Childless Actress Has Perfect Answer for People Who Compare Kids to Puppies

christina hendricksMad Men star Christina Hendricks doesn't want kids. And she doesn't feel bad about saying so. The red-headed bombshell recently gave an interview with Health magazine in which she confessed that she and her husband, Geoffrey Arend, "decided they're not really interested in having children." But for some reason, people can't seem to wrap their heads around such a concept. It's almost as if when Hendricks tells people this, they casually laugh it off and then buy her a pack of Aden + Anais swaddling blankets.

Okay, so it's not really like that, but in the interview, Hendricks talked about how she and Arend recently got a puppy, and everyone's reaction has been similar: They think it's great practice for when they eventually have a baby. No. "We got a puppy, and that’s my idea of starting a family," the actress said. "People say, 'Oh, that’s practice for parenting,' but if it’s practice for anything, it’s to be a mom to another puppy." Preach.

When two people who are in a romantic relationship get a pet, it's a fairly common reaction to make some sort of "oh, this is perfect preparation for when you have kids" comment. But aside from the fact that having a baby is way different than having a dog who you can leave home alone for hours on end, that's not the case for everyone, which makes such a statement extremely presumptuous.

My husband and I knew we wanted to have kids together before we got married, so it wasn't necessarily offensive when people made the "baby practice" comments to us after we got our pup, but it was a little awkward. Who wants to discuss their non-existent family with the person they're not even yet engaged to out in the open as if it were a topic as banal as the weather? It is a little bit rude, particularly if you're not especially close with the person who says it. But what do you say? I happen to be an extremely non-confrontational person, so I'd often laugh off the comments and go along with it, but I like Christina's approach. In fact, it's kinda the perfect answer. It's shutting down the question in a light, but totally-get-the-message-across way. No, actually it's practice for being a mom to another puppy.

We may have become a more sensitive society over the years, but we certainly seem to have collectively grown more brazen in asking probing questions about people's fertility and pregnancy plans under the guise of "just making conversation." I don't think people have ill-will in asking such questions, but when you think about it: It's rather inappropriate. You never know what somebody is going through. I recently learned this the hard way when I found out a friend was suffering from infertility for two years before she conceived (I asked her a few times when she was going to have a baby); and when people constantly asked me when I was going to have another a few months before I became pregnant with my second. Answer: We just didn't want another baby yet, so back off.

Again, I'm under the assumption that such questions and comments are merely done out of curiosity and innocence, but perhaps we should all take a step back and think about what we're about to say or ask before it comes out of our mouth. And perhaps those of us on the receiving end should take a page out of Christina's book and give a direct "quit interrogating me" kind of answer. 

Have you ever found a pregnancy or fertility question uncomfortable?


Image via Raven Underwood/Flickr

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Elaine Cox

so she puts her plans in the street then gets upset when people ask about em?..

nonmember avatar Sabine

Elaine, what on earth are you talking about?

Jami JoAnne Russell

Elaine, sometimes you HAVE to do that. I'm not even married nor do I ever want to be and I've had people bug me about having a kid. Most of the time I can deflect the question by saying "I'm not married." But one guy actually said to me, "Go to a bar and trick a guy into getting you pregnant, children don't need a father." IN FRONT OF HIS WIFE AND KIDS!

After that I found out I was likely infertile anyway cause I have PCOS, so that deflected some of the others though some tried to press cards for fertility clinics into my hands. Not a single one would accept the fact that I simply do not want kids.

Course now I've had a hysterectomy (for medical reasons - good news is the biopsies were negative for cancer!) so I'm looking forward to telling the next pushy person "It's kind of hard to get pregnant without a uterus."

When it comes to women people are VERY pushy about trying to FORCE us to have kids. Especially if we don't want them. Everyone should read STFUParentsBlog to see such lovely things like telling a PhD candidate that she knows nothing yet because she's not a mom. Telling a female solider that she's selfish because she hasn't popped out a kid. Telling people that their pets are just substitutes for children. And so on. Though don't read on a full stomach/while eating. A lot of people like to post pictures of their kid's bowel movements or their placenta and other gross things.


I love it when I get the "you're selfish" comment's. As long as you have your kid(s) and you're happy leave me the fuck alone. Save your hatred for those who keep pushing them out and then kill them.

nonmember avatar Caroline

Good for her! She knows what she wants and she's not afraid to say so. I personally am uninterested in children and would rather focus on my own personal life and work life. Of course, that could be subject to change, but if it does I plan to adopt anyways. Other than seeing the genetics the child carries I personally don't see the appeal in being pregnant and giving birth. And I also have personal moral reasons for not wanting to do so, like not contributing to overpopulation and helping a child in need. And some of us just don't like children. I think they're annoying to be honest. Well, with the exception of some. Some are just plain adorable.

nonmember avatar G

The term is child-free, not childless.

jayha... jayhawk00

I can't stand it when people say "my dogs are my kids". No they aren't, they are your dogs. You can't compare the two. You cannot love a dog as much as a parent loves their child. Period. And, if someone who says that actually had a kid, they would realize this.

lovelytm lovelytm

@jayhawk00 - I hear that from parents all the time! That their dogs are their furry children.

nonmember avatar blue

Oh, come on. Someone without children is literally childless. It's not a slight, it's the definition.

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