While most of the population chooses to have children, you may have a reason for writing about a couple who is childless. There are many reasons couples don’t have children and it helps to be aware of those reasons.
I’ve listed several scenarios and how the couple might feel or respond. This might also help you deal with real life couples without children.
They do have children - but they’ve grown and gone. Perhaps the couple had children young or they just look young. The couple might be enjoying their youthful freedom.
They do have children - but they live with another relative. There could be many reasons for this setup, from school location to inability to cope with children.
They do have children - but they live with an ex-spouse. This could be a part-time arrangement or permanent. Perhaps the ex’s spouse has adopted the children, in which case the couple would little or no contact. This could be a stressful situation.
They do have children - but they were taken away. In this case, social services may have stepped in due to drugs, alcohol, abuse, neglect, or poverty. The parents either want their children back no matter what it takes or they are indifferent, or somewhere in between. (As a former foster parent, I saw a mixed bag.)
They don’t have children - but they are trying. They could be young or old, perhaps even using fertility drugs or implantation. Some serious anxiety could be involved.
They don’t have children - but they plan to adopt. Maybe this is by choice. Maybe this is because they can’t have their own.
They don’t have children - and they can’t. Perhaps they’ve tried everything. Nothing worked. They wanted so bad to be parents, but it didn’t happen. A lot of regret and heartbreak here.
They don’t have children - by choice, but with regrets. Maybe they decided not to have children. Perhaps they are past childbearing years and starting to feel a certain amount of regret. What if? One or both spouses could harbor regret or even resentment.
They don’t have children - by choice, no regrets. It was never in the plan for them and now they are enjoying life to the fullest. The thought might creep in now and then, but they’re happy they never had children.
With several of these scenarios, the question of “Do you have children?” will be awkward. It might hurt, even to the point of tears. For some, the endless questions from family and friends - “When are you going to have children?” - might cause either sorrow or annoyance. They may feel left out. Bottom line - the issue of children will spark some kind of reaction.
For those who are curious, my husband and I fall into the last category. We endured the “When are you going to have kids?” and “Oh, you’ll change your minds.” We ‘fixed’ the option of having our own and were briefly foster parents, which squelched all desire. Yes, I’m sure there are some joys we missed. However, we get to do what we want, when we want, where we want! We can pour our energies into each other and into what we love to do.
So, do you know any real-life couples who are childless for whatever reason? Have you written such a couple into your story?