Are you pregnant?…nope, just fat

Soon after one is married, almost everyone starts to ask the dreaded question, “when are you having kids?” You gain a little weight and people jump with excitement because they think you are WITH child…nope, just WITH cheeseburger. Every time you say you are nauseous every person tells you, “must be pregnant” or maybe I just don’t feel good?
My husband and I fall into the non-breeding category. We are child free by choice. Which is something many a person can not get a handle on. When I tell people I am not having children they give me a sad look and usually tell me, “there’s always adoption”. There is, just not for me. It’s not that I can’t have them, I don’t want to have them. I’m all for everyone else having them, don’t get me wrong. Have as many as you like. I’m just not of me having them is all.
One of the greatest things my mother ever said to me was that though she loved me dearly she was quite sure that her and my father could have lived a full and happy life without kids and so could I. Some people would cringe that their mother would dare say that. I didn’t take that as a bad thing, but as a very freeing thing. I never had the produce us a grand child thing hanging over my head.
It was worse when I was a teacher. Fellow teachers could not believe I didn’t want to have kids. But you love kids. No, I love teaching kids, there is a difference. Plus, I taught junior high. You want to talk about fantastic birth control…try a 13 year old(or more like try 120 of em a day). I was never maternal to begin with. I don’t coo over babies. There are some down right ugly ones(there I said it…and yes, I mean it). There are some darn cute ones too. When my friends have babies I’m the one standing in the corner not huddling around the baby.
A few years back Ann Lander’s wrote her now famous “The Childless Couple” which is pretty much what I refer people to when they get on my case about not wanting to have children.

“There is nothing sadder than a childless couple. It breaks my heart to see them relaxing around swimming pools in Florida, sitting all suntanned and miserable on the decks of their boats — trotting off to Europe like lonesome fools. It’s an empty life. Nothing but money to spend, more time to enjoy and a whole lot less to worry about.
The poor childless couple are so wrapped up in themselves, you have to feel sorry for them. They don’t fight over the child’s discipline, don’t blame each other for the child’s most obnoxious characteristics, and they miss all the fun of doing without for the child’s sake. They just go along, doing whatever they want, buying what they want and liking each other. It’s a pretty pathetic picture.
Everyone should have children. No one should be allowed to escape the wonderful experience that accompanies each stage in the development of the young — the happy memories of sleepless nights, coughing spells, tantrums, diaper rash, debts, “dipso” baby sitters, saturated mattresses, emergencies and never-ending crises.
How dismal is the peaceful home without the constant childish problems that make a well-rounded life and an early breakdown; the tender, thoughtful discussions when the report card reveals the progeny to be one step below a moron; the end-of-the-day reunions with all the joyful happenings recited like well-placed blows to the temples.
Children are worth it. Every moment of anxiety, every sacrifice, every complete collapse pays off as a fine, sturdy adolescent is reached. The feeling of reward the first time you took the boy hunting — he didn’t mean to shoot you, the lad was excited. Remember how he cried? How sorry he was? And how much better you felt after the blood transfusion? These are the times a man with a growing son treasures — memories that are captured forever in the heart and the limp.
Think back to the night of romantic adventure when your budding daughter eloped with the village idiot. What childless couple ever shared in the stark realism of that drama? Aren’t you a better man for having lived richly, fully, acquiring that tic in your left eye? Could a woman without children touch the strength and heroism of your wife as she tried to fling herself out of the bedroom window?
The childless couple live in a vacuum. They fill their lonely days with golf, vacation trips, dinner dates, civic affairs, tranquility, leisure and entertainment. There is a terrifying emptiness without children, but the childless couple are too comfortable to know it.
You just have to look at them to see what the years have done: He looks boyish, unlined and rested; she’s slim, well-groomed and youthful. It isn’t natural. If they had had kids, they’d look like the rest of us — worn out, wrinkled and exhausted.”

What on Earth can any of this do with Tahitian vanilla beans? Well, see those Tahitian vanilla beans were brought to me from Tahiti. From one of my many other child free by choicer friends. Out enjoying what would be their child’s college fund by going to Tahiti. Rough eh?
I chose to use just a simple sugar cookie to show off the flavor of the beans. I felt if I went to complicated the flavor would just get lost and then what is the point of having Tahitian vanilla beans. And whatever you do, don’t discard your beans pods when you are done with them. Use them to make vanilla sugar. It is wonderful stuff.
Oh and if you are feeling sorry for my parents for me not producing them a grandchild, no worries, my brothers have given them 5. So thanks to my brothers for covering that for me. ;)

Tahitian Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
3 Tahitian vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped out
1 egg
½ tsp cream of tarter
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
coarse sugar for decoration

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add in the vanilla bean seeds and beat for another 30 seconds.
Add in egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds.
Sift together flour, cream of tarter and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass(you may want to grease it to avoid sticking) press down to make cookie flat. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake at 350F for 8-9 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes and them move to wire rack to completely cool.

Adapted from Caprial’s Desserts by Caprial Pence

Vanilla Sugar

1 vanilla bean, whole or scraped
2 cups granulated sugar

If vanilla bean is whole, slice down side of bean with back of knife and scrape seeds into airtight container with the sugar. Bury bean in sugar and seal tightly with lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks. Use as regular, granulated sugar.

Comments

  1. Haha that’s funny!
    You know I have children, 2, and I love my kids, and mostly don’t regret having kids. However my kids have been gone all week and has it ever been nice, quiet and cleaner! I’d say cheaper too but we’ve been enjoying not needing a babysitter and going out instead!
    I’m with you, though, that not all babies are cute, some of them just scream out for better birth control (and I know I’m going to take heat for that!)
    Next person who asks you if you are pregnant, answer back with the same question and see if they like it? :-)

  2. You always find people willing to comment on others’ life choices. Since we have four kids, I have gotten the ‘have you heard about birth control?’ or ‘have you figured out what causes that, yet?’ Ugh. Love my kids and enjoy them to bits, but some aspects of life would be far simpler without them.

    Just name your kitchen appliances and talk about your time spent with your mixer and oven ;-) You’ve produced beautiful results, as usual!

  3. Those look delicious. There’s not a whole lot better than a simple sugar cookie. I think “When are you having kids?” is one of the most ridiculous questions someone can ask a person, regardless of whether you are having them or not. Umm, step off my private life, kthx. ;P

  4. Interesting timing that your post came out. And I’ve read that Ann Lander’s columnn before…and how true it is. I would have been childless if Alex had not been an “oops”

    Today we had pictures taken, and I looked worn out, wrinkled and all I wished was I could just crawl under a rock.

    I started to cry…do I really look like that?

    I love my kids, but when someone asks me if it’s worth it? I always answer, No.

  5. ha! And the cycle never ends. Once you have a child, the new question becomes when are you having another.

    I gotta say, I love being a mom. I also love traveling and cookies.. In the end each of us has to make choices that work for us. Mine will always include chocolate, btw.

    And Laura, I don’t know what you look like but my guess is that it was a crappy picture. Wipe away your tears and have a cookie!

  6. Kudos to being childfree and doing what’s best for you. At the end of the day, the only things that matters is if you are happy… and Tahitian vanilla bean sugar cookies definitely makes life easier to enjoy. :)

  7. I had to laugh at the title – that’s happened to me, when I was holding my 6 month old daughter.

    The cookies look beautiful. I love the backdrop fabric, too.

  8. We don’t have kids and both our mothers are DYING for us to have kids. Your post is a great read, we’ll have to pass it on to them.

    You have such pretty pictures, they say a thousand words!

  9. With today’s stress and high expenses bringing up a kid is not easy. Time is another factor – most of your time is given to your kid and ended up none for yourself.

  10. Gorgeous cookies!

    And bravo on the post. My brother and sister-in-law don’t have kids, by choice (my hubby and I don’t yet, but we plan to). They have a life they love, and to me that is the very meaning of success. No one should tell anyone else how to live!

  11. I’m so glad I’m not the only one out there who doesn’t want kids. For me, I grew up babysitting until I was 20, so I kinda feel like I’ve raised a bunch of kids. Plus, I know all the really bad things that come with it that most parents won’t tell you about :) It did help when my mom (who had me at 18) said to me “don’t have kids … just think, all the money I’d spend on grandkids, I could be spending on you.” How could I argue? It’s so nice not to have the pressure from family.

    However, kids are hilarious and I love my friends kids dearly. One the other day came up to me, rubbed my belly and said “Auntie Jess .. you havea a big belly.” I couldn’t help but laugh. Your post reminded me of that.

    BTW, those cookies look amazing … yum for tahitian vanilla! :)

  12. I loved you before, but now I LOVE YOU so much more. You stated very well the exact reasons I do NOT want kids. My boyfriend’s sister has a great kid. We love him. But as soon as he starts crying, my boyfriend looks at me and says “Baby, let’s make a baby!” in a country accent, and we laugh because HELL NO.

  13. Personally I don’t understand why anyone ever feels the need to comment on another person’s decisions regarding whether they have kids or not.

  14. I feel perfectly happy about your decision to remain childless. (But man, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when someone asks you if you are pregnant! That’s got to be good!)

    I was 9 months pregnant and at a party when someone asked me very quietly if I was pregnant…she was scared to ask me in case I WASN’T. I was not tiny either, I was absolutely massive! I was slightly offended later when I thought to myself,’Hey, wait a minute…everyone thinks this is my normal body!’
    I only have just one child and have had plenty of the conversations where I was told I should have another child because she will be spoiled and lonely. Tough.
    My daughter is 23 now and is neither of those things!
    I love her to bits and she has always been enough for me.
    Oh…those sugar cookies look mighty fine!

  15. I think a lot of people don’t think before they speak. Weather it’s asking someone why they haven’t had kids yet or why they’re having a third child when they already have a girl and a boy, somethings are just your own business and it would be so much simpler and less frustrating if everyone understood that.

    Now, all I need is a good friend to go to Tahiti for me! :)

  16. I like this entry, I like real vanilla, and I like this blog :)

  17. Follow your heart. Your mother is a wise woman; I like her!
    Like the cookies too. Man the vanilla beans make a whole new world.

  18. Childless by choice here, as well. And, incidentally, living in Europe so we can travel about and see the place. Sold everything off, quit work, and don’t have anybody to worry about but ourselves, and all before 40.

    We’ve joked that we’re going to start telling people, with great, sad eyes, “the Viagra just doesn’t work.” But then they’d give us the adoption line. Now we just tell them that, “we’re not settled enough yet, ’cause I’m not finished my PhD. Maybe once I have a professorship somewhere….” It’s easier than trying to explain that you’re not some monster (as they snatch their children away from us, protecting them from the child-haters).

    I think that stuffing the pods into a big bottle of vodka is much more productive: after about 10 or so you’ve got a huge quantity of vanilla extract!

  19. Oh, Peabody. This post is perfectly written and had me nodding with every sentence and thinking to myself, “Oh my God…there is somebody else out there who feels the way I do.” THANK YOU!!!

  20. I think too many people today have children just because they feel like it’s the right thing to do. Many times, that causes a situation where the kids aren’t loved as much or as well taken care or just neglected. I think people should only have kids if they really want them and are really ready for them. I’ll be 31 when my first is born, and married over 3 years. We made sure that we were good and ready before we decided to bring a child into this world. So I don’t look down on you at all!!

    And the cookies sound simple and perfect!

  21. I could have writen what you wrote about having children…
    I’m lucky, my family is totaly OK with the fact that I don’t want children, but men that don’t want to procreate are not so easy to find, as strange as it can seem. Unless they are old children themselves, that is.

  22. oh peabody. i LOVE this post. i love it so much. thanks for being so honest and funny and clever and lovely. and you bring cookies. yay.

  23. How great. Now I want to have kids someday but I hate the question as well. These cookies look really good and how can they be bad with Tahitian Vanilla beans from Tahiti come on now that is fantastic.

  24. What a great post – and Kudos to you! I hate when people ask – when will you be adding to your family, etc. Sure I love kids, but you know what, I love my husband and myself and our wonderful life we’ve built together more. Selfish – probably – but do we fight – no, do we stress how to put a kid through school – no. Can we pick up and go anytime we want – heck yea!
    And your cookies look fab!

  25. Ok, this is my favorite post on any blog ever. I love you.

  26. So this is why I read your blog, peabody. You just tell it like it is. And cheers to your mother for her attitude. I’m with her. I love my boys, but know life would have been okay without kids. I, too, am the one who shrinks back from bouncing and “kooching” babies. Heck, I didn’t even do that to mine. But I do have to say that having just returned from Italy, you can have kids and travel. The romance is a bit challenging, though…NICE sugar cookies. mmmmm….

  27. You have no idea what I laughed when I read you were not with child, you were with hamburguer! i might have to steal that line, and since I’m being abusive and stealing things from you: Pass those cookies!

  28. Michelle says:

    To number #43 — Ann Landers was using irony in that column — being sarcastic, ya know? She wasn’t accusing childless couples of really being sad — she was using humor.
    Those cookies look divine — I hope I can find some Tahitian vanilla beans so I can try the real deal!

  29. So, have all of you childless by choice couples seen Idiocracy? Run, don’t walk to the video store or Netflix and see it. Just so you know who we’ll be blaming 500 years from now ;-) )

  30. Nothing I hated more than the “so when are you having kids?” question. My parents didn’t ask (they already had 11 grandkids) but my in-laws were incessant. Ironically, now that we have a baby, they never come around to see her. Now that’s f*d up. I never really wanted kids either, but just over a year ago, one came into our life, and we’re as happy as can be. Life is great without them, but it’s also great with them. I think most people can be happy either way. Don’t let the pressure get to you!!!

  31. great pictures of beautiful cookies! i totally understand what you are saying. i don’t plan to have a baby either, but i’m at that age where all my friends have recently had their first (or in the case of one friend, her third!), and i get asked the question all the time. my parents are the only ones who seem to get why i don’t want to have a baby.

  32. I loved this post. I’ve been married for 3 years and constantly get that”are you pregnant!?” question. Nope, I’ve just been food blogging.

  33. Those vanilla bean cookies sound so simple and they look so good!

  34. Cookies look amazing – It was the post that you wrote that has me wondering if you are living in my head. I am 41 and struggling with the issue right now.

    Thank you for articulating this so perfectly.

    Cheers
    Cathy
    http://www.wheresmydamnanswer.com

  35. I loved that entry. It’s great that you are able to believe in what you think is right for you without having kids for the sake of it. I know someone who adopted even though she never really wanted a child because everyone around her had growing families. She takes amazing care of her child, but I don’t feel as if she is truely happy and just conformed to the ‘pressure’.

    Those are great pictures by the way!

  36. Lots of comments on the choice not to have children.

    When I was in my 20′s and said I didn’t want children, everyone would smile indulgently and say, “oh, you’ll change your mind”.

    When I was in my 30′s and said I didn’t want children, everyone would smile indulgently and say, “you never know, there’s still time”.

    When I got married at 38, everyone said, “oh, its not too late” (I didn’t tell them my husband had recently had a vasectomy!).

    Now in my 40′s, I think most people get it – I’m not having children! :-)

    Good luck with your decision and just remember, people mean well, they just don’t understand.

  37. I think this is so great. First of all, I love the Ann Landers thing. LOL.
    I think if more people who didn’t feel that maternal instinct to have kids didn’t go ahead and have them, there would be a lot more happiness in the world all around.

    I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything… but don’t be fooled. My husband and I can often be heard saying “oh if we could just ship them off for one week”. lol

  38. you know what great post… my dad shouldn’t have had me, he didn’t have a parenting bone in his body and i wish he would have realized this. me on the other hand i have four kids, did i want four, not really but i love them to death. if i had to do it over again i probably would go the same route you are. not having kids is okay. and i love that movie!

  39. i just read my hub the ann landers bit and he had a good laugh. we have been married 4 years and no kids yet, still ‘thinking’ about it. but for now, we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves!! great post. and we honeymooned in tahiti so i LOVE the idea of tahitian vanilla beans!

  40. Well, this is all very interesting. I’m 23, so I really don’t know what I want to do. I’m always the person in the background, not huddled around the baby, too! I don’t know how to act around kids. I want to treat them like adults.
    I really don’t feel very maternal. I figure the world is overpopulated as it is – why add to the problem. And I think about the world, and it makes me not want to bring a child into it. Especially after watching An Inconvenient Truth. We’re all doomed.
    I say this, but then years down the road, I don’t know how I’ll feel.
    But anyway. I get what you’re saying.

    AND THE COOKIES LOOK GREAT!

  41. thank the lord that there are other people on the planet that dont feel the need to have kids!! My BF and I both have this understanding that having a kid – its just not something we need to do? and if by chance we did have one, for whatever reason, we would of course love it to death and be the best parents we possibly could but if it never happens – we are perfectly fine with that as well. Though, we lean towards no kids of course. I just dont SEE it, you know? Yeah, you know.

    :)

  42. I am also with cheeseburger and a side of sweet potato fries. After two years of marriage I have gained 10+ lbs. and have no plans to have kids. I’d rather eat.

  43. Hear, hear!

  44. courtney says:

    First I applaud a anyone who is strong enough to go against the grain and not bring another unwanted child into the world (and yes I realize that there are people who are great parents that didn’t plan on having children).

    And two as someone who wants children, BUT realizes that this is not the best time to have one, it KILLS when people ask that question. Yes, my husband and I will be happy with each other if we can’t have kids, and are unable to adopt, BUT it doesn’t make that question any less painful or more appropriate.

  45. These look delicious. And I just learned a lesson. Never drink anything while reading your posts. I almost spit my water out reading “…with cheeseburger.” lol!

  46. Love this blog! Kudos to you on your personal choice. I personally would rather have someone tell me that they do not want to have kids, then be around someone who had kids for the “sake of having kids”.

  47. Rebecca says:

    PREACH it, PREACH it! I feel exactly the same way. I have never been the one to fuss over babies. (most babies ARE NOT cute.) Bring me a puppy any day of the week. It’s reassuring to read all the comments here of women who feel similarly. Now if only I can find a man who understands this…!

  48. Loved this post!! I can soo relate! my huds and I are childless too. well no human children, we’ve got a dog we’re insanely in love with;)

  49. Amen, sister! I knew there had to be more out there like me! Now if I could only find a man that doesn’t want kids – they’re harder to come by than I would have thought… The cookies look fabulous!

  50. Jamie Ann says:

    I am chubby because I love pastries AND I have kids.

    I didn’t want kids at first; too many reasons to list. Then I decided to have one. ONE. When she was 10 months old I decided I wanted one more. Yes it’s hard, but I decided that I should NEVER say never. Secondly, I am glad I waited til I was ready. Being a parent betters me, challenges me, because it gives me a glimpse to maybe see how God feels about me.

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