Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My decision not to have children has NOTHING to do with YOU

The fantabulous Schmutzie made a list on Twitter of child-free bloggers over 30.  Now, perhaps it's because I've read her blog and interacted with her on Twitter, but I knew that there was nothing nefarious or insulting involved in the creation of this list - that's not the kind of person I've ever known Schmutzie to be.  However, she got all KINDS of not-so-nice comments, questions, and judgements about her intentions (she wrote about it on Blogher).

I was recently discussing the whole child-free thing with my friend Robin after she shared a blog post from Childfreedom.  I've long been on the fence about whether or not I want children: while I can't say I'm a "kid hater," I'm also not dying to have one of my own; because I'm not 100% certain, it just doesn't seem wise to do something that I can't... take back, for lack of a better phrase.  I sure as hell don't feel like any less of a woman human simply because I haven't produced crotch fruit.  The reasons for my uncertainty might be "silly" to some, but obviously they're serious to me.  That aside, they're MY reasons: I don't have to justify them to anyone.  

Calling me "selfish" for choosing not to have children?  Screw you and the horse you rode in on.  My choice to recognize my own limitations and fears and not take the chance of doing something that ultimately might make me unhappy in an irrevocable way is no more selfish than your choice to honour your desire to be a parent and have a child: if we wanted to be assholes like that, a valid argument could be made for both sides.  As far as regretting not having children, Chebbar summed it up in a way that really clarified things for me when he said he'd rather live regretting NOT having children, than run the risk of potentially regretting having children.  Who wants to saddle a child with that?  And the whole "what are you going to do when you're old and alone?" thing is horse shit.  There's no guarantee that your child is going to grow up to be a successful, productive member of society who will be more than happy to care for you in your old age: that's why you foster  relationships with family, friends, and neighbours; get involved in community programs like Big Brothers or your church; and start planning for your damned retirement NOW.

Yet again, this is just another shining example of how people aren't happy unless they're tearing others down - of letting our insecurities about our shortcomings taint how we see, judge, and treat others.  My decision to not have children is no more your concern than what I have for dinner or what I wear to bed: it is neither a condemnation of Gertrude's choice to have children, nor an attempt to poke fun at Irma's difficulties in conceiving.  Quit being so damned narcissistic that MY choice about MY life that *I* have to life with is somehow twisted to be a reflection of you/your life/your choices.  When you're willing to pitch in and help me raise these hypothetical children, you'll be MORE than welcome to offer your two cents.  Until then, keep your asspinions to yourself.

Oh, and I reserve the right to change my mind, and if I do?  That will have NOTHING to do with YOU either.  ;) Pin It

37 comments:

  1. AMEN! Couldn't have said it better myself! I am a 30 year old woman who has no children and is sure I will not be having them. I don't want, like you already said, "crotch-fruit" either. It's my choice. I am also standing up to my decision on my life.

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  2. People do need to stay out of other people's private decisions - their lives in fact.

    I am unable to have children and have not even been in a relationship for some time now.

    People are always asking me why. As you can imagine, I don't really feel like telling them that, having lost my testicles, finding a women who doesn't want children with her partner is difficult.

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  3. Wow, as I was catching up on your blog in my google thingie that lets me do this, I was just wowed by this one.  I can't say thank you enough.  I never wanted kids for whatever my own reasons are, and it's so nice to know i'm not alone.
    Thank you.

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  4. I think making the decision to not have children is the hardest, most selfless act a person can make. There are so many influences telling us that we should, we must, we better... that to go against all that, for whatever the reasons, requires an endless amount of maturity, strength and courage. I, too, saw Schmutzie's list... and loved it. I would love to have kids, but I don't. And not once have I turned up my nose at all the 'mommy blogger' Twitter lists... so why would people be so hateful, just because of what we are... or aren't? It doesn't make sense to me that one is socially acceptable and publicly celebrated... and the other isn't. Perhaps if we banded together and supported the single and/or childless the way moms support each other more people wouldn't feel the need to have a child to complete themselves, they'd have children for all the right reasons and not all the wrong ones. Or those of us who are childless not by choice would be able to hold their head high and feel no shame in being childless. I find the list to be not only empowering but enlightening, comforting and amazing. Hooray! :)

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  5. Hi there, visiting from sudio 30+.
    Yup. I like this. I didnt' set out to become a parent, but life is full of the unexpected...
    Anyway, I firmly believe that reproductive decisions are individual and personal. Slightly off topic, but I find it highly problematic that some govenments (France, Japan, Russia) campaign and offer incentives to try to get folks to have more children.

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  6. It seems to me it would be more selfish to have children if you're not certain you want the precious little bastards running around.

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  7. By all means, spread the joy :)

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  8. There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to have or NOT to have kids. We should respect each other's rights to make the best decisions for our own happiness.

    So yeah, haters gotta hate and they can go fuck off.

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  9. *rock concert cheers* Best rant I've read in a long time!!

    Btw, what did you have for dinner?

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  10. You're pretty much my favorite person ever. Thanks for this post.

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  11. I love you. Big time.

    I guess I just don't understand why people always gotta be up in other's shit. You do what works for you and I do what works for me. Where is the problem in that?

    Now, you forget to tell me how cute my kids are? THEN we'll have a problem. But otherwise? We're good. :)

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  12. Yeah but if I asked you and brought you chocolate and promised to rub your feeties, you'd totally have my babies for me, right?
    And big LULZ at crotch fruit. I'm totally calling my kids that from now on.

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  13. one more thing to add to the ever growing list of why I love you

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  14. Preach on, sister.

    Absolutely right. There are many who can't be happy unless their choices are not only the right choices, but they are irrevocably proven to be BETTER THAN YOURS. Screw them.

    There are plenty of kids who need love and attention from adults that are not their parents. Methinks if parents worried a little bit more about their kids and a little bit less about your choices, the world would be better off.

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  15. Really well said. While I'm pretty sure I want kids I recognize that decision is mine to make for me & me alone. One of the best pieces I've read on this topic in a long time.

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  16. I have the utmost respect for people who decide not to have kids. Because, lets face it, we all know people who should have never had children. And all the children who are currently in (or have ever been in) foster care is a testament to that fact. (my own judgmental opinion on that)
    I think this assumption that some people have that every person has to have a child to somehow be fulfilled in their life is absurd.
    Not everyone is meant to be a rocket scientist. Not everyone is meant to be a parent.
    And that's OK.

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  17. I freakin love you. Hope you never in a gatrillionzillion years forget that.

    You want to know the exact moment I decided that maybe I would do the whole kid thing after all? About 2 seconds after Tom first made a donation to the cause and I suddenly remembered that I hadn't taken my pill for the month prior because I forgot to get the refill and wasn't (at the time) using them for anything, really, anyway. Then it kinda became like a binge when you're dieting. "Well, I already had the bowl of ice cream .. might as well eat the cake, too."

    A month later the kid was on the way & while I don't regret having John at ALL (he's the most awesome thing ever, after all) it really was never my original intention until the "whoops" became a "well maybe" and then a "hell yeah."

    Have them. Don't have them. Whatever. I still freakin love you.

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  18. First, where is it written in stone that only people with children are allowed to have a blog? Seriously. I've never read that on any list of tips on blogging that says "Childless people need not apply."

    For B, I seriously wonder how many of the haters feel that the new "in" thing to do is not have kids, and since they are already stuck with their own they can no longer sit at the cool kids table.

    And I have two kids of my own. But I've never really cared about being a part of the It crowd, I can't bring myself to give a damn about whether or not everyone likes me. (I also don't have the time or energy to put in the effort it takes to be popular.)

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  19. I didn't want them, but we got them on accident. If I had thought out the decision, I honestly would not have chosen to have them. Still, they're here, and I like them well enough to let them remain in my house rent-free.
    But would I condemn folks who choose not to have them (or can't)? Hell no.

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  20. I really couldn't care less that you don't want your own crotch parasites, but I really DO wanna know what you had for dinner.

    Love you!

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  21. i shall hereby refer to jackson as my crotch fruit. also, this was a fucking wonderful rant. good on ya!

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  22. Sad to think of the haters passing along their narrow-minded judgemental nature along to their little ones. Not people I'd want to associate with.
    This whole thing just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I totally respect people's decisions to have or not have kids. How sad for kids to have parents that had kids "because they had to"? I don't get that. I had several aunts and uncles growing up who were child-free, never knew if it was by choice or design, but they were fun to hang around with, partly because I didn't have to share them with other kids.

    I have kids because I totally wanted them. And its working so far. Mostly. Except for the whining part. (thats me trying to be light-hearted)
    I think you're neat Chibi!

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  23. i'm jealous i can't be on The List. :-)

    you know, after all the crap we went through to end up with our adorable exasperating little moppet-monster, i have to say: the very best decision we ever made was waiting until we were 100% absolutely certain that we wanted them before we attempted to acquire children. and even then, we had those "oh dear god WHAT ARE WE DOING?" moments. i do not judge or begrudge anybody's decision to remain childfree, for now or for forever.

    and i will personally punch anybody in the face (with or without the glitter wig on, your choice) if they give you a hard time about YOUR life choices. people need to mind their damn business. fools.

    (incidentally, you want to talk about drinking the haterade? there are places you can go where saying the words "closed adoption" will cause apoplectic fits and screaming and yelling and armageddon. so the judgers are kind of everywhere, which is why i end up saying "shut your whore mouth" more than is probably acceptable in polite company.)

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  24. I can't say I agree or understand, but I also don't see the point of venom by either side of the progeny argument. I'd say more but it probably wouldbt be helpful, so we'll leave it at an 'agree to disagree' junction and move on happily, yes?

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  25. I seriously do not understand the judging.
    I have children. My sister is childfree by choice.
    She understands why I want to have children.
    And I understand why she doesn't.
    Neither one of us made the decision that the other made.
    But we sure as hell respect the heck out of it.
    xoxo

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  26. Preach. It. Sister! ;D
    I have the blogher article open in another tab; going there next. :P

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  27. AMEN. Your decision regarding children is absolutely none of my business. What you wear to bed, however, is a whole other story.

    I honestly believe all that matters is that you are happy with your life. And only you can decide what will get you there.

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  28. I chose to have a child...and I still love this post!!

    People need to stay out of other people's private decisions.

    I would rather see someone who is not sure about kids decide not to have them, than watch them have one just to keep people quiet. That is crazy. CAH-ra-zy.

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  29. Yes yes yes. That is all too often what happens, and it is heart shattering.

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  30. I've been using the "I'd rather regret not having kids than having them and regretting it" for years now. Sometimes that doesn't even stop the replies of "But you'll love kids/make a great mom/have someone to take care of you."

    So now, when they tell me that I'll never know how awesome having a kids would be and how I'll miraculously love having a kid as soon as I shoot one from my nethers, I tell them that's like saying someone needs to experience being set on fire to really know they wouldn’t like it.

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  31. "Chebbar summed it up in a way that really clarified things for me when he said he'd rather live regretting NOT having children, than run the risk of potentially regretting having children. Who wants to saddle a child with that?"

    I couldn't agree more. I know people who wish they thought a little harder about kids before having them. It's one of the hardest jobs in the world and you can't give them back or take a break.

    Not having children if you aren't sure it's the least selfish thing you can do. I know it's not an easy decision—I didn't come to it easily for me—but you should be applauded for it, not criticized.

    xo

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  32. Sigh. These battles are tiresome & lame. WHY can't people just STFU & mind their own business? My opinion? I think it's WONDERFUL that you can say "hmm yeah, I think I'm gonna sit this one out." Better than giving in to that tiny little bit that says "yeah, I might want a kid...aw hell, why not" then having the kid get here & realizing you hate being a parent & everyone is miserable. Does this even make sense?!?

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  33. Why people have to weigh in on these choices, I just don't understand.
    I made the decision to have a child at twenty two years old. Twenty Two years old was only a year after I made the decision to dye my hair black and live on a diet of cocaine and coffee for 6 months. Let me say,bluntly, that my decision making skills at twenty two may have left something to be desired.
    I have never regretted having my daughter. But she became my number one priority. I took a backseat. And nevermind all the shit that you read about women who say it's so important to remember yourself, and to still keep yourself when you're a mother..... They can say it until they're blue in the face. It's impossible to hold on to who you were before you were a mother because it SHOULD become your entire life. Anyone who isn't ready to put everything else in their life on hold for at least 15-20 years should consider a different life path.
    That all being said... I am GLAD that I jumped in with both feet at twenty two. Because if I had had half a brain in my head, I may have reconsidered. And I'm really happy that I didn't.


    It's hard. It's challenging. It's my choice, and I would never force it on anyone. I can only offer my perspective as a mother, and a relatively young one. And I haven't got any perspective on what it might be like to be a person on her own through her mid to late twenties. Hell, I could have learned a lot about myself from that exercise too. This is just another way to end up face up in a god damned box.

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  34. On the flip side, people make comments ALL THE TIME on my decision to have two children back to back (21 mo and 9 mo) and CONSTANTLY Im being asked if it was on purpose. Ive answered both ways, and made up stories sometimes, because, shit, its none of your business, random lady at publix, why I decided to have children the way I did. They tell me "Oh, I must have my hands full," and some have even asked if I've heard of birth control (which really pisses me off, as, not that it matters, but I am a successful, married woman who, with my husband, support our growing family on our own, no government assistance required. And, bonus, both girls are extremely happy and love each other).
    ANYWAY, what I am rambling about? The decision to have children at all or how many to have and when is an intensely personal choice...and quite frankly? I couldn't give two shits if someone had kids or not, and I care EVEN LESS what some random person has to say about it.
    So rock on, kids or no kids. Do what makes YOU happy.

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  35. I think my mother was selfish when she DID decide to have children. She never should have, but in 1974, it's what married people did.

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