First, as a new member, I was happy to find this community, and I am hoping to find some likeminded people and much-needed support! Second, my apologies about the length of this post... if you make it through, thanks for reading.
In the last six months or so, I've started to feel as if my husband and I are being treated differently by some family members and friends because we have chosen to not have children. Let me clarify that I've always known I did not/do not want children, and neither my husband nor I are questioning this decision. I've never felt any different from people with children or people who want children; in fact, up until the last few months, I'd never really given it much thought. On the rare occasion it ever did come up in conversation, at worst I would be amused at the bemused reaction of whoever was asking me, their faces always sporting a "knowing" smile that gave away what they were thinking ("she'll come around"---what else?).
But now that I've recently turned 35 and my husband is approaching 40 and it's very clear we have arranged our lives such that a child would not fit well in the picture (I'm in graduate school in Europe while my husband lives in the US--we do not own a home or furniture and we spend all our free time and disposable income on traveling), the reactions I get are no longer bemused---they are now confused or concerned or straight out baffled. Friends who know our decision and whom we thought accepted it wholly now have no problem telling us we are missing out, we will regret it, we should stop living like we are 15 years younger than we are. They frequently snap "you wouldn't get it, you don't have kids." They get upset when we don't bend our plans to socialize with them or attend their children's birthday parties.
Family is worse--our sister-in-law, the only one to have kids, basically has tyrannical rule over the entire family who must meet her demands or she threatens to remove her kids from everyone's lives. Recently there was a very rare rift between my husband and his brother, and our feelings have been completely disregarded in the situation by family members. I think it's because no one wants to upset the sister-in-law.
I'm feeling a lot of this is because people are finally taking our decision to remain childfree seriously, and it's gotten to the point I am feeling defensive about my decision and angry towards loved ones. I've never felt this way and I feel awful. My husband thinks I am paranoid and won't discuss it. Are my perceptions crazy? And how do I go back to the confident, calm, nonplussed person I was? Sorry about the length of this post---I have no one close in my life who does not have children and (as of late) is accepting of my decision. Any stories or advise would be much appreciated!