This post is going to be long.
And possibly controversial.
And frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Recently, CafeMom published an article called I Don’t Need Science to Tell Me I Resent the Child-Free which I think is fantastic (sarcasm). On the surface, I understand it’s supposed to be a light-hearted response to the moms and dads (but let’s be honest, MOMS) who resent people who choose to abstain from procreation. And even though this author puts up a sympathetic front and says, “we shouldn’t feel disapproval, disgust, and anger” toward childfree people, she DOES instead say: “…maybe instead of hating on childless-by-choice couples, we should try pitying them instead”.
This grinds my gears.
So buckle up because I’m about to TELL YOU WHY.
When I was 17 I had my first real eureka moment: I never wanted to be a mother. I felt it deep in my core, I felt it deep in the heart of my being. And you know what? It felt good to proactively make that choice. And for me, it felt right.
“Oh Sarah,” my high school psychology teacher said in front of the class. “You KNOW you’re going to be the one who drives up in a mini-van full of seven children at the 20 year reunion! Oh, it’s funny when I hear people say they won’t have kids.”
I am not making this shit up.
When I was in my early twenties I felt a violent revolution inside of my body. I wanted to have someone take out my entire reproductive system. Give me a FULL hysterectomy! I felt disassociated. I hated my body. I hated the prospect that it would BETRAY me should I happen to immaculately conceive progeny (at the time, I was asexual on the Kinsey scale and although I wasn’t in a relationship, the story of the Virgin Mary would shake anyone up.)
But that was going to fuck up my hormones so I knew that was a bad idea too. Hysterectomy isn’t something one should just volunteer to do unless one has legitimate reasons.
Finally, at 28 I decided the best option was tubal-ligation. I called my gynecologist and scheduled my regular “well woman exam” (THAT’S WHAT THEY CALL IT NOT A PAP ANYMORE) and I decided I would share my decision with her.
“That’s fine! I’ll note it on your record and in a year, if this is still something you want to consider, we can pursue it,” she said, because the state of Kansas is REALLY against birth control.
(And later she flat up refused to do it and I was forced to doctor shop but frankly, that’s a story for another day.)
After that, I was thrilled. I knew in a year’s time I would have my tubes tied and then there would be close to a zero risk that I would have a child of my own! How wonderful! Right?
The following is a conversation I have had with every pro-baby woman, rolled into one woman. The things said are actual things that have been throw at me. And before you ask, no, I don’t volunteer my childfree status to anyone just out of the blue. You’ll see.
“Aren’t children wonderful?” the woman says. She’s usually had one or two by this point, or she is anxious to enter motherhood herself.
“Oh, they can be cute,” I say.
“So? When are you and The Male going to have kids?” she asks, because why not, let’s ask a REALLY PERSONAL QUESTION.
“Oh, we aren’t,” I say with an anxious smile. Now, usually the woman’s eyes grow wide and she may hold back a gasp.
“Why not? Children are WONDERFUL!”
“I mean, they can be, but I don’t relish the idea of sleepless nights and temper tantrums.”
“Oh no! Those are never fun, but it’s a part of the EXPERIENCE!”
“So you’re fine with it?”
“No, but it’s different when they’re YOURS!”
“Alright. But I really don’t have the money, I can’t fathom bringing a child into this world that I can’t afford. And besides, I’m not maternal.”
“You WILL be! And sweetie, life finds a way! Your parents can help, can’t they?”
“No, it would financially destroy them. And besides, I wouldn’t want to ask them to help.”
“We made our choice, thank you.” Now, the mood shifts. The woman gets angry.
“YOU ARE DENYING YOUR PARTNER THE RIGHT TO CARRY ON HIS NAME! Do you know how SELFISH you are?” (I have literally been told this, too.)
“If I’m selfish for not wanting to bring a child into a low-income home and if I’m selfish to admit that I’m not maternal, then call me selfish. Besides, I come from a family rife with mental illness – ”
“IF YOU LOVE YOUR CHILD THAT DOESN’T MATTER!”
“So it’s not selfish to birth a child who may inherit bipolar disorder. It’s not selfish to birth a child who may suffer with anxiety and depression as seriously as I suffer.”
“So why should I have children?” The woman looks haughty.
“You’re not a woman unless you have children! You are betraying God, you are betraying nature, you are betraying AMERICAN VALUES.” (I have also been said this, minus the American values thing. I thew that in for lulz.)
“But what about overpopulation – ”
“THAT’S A MYTH!” (I wish I was making this up.)
By that point I just tell her I’m unable to have kids and she pities me and I move on with my life.
I guess this is normal though. People with children, they CHANGE. And that’s understandable. Reproducing will change a person. But to get so vicious? That’s one thing I will never understand. I’ve actually had mothers screaming at me, all red in the face and pointing and THIS SHORT of jumping up and down while I stare in embarrassment for them because I am a selfish woman who is somehow not a woman because I have decided to live childfree (I’m literally Schrodinger’s Woman). I mean, are you so unhappy with your choice that you feel it’s fair game to attack the childfree? Is that what it stems from?
I’m a firm believer that children should be wanted. I don’t want them. That already puts a heavy burden on the children. Children aren’t dumb, they know when they’re not wanted. But somehow it’s better to have children you don’t want than to abstain from having children because you did your thing. You passed on your genetic makeup. You are now a better human.
I have very personal reasons for deciding to go childfree. I don’t feel like justifying them. Just like you NEVER have to justify to me why you chose to procreate. But I don’t deserve your anger, your disgust, or your pity. You can keep all of that. Your anger towards the childfree, your resentment, your disgust – that’s all on you, kids. That stems from you and any unresolved feelings you may have. That’s not on me.
I’m happy not volunteering my status (outside the Internet, I suppose). I learned very early on to never divulge that information because it just PISSES PEOPLE OFF. Of course, you can be cute and point out how I’m divulging it now, but I wanted to write and therefor I shall write.
My personal experiences make the best fodder for this blog!
So okay. There was a study and parents hate the childfree. If you’re one of them, examine yourself and ask yourself why you feel the way you do. I’m a human too. Only this time, I’m a human who’s happier to mother her cat than to mother a human. And if you feel anger toward me, or even pity, just save it. My existence does not negatively impact yours simply because I’m childfree.
WHEE now I’m gonna make my famous vegan tacos that was a long one and I bet I made a lot of new friends (sarcasm, you probably hate me) with this post. Controversy!