Kate McDonough, an illustrator living in South Dakota, USA, doesn’t want kids, and some people can’t seem to make peace with it.
McDonough loves to draw comics, portraits, and lots of other silly things. “Humor has always been at the root of most of my work, it’s how I cope with the anxiety and health issues I’ve experienced over time,” she told Bored Panda.
So, since art has been McDonough’s preferred way of expressing herself, she decided to explain her decision to not have children through a comic. And she did an excellent job. Not only did the cartoonist perfectly capture her own — and so many other’s — feelings, but described the way society tends to treat them as well, making people reflect and rethink their take on the subject.
McDonough thinks that some people are uncomfortable when she says she doesn’t want kids because they have trouble understanding where she’s coming from. Especially, if they have kids of their own. “They may not be able to imagine not having that joy in their life. It also might be awkward because people tend to expect the standard answer of ‘Oh, we’ll be trying soon!’ There isn’t a standard answer to give when someone says they don’t want kids.”
“The end of my comic tries to address that issue, not much needs to be said other than acceptance!” the artist explained. “Asking about children has also been the standard for a long time, and I think people are starting to realize that there are so many reasons someone might not have children. It’s really best not to ask unprompted. If someone wants to talk about their decision to have children or not, it’s helpful to be supportive and possibly ask questions if it seems right.”
When it comes to discussions within a couple, McDonough believes that having kids is one of the things people should talk about. “Even if you are a young couple and have no current plans of children, down the line it can become a very emotionally difficult issue,” she said. “For a lot of couples it can end up being a deal-breaker if one person wants children and the other one doesn’t. There are people who make it work as well, every relationship is different and communication is essential. Everyone’s feelings on the matter are completely valid.” Whatever the case might be, McDonough thinks that it’s way better to know the truth early than to find out down the line that you are not in agreement. We can’t just assume that someone feels the same way we do. “That applies to lots of other things too!”
This is definitely a tough subject to base a comic on, and if anyone could’ve done it, it’s McDonough. She’s been drawing and writing all of my life. “I grew up reading comics in the newspaper and trying to make my own books out of notebook paper and tape. Every discovery of a new type of pen blew my mind,” she said. “I always knew I wanted to be an artist, but I changed my mind several times: fashion designer, interior designer, graphic designer… I finally chose fine art and attended the College of Visual Arts in Minnesota to get my bachelor’s degree in illustration.” Since then, she has been making zines, drawings, paintings, and working on her first graphic novel. “I’ve also been exhibiting at comic shows, doing commissioned art, and selling my work online.”
Here’s what people said after reading Kate’s comic