So what if I want to be childless?

Women choosing not to have children has become a hot topic lately.,  Time and Slate have weighed in on the issue. Are women selfish for not wanting children? Am I, at 28, a neglecting my womanly duties by not settling down, getting married and popping out babies like the rest of those I graduated high school with?

In short, no. I’m pretty content how I am. I’m not saying that won’t change.  Maybe some day I will meet someone I actually want to have kids with.

But honestly, I don’t see what the appeal is sometimes. I’ve watched my sister and her husband become parents over the last couple years. They could give safe-sex seminars to teenagers with the stories they tell about their toddler daughters. Once they were in a restaurant when their 2-year-old soiled her pants. In my sister’s attempt to take her to a restroom to clean her up, some of the the, uh, mess, somehow made it onto the table. Before my brother-in-law could stop her, their 4-year-old daughter had it in her mouth. Forget those crying dolls they give high school students so they understand parenting, these kids need to hear that story. I’m telling you, they’ll never have sex without a condom again.

Then there are those times when I’m in the restroom at the shopping mall overhearing a mother talking to her child while she’s going to the bathroom. I understand the need to keep the child in sight at all times, but every time it happens it’s a reminder of the privacy you give up when you become a mom. It starts at the very beginning – childbirth, when a team of doctors and nurses stare at your hoo-ha waiting for the baby to appear (or at least that’s how I imagine it to happen. What do I know? I’m childless).

And honestly, I don’t understand the argument that women who don’t have children are selfish. People bring children into the world for selfish reasons all the time. I commend my friends and family who are rocking parenthood, but not everyone can. Raising children takes a lot of time, energy, love, affection and money that not everyone has.

There’s a reason the foster care system in this country has so many kids.

I have enough trouble taking care of myself and my cats.

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2 thoughts on “So what if I want to be childless?

  1. Suzie says:

    Preach on, Lori! This is a topic about which I am very passionate–mainly because people just don’t believe you when you say, “I don’t want kids.” But unlike you, I never even thought, “Maybe some day…” And I’m sorry to have hijacked your post. But I’m going to let it all out! haha.

    I have known since before I was old enough to know that I knew I didn’t want kids. I didn’t play with baby dolls as a child. I mean, I didn’t play with the cuddly, realistic looking baby dolls. I had a Dancerina, who was more like my friend, and Barbie, who was more like what I wanted to be when I grew up. But I didn’t play with “dolls.”

    At a young age I (as I assume a lot of kids do) assumed that when you got married, you had kids–like you didn’t have a choice. So when people would ask me (when I was like 5 or 6), “So when are you getting married?” I would respond with, “Never.” And I meant it. When they asked why I would say, “Because I don’t want kids.” I have always known.

    People would always say, “You’ll change your mind.” I would just smile politely and go on. For years and years people would always say, “You’ll change your mind.” I was in a pretty serious relationship when I was 20 yrs old, I mean, talking marriage serious. But every time I brought up the ole “kids” discussion, he would just say, you’ll change your mind, all women want kids. Even my own mom thought I was a little touched in the head. But I knew me. I knew it would never happen.

    All of my break ups except for the last one before I met Howard ended because I didn’t want kids. It got to where I would tell guys that I couldn’t have kids. I told them on the first date. I justified it by believing that since women couldn’t have kids if something physical prevented it, then maybe I couldn’t have kids because something mental or emotional prevented it.

    Which leads me to the whole “selfish” thing. That burns me up. That is probably one of the most UNselfish things I’ve ever done. Having a child when you know you can’t or won’t give it the best of yourself is the most selfish thing I can think of. So yes, Lori, right on with your thoughts on selfishness!

    There have been several times since I got married that I feared I was pregnant. And by “feared” I mean cried myself to the point of throwing up scared. Back in the spring the doctors discovered a tumor the size of my head in my uterus. They finally took her (along with the tumor) and her little friends, the ovaries, out of my body. I can’t tell you how relieved I am for that to have finally happened!!

    I will be 47 years old next month. I am happily married to a man I’m crazy in love with. And guess what, I never, ever wavered from what I knew even before I was old enough to know that I knew.

    Disclaimer–I have 5 gorgeous, awesome stepchildren. So of course people say that helped me not to change my mind. They still think I should have had “one of my own.” And they think that if I hadn’t married a man who already had kids then I might have changed my mind after all. But I know they are wrong.

    OK, you can have your blog back now. 🙂

  2. echo says:

    I will never have children. Don’t want them, no desire, and there’s no way it will change. We chosen childless are rare, indeed. And there is a lot of pressure and/or disbelief from others (“I didn’t want children either…until I was older!” or “you’ll change your mind”). Those are the worst, the patronizing “I know what you *really* want soft tones from others. Not to mention the most dreaded question of all: “So, when are you going to have children?” (…uh… don’t you mean *are* you going to have children?

    And the selfish thing doesn’t make sense and riles me up like no tomorrow. It’s only selfish if you think women’s sole purpose in life, women’s only reason for being alive, is to have sex with men and procreate for them. And I have a lot of issues with that….

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