that can lead to interactions that feel hostile.

当人们忍不住提出异议时,他们似乎对自己的秩序感受到质疑感到更加生气。有时候,这可能会引发给人感觉不友善的对话。

Many people assume that having children after marriage is the natural progression of life. They may even see my reluctance to have kids as a personal affront, as if I’m criticizing their choices.

很多人以为,结婚后生孩子是自然而然的生活节奏。他们甚至会把我不愿生孩子看作是对他们个人的侮辱,好像我在批评他们的选择似的。

Not only is it exasperating to justify myself to people who have no stake in the process, but people have rarely been enthusiastic about my decision unless they’ve decided to be child-free too.

不仅是向无关紧要的人解释令人恼火,而且人们很少对我的决定做出积极回应,除非他们也决定不要孩子。

“Sometimes one needs to remove oneself from situations where this is likely to come up,” said Dr. Maureen Kelly, medical director of Society Hill Reproductive Medicine. “So many patients over the years have told me that they avoid certain family gatherings because they are sure someone will ask dreaded questions.”

“有时候,需要摆脱可能会出现这种情况的环境,”希尔生殖医学会(Society Hill Reproductive Medicine)的医学主任莫琳·凯利(Maureen Kelly)说。“这些年来,很多患者对我说,他们避免参加某些家庭聚会就是因为他们知道,肯定会有人问起令自己不安的问题。”

Trends are changing

趋势正在改变

It gives me comfort to know more women than ever are choosing the same course as me.

知道越来越多的女性选择和我一样的道路,让我感到安慰。

According to the latest data by the National Center for Health Statistics, the American fertility rate has fallen to 62 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 to 44. Living in a society that offers few safety nets for mothers (and considerable economic penalties), it’s becoming more common to either delay having children until your 30s or avoid having them altogether.

国家卫生统计中心(National Center for Health Statistics)公布的最新数据显示,美国15至44岁的人群中生育率已跌至每1000名女性生育62个孩子。处在一个针对母亲的福利保障少之又少(并且经济上的不利之处相当严重)的社会,推迟到30多岁生育或根本不生孩子的现象越来越普遍。

And while I feel compelled to articulate my reasons more than my husband does to other people, to be clear, this is a decision we arrived at together.

尽管我比丈夫更觉得必须向其他人解释原因,但要明确的一点是,这是我们共同做出的决定。

Fertility is a sensitive subject, for everyone

生育是每个人的敏感话题

“People should not ask women about their fertility choices,” Dr. Kelly said. “This includes mothers, sisters, close friends, acquaintances and other family members. This is a highly personal topic and should be considered off limits unless someone brings it up.”

“人们不应该询问女性的生育选择,”凯利说。“这里包括母亲、姐妹、密友、点头之交和其他家庭成员。这是一个非常私人的话题,应该被当作禁忌,除非有人主动提起。”

In light of the subject’s sensitive nature, Dr. Kelly recommends following the lead of the individual: “If she wants to discuss, do so on her terms and remain highly supportive and free of judgment.”

鉴于这个话题的敏感性质,凯利建议跟随当事人的脚步:“如果她想聊,就按照她的说话方式聊并保持高度支持,不做评价。”

“If someone does confide” in you, she said, “do not bring up how easy it was for you or compare that individual’s struggles or decisions to yourself or anyone else.”

“如果有人向你吐露心声,”她说。“不要提起当初这个问题对你来说多么容易,也不要把对方的斗争或决定和你或其他任何人比较。”

Having these painful discussions has heightened my sympathy for my loved ones struggling with their own fertility issues. I do my best to offer unconditional support for whatever outcome they are hoping for.

进行这些痛苦的讨论增加了我对那些同自己的生育问题作斗争的至亲的同情。不管他们希望得到什么结果,我都会尽全力提供无条件的支持。

Honor the path taken

尊重人生道路的选择

Sometimes I picture another version of me with children living in a parallel universe. She juggles play dates, organizes nap schedules and indulges requests to screen “Moana” several times in a row.

有时候,我会想象另一个自己和孩子们生活在一个平行宇宙里。她要兼顾玩乐约会、安排小睡时间并满足连续放几遍《海洋奇缘》(Moana)的请求。

I imagine this woman in a quiet moment wondering what her life would’ve been like if she’d never had kids.

我会想象她在四周安静下来时,好奇如果不生孩子的话,自己的生活会是什么样子。

I would tell her as fulfilled as she is being a parent, I’m as satisfied with the child-free path I’ve chosen too.

我会告诉她,和为人父母带给她满足感一样,我对自己选择的不生孩子的道路也感到很满意。
 


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