An Indiana-based couple is thrilled to announce they're expecting a baby...never.
Tyler Frederick, 29, and Chelsea Roy, 23, both knew they didn't want to have kids long before they met four years ago.
"For as long as I can remember, I have not wanted to have kids," Roy told TODAY Parents. "And everyone who knew me knew that, so I wasn't pressured much (to have kids) since my answer never changed."
Frederick said he has experienced the same — kids have never been in the cards for him, and he hasn't felt any external pressure from family or friends to change his mind.
"I have a lot of older cousins that don’t have kids, so I think they have taken the attention off of me a bit," he told TODAY. "I have not been too fond of children for a while, and my close friends and family have known that."
So it was hardly a surprise when Frederick underwent a vasectomy — a low-risk, typically outpatient procedure in which tubes that carry sperm into the semen are cut and then sealed — in December, 2021. What was somewhat of a shock, however, was how the couple decided to celebrate their child-free life.
The two posed for a pregnancy announcement-style photo shoot, swapping a positive pregnancy test for a pair of scissors and a onesie for a pair of vasectomy-approved tighty whities.
"It was my idea," Frederick explains. "I wasn't sure about it at first, but not opposed," Roy added. "Then I ended up enjoying it."
Frederick approached his friend, professional photographer Elijah VanDine, with the unconventional idea.
"He was happy to help," Frederick said, "but was saying it was for sure a first for him."
The couple brought a few friends along with them to the photoshoot, to help ease the anxiety of "posing with a pair of tighty whities in public," Frederick explained.
"We were all laughing at the situation," he added. "It was a fun time."
The couple received their photos right before going on a trip. They posted them on Facebook, left, and thought nothing of their one-of-a-kind announcement. What followed took both of them by surprise. The announcement went viral, accumulating more than 12,000 likes and 15,000 shares.
"The public reaction is crazy to me," Frederick said. "The post wasn’t even made public at first, and even after I did make it public I didn’t expect more than maybe a few hundred shares."
Frederick said the public reaction has been mostly positive, though there are some "haters" too, he said, adding that "it's to be expected."
"(There are) lots of comments of people wanting to recreate it with their partners," he said. "And other people saying thank you for celebrating and normalizing this decision."
While a growing number of Americans say they don't plan to have children, and the U.S. birth rate has hit a historic low during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, couples who choose not have kid are still subject to public scrutiny. One 2016 study found that those who decide to buck parenthood are the subject of "backlash" and "moral outrage."
Frederick said that while it wasn't the couple's intention in the slightest, they're happy to hear that their unique child-free announcement has made people who choose not have children feel more comfortable and accepted.
"If these pictures makes things any easier for someone pressured into having kids, or helps normalize this choice, then I'm happy to have helped others even just a little," Frederick explained. "(There's) a growing number of people (who) are choosing the child-free life for many number of reasons, so it's probably best to wait for them to bring up any news than asking quite personal questions."
Both Frederick and Roy said their family and friends have enjoyed their fun-loving child-free announcement, too.
"I think some people were taken by surprise, but everyone was supportive," Frederick said. "Everyone enjoyed them and thought they were funny," Roy added.
And while Frederick said kids are definitely not in the cards for the couple, he has a great reverence for the parents in his life.
"I have plenty of friends that are parents — some single moms, some single dads — and they are rockstars," he said. "Parenting does not seem like an easy job, and definitely one I’m not cut out for."
Pun intended, of course.