Childless by CHOICE, Get It?

I don’t want kids. Never have. I consider birth control the greatest invention of the 20th century and I’ve been taking it religiously for nearly a decade. No pregnancies to date, and in the rare event of one I’d be first in line at my local abortion clinic before that zygote even mildly resembled a human. I’ve given a great deal of thought to parenthood—arguably more than many who ultimately pursue it. And recognizing the enormous responsibility, commitment and sacrifice involved, I respectfully refuse to reproduce.

Not long after we started dating, I informed my husband that if he wanted kids, I wasn’t the girl for him. He thanked me for the heads up and said he could easily do without them as well. Relieved, we continued dating for several years before we got married, both in our early 20s.

From the moment we announced our engagement, the pressure began: “So, when can we expect to see a little Melody or Matthew running around?” Matthew always smiled and changed the subject. I, on the other hand, confronted the question head on. “Never” was my standard response, and it always evoked laugher. Nobody could imagine that someone would choose not to procreate. But we stuck to our guns, and now, in our early 30s, people are slowly realizing that we weren’t kidding.

As a result, many have come to view us differently—as selfish, cold, narcissistic and unwilling to take on responsibility, despite all that we’ve done personally and professionally to counter such claims.

I say it’s just as cold to bring a child into this world on “accident,” and just as selfish and narcissistic to breed simply because we want to create miniature versions of ourselves upon whom to impose our dreams, goals and double helixes.

Matthew and I both have dreams and goals of our own, and they don’t include making nearly enough money or having nearly enough time to nurture a child. But once I say this out loud, people invariably try to convince me that raising a kid is easier than I think. Newsflash: I was a kid, and I know better.

Given the almost unanimously negative responses I’ve received regarding my decision to remain childless, I’ve actually considered feigning infertility. That way at least people wouldn’t feel compelled to pressure me into joining the band of breeders. Though I’ve decided against it, the fact that I’d even consider lying about my fertility, let alone discussing it so openly, speaks to the radical evangelical and fundamentalist views of so many parents.

I have no problem with anyone else’s decision to bear children. I respect and appreciate the wonder of giving birth. I even cry during childbirth scenes in movies. I also fully believe that motherhood is one of the highest callings out there. Still, it’s not my calling, and I don’t think that recognizing and honoring this reality makes me evil or heartless. Rather, I think it makes me wise and responsible. So, please dear breeders, stop trying to recruit me and my kind.

Photo from Flickr user ponchosqueal under license from Creative Commons 2.0

Comments

  1. ElaineByTheBeach says:

    A little late to the party on this post, but I agree with everything you mentioned. I live in an area where people have money to burn. I cannot even begin to count the number of little trophy kids running around, conceived by parents who bought into the “Mini Me” BS. They run loose an unsupervised in stores and restaurants around here, and I just shake my head at the living embodiment of their parents’ narcissism.

    I’ve never wanted kids, either, and have the tubal ligation scars to prove it. I’ve put up with my share of shrill busybodies who make it their business to get in my business. As I edge closer to the wrong side of 40, the busybodies have backed off but they are no less annoying when they do pop up.

    Kudos to you for a great post, and may you and your husband have many, many, happy childfree years together. While your child-burdened friends duke it out over child support payments, you guys will have tons of peace of mind. Rock on!

  2. Thank you for saying this loud and clear!

  3. Amen.

    Thank you for writing this.

  4. I’m so sorry you feel bombarded by the nagging baby question!! I really am! I have been debating for years to say something to my dear friend, who has chosen no kids. I do have 2 children…and you have no idea the intense love and joy they bring! People really do mean well when they ask. The LOVE (in the deepest sense of the word) a parent has for their child is unmatched! They are hoping you can experience the same indescribable joy they have! Its more about love, than it is selfishness.

  5. I thank you for your courage in speaking your mind and living life your way without conforming to the viewpoint of the breeders. I wish there were a lot more intelligent people like you. Rock on! :D
    As for those who claim that not wanting children is selfish, it is much more selfish to have a kid that they aren’t prepared for, which then grows up as a spoiled brat who runs loose and makes an awfully annoying nuisance to all those around, thus growing up to be useless in adulthood as well. Where I live, it seems like this is the norm of children. As a child, I was quiet and respectful. Makes me sick to see the opposite everywhere.
    Parents who claim the childfree are missing out only say this either out of envy, or an attitude of narcissism. The former miss a part of their freedom and are trying to project their misery to others, and the latter have issues in arrogance, like their DNA or even themselves are so superior, that it must be passed on forever.

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