Childfree (Not) By Choice

August 20, 2013

There are so many different angles I could use when writing about Childfree vs Childless and what is the correct terminology, etc. I even have several drafts on this topic saved. But today I want to focus on (and actually publish) an attitude that I find both disturbing and pervasive amongst the Childfree By Choice crowd.

Every now and again there is a bit of Twitter strife between the infertile community and the childfree community. That is what prompted this post (specifically one recent event and one older, far nastier, encounter).

First of all, let me say that I have A LOT of IRL friends who have chosen to NOT procreate. I absolutely support their decision 100% – just as they have championed my efforts in the opposite direction. I fully appreciate the fact that some people do not want to be parents and can live happy productive lives without kids. I also fully support this decision when made by infertile couples who don’t feel that adoption (or some other flavor of 3rd party reproduction: donor egg, donor sperm, surrogacy) is right for them. I really applaud these people for knowing themselves well enough to make this choice.

And I also know that, although I think I could eventually find my way back to a happy place without kids, it is not the right choice for me personally. I fully intend to parent someday, somehow.

But everyone needs to make the choice that is right for them, both individually and/or as a couple, and not judge others for a different choice when it comes to these matters.

Which is why it irks me to no end to hear some members of the Childfree By Choice community go on and on about mindless breeders who only have kids because society tells them they should. Or about seemingly miserable infertiles whining about not being able to reproduce when they could be living it up traveling abroad.

Let’s attack these statements point by point, shall we?

  1. mindless – do stupid people reproduce? Absofuckinglutely. It’s a fact of life. Deal with it.
  2. breeders – um…wait…pretty sure these people have jobs and/or contribute to society in some form other than simply reproducing…well, MOST of them (see #1)
  3. society – does our society glorify motherhood, define family as being more than two adults, and generally expect people to reproduce? Yes, more or less. Are people who choose not to reproduce villified? Maybe they used to be. But now? Really? I don’t think so. At least not in mainstream US culture.
  4. seemingly miserable – I don’t even know where to begin on this one. Am I sometimes whiny? Yes. Am I sometimes miserable? Yes. Am I always? No. Have I survived life and death situations in my effort to procreate? Yes. Have many of us suffered losses? Geez, I think MOST of us have. Do many of us suffer physical symptoms from the disease that has caused our infertility? Yes. We are entitled to our grief and a little whine with our wine thankyouverymuch. This is a health issue and you shouldn’t take your health for granted. Would you begrudge me a little misery if I had some other illness?
  5. living it up – yes, I like to travel and love the fact that I can go out to hear a live band on a moment’s notice and not come home until 2am. And I freely choose to give that up in order to parent. I respect your decision to not give it up. It’s fun. When I’m not in pain (see #4).

More on this society thing
Sure parents are fond of saying, “You don’t know, you wouldn’t understand, you don’t have kids” to us all whether we are childfree or childless. Yes, there is a “Mommy” culture. And maybe we all feel a bit left out. Perhaps you feel the need to justify your choice to rude people who question it. But do people really still villify the childfree?

Perhaps it’s just the way I was raised but some family members married and had kids. Others didn’t. Maybe you wondered if they were gay or infertile but they were family and you accepted them that way. Just like I accept non-family and the choices they make which have absolutely no bearing on my life.

So why am I being accused of blindly or mindlessly following some societal rule because I want kids? Do you really think I would work THIS hard at something I didn’t REALLY REALLY REALLY want? Do you really think I haven’t asked myself why I want kids and whether it’s truly MY desire or just what I feel is expected of me?

Trust me. I am not known for doing what I’m told or following the rules or living up to others’ expectations. Seriously, that is NOT me.

If you want to not have kids then I respect that. But I expect the same courtesy. I’m sorry if rude people question your decision but that’s not all people. You are being heard. You can stop shouting and being so defensive about it. We get it. You don’t want kids and that’s OK.

Childfree and childless are two sides of the same coin. It’s the SAME COIN. Why must it be Us vs Them? Why must you talk about ‘claiming’ celebrities or historical figures for your cause? In the end, the people with no kids, REGARDLESS OF THE REASON, should be educating (not shouting at and/or name calling) the world on why not having children is a viable, and not selfish, choice to make.

And, for the record, I don’t think having children would have stopped Julia Child from cooking. While not common, there are plenty of examples of women who had both kids and careers – as well as women with neither – throughout history. Speculation does no one any good.


4 Responses to “Childfree (Not) By Choice”

  1. Reblogged this on ourlastembryo's Blog and commented:
    Well written. Reblog: Childfree (Not) By Choice

  2. Dipitie Says:

    Amen sister! Why the heck would we do any of this if we didn’t want kids? If it was just a passing fancy, I’m sure we would have been over it after the first injection, first $1000 dollars, etc. I too feel the great divide – we should stick together but we are diametrically opposed 😦

  3. […] of understanding Twitter but… I feel sort of compelled. One of the people who prompted a previous post regarding Childfree By Choice is now also inspiring this post. You see, what that guy said on twitter was slightly offensive but, […]

  4. Kristen Says:

    I live with endo, adeno, and bowel issues resulting from endo and adhesions. I can sympathize with the things laid out in this blog post. Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate it.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: