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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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87 Responses

  1. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 20, 2011 at 11:03 am |

    Oh, wow. Yeah. Not even close.

    Though the asking and the fertility doctor thing isn’t just not polite, it’s super, super rude. I mean, the best outcome is that the person is child-free and secure about it, and they laugh it off. Worst outcome is, like, you just reminded them of the child and spouse they lost in a car crash two years ago, or something a bit less drastic but still totally fucked, like the state formally bans them from adopting because of their sexual orientation.

  2. Andie
    Andie June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am |

    That quote does kind of smack of privilege, but otherwise I think the article is pretty spot-on. There’s a whole lot of other stuff that needs to be worked out above baby-privilege (although the assumption towards child-bearing falls into a few areas concerning class, race and gender for sure)

    Sometimes people forget that parenting can be really, really, stupidly hard, and despite what people like to tell you, can be thankless as all hell.

    I’m a mother myself, but I can’t honestly say that if it weren’t for unplanned pregnancies if I would have consciously chosen motherhood, even though I can say that my kids are pretty much full of awesome.

  3. Andie
    Andie June 20, 2011 at 11:18 am |

    I kind of left that thought unfinished.. meant to say that I really can’t blame someone when they don’t want kids, nor can I blame them for getting pissed off at what I can imagine is sometimes a seemingly unending stream of “But don’t you think your life will be more complete??” concern-trolling and “you’ll change your mind one day” type smugness.

  4. J. Blalack
    J. Blalack June 20, 2011 at 11:27 am |

    My suggestion to people who are thinking about having kids is this: spend a few months caring for someone else’s kid(s) and see if you actually like it enough to want that job 24/7. It’s so deeply ingrained in us that we will love raising children if we have them that many people don’t even TRY it before they decide. Deciding not to have kids means stepping outside of that box, which I admire, although again it isn’t the right choice for everyone.

  5. Miss S
    Miss S June 20, 2011 at 11:27 am |

    Completely agree Jill. Especially when only a certain group of women are encouraged to have children.

    It’s a privileged sort of position to begin with. And if this is your biggest form of oppression… Well consider yourself lucky.

  6. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos June 20, 2011 at 11:35 am |

    Can someone explain to me the “if you don’t have kids you’re selfish” thing?

    A few dipshits in the comments said something like that, and of course accused the OP’s author of “being bitter” and that’s proof she should have kids.

    I don’t get it why its selfish to NOT have kids, when you’re fully aware that you don’t want them.

  7. Ellie
    Ellie June 20, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    preying mantis:
    Oh, wow.Yeah.Not even close.

    Though the asking and the fertility doctor thing isn’t just not polite, it’s super, super rude.I mean, the best outcome is that the person is child-free and secure about it, and they laugh it off.Worst outcome is, like, you just reminded them of the child and spouse they lost in a car crash two years ago, or something a bit less drastic but still totally fucked, like the state formally bans them from adopting because of their sexual orientation.

    Yep! Even if you’re correct about the assumption (big, big assumption) that some part of them wants a child, you can’t possibly know all the details of the situation. Also, even if I did want kids, even if I could afford them, even if I felt secure in my place in life, and even if I was planning on going to a fertility doc about any problems conceiving… that still doesn’t make it any of your business to give me unsolicited advice to seek medical treatment.

  8. Flora
    Flora June 20, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    Asking about a person’s reason for having or not having kids is always rude. I know people who never want kids, people who have had unwanted pregnancies that ended either in abortion or childbirth, and people who would love to have kids but don’t or can’t for any number of reasons. If you had to ask, trust me, we don’t want to tell you about it.

    And yes, as Miss S says, if this is the worst oppression you face, then, lucky you.

  9. Andie
    Andie June 20, 2011 at 11:42 am |

    Rare Vos:
    Can someone explain to me the “if you don’t have kids you’re selfish” thing?

    Yeah it’s pretty effed up. I think the idea is that you’re supposed to give so much of yourself to being a parent (because yeah.. there’s a lot of sacrifice involved) so not wanting to raise kids means you’re selfish because you don’t want to sacrifice those things (time? Money? energy? that little piece of yourself that is able to sleep nights because you’re not up worrying that you’re profoundly fucking up a little human being in some undetectable way?)

    It such an odd leap of logic, this assumption that people always have children for the most noble of reasons, so people who do not want children must be selfish and unwilling to sacrifice in order to keep the population going or something?

    Of the people I know who have chosen not to have kids, they’ve made this choice for some pretty noble reasons.. and I’ve met plenty of selfish and unwilling-to-sacrifice parents.

  10. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 20, 2011 at 11:43 am |

    Rare Vos: Can someone explain to me the “if you don’t have kids you’re selfish” thing?

    It works off the “motherhood as self-abnegation” model. As in, the only reason you won’t have kids is that you don’t want to do all the hard work of raising kids, or give of the ultra-fun childless lifestyle. So you owe it to someone (the kids you don’t want, your parents, society at large) to forget about what you want and parent anyway, and you’re not paying up.

  11. Brandy
    Brandy June 20, 2011 at 11:51 am |

    Even if I pretend to accept the idea that all people who choose not to have kids are selfish, I’m not sure what the takeaway is. Should I try to convince them to have kids so that they can ignore them? Why would that be better?

  12. Michelle Beltano Curtis
    Michelle Beltano Curtis June 20, 2011 at 11:58 am |

    Rare Vos, this is an intriguing idea, that’s it selfish to not have kids. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a “misery loves company” kind of feeling… why should anyone be free to parental responsibility if they’re not?

    Really, if you consider the population issues we have that are about to be wildly compounded by super storms wiping out crops and eventually less farm-able land, it seems more responsible to NOT have children these days. That’s not to say people who do have children are irresponsible, but this seems like a more logical argument to me.

    In general, It wasn’t my choice to not have kids, but I’m infertile, something that I also think has come from the environmental destruction we’ve caused. If we don’t take care of the planet, nature finds a way of taking care of things itself.

    I find questions about my childlessness absolutely heinous and will more than likely come up with the most offensive response possible to anyone who is less than my dear friend. I can’t believe people think they have a right to ask such personal questions! For women like my sister who had multiple miscarriages and managed to birth a child who only lived 12 days, it’s devastating.

    And if we’re ever going to get beyond sexism, we have to stop defining the worth of women by this biological function.

  13. Josie
    Josie June 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm |

    If these people like kids so much, I wish they would put their energy into demanding and creating the things that kids and patents need, like free, quality childcare and universal health care. I am a single mom, and it’s so much harder than I ever could have imagined. Now I get the thing where I mention that I’m a single mom and some well-meaning person says, “Don’t worry, honey, you’re still young. You’ll find a husband.” If I wanted a man, I’d find one, thanks. I’m not worried about it, so why are you?

  14. Josie
    Josie June 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm |

    Oops, I meant “parents.”

  15. Adrianna
    Adrianna June 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm |

    I have alway wondered about the discrimination of people who choose not to get married and have no kids. I’m pretty sure people who have kids are hired first, and people who are married are promoted more often in our society. It probable linked to our primate genes?

  16. losingmyreligion
    losingmyreligion June 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm |

    I knew at the age of 15 that I didn’t want children and 40 years later I still feel the same, much to my mother’s deep disappointment. Every now and then I think ‘did i do the right thing?’, but I’ve always been very conscious of the terrifying responsibility of having a child, and just couldn’t do it. I’m insecurely self-employed, not rich, and am often mentally not too good. But I like children – I like my friends’ children (and now their children’s children). The blow to me was when one of my oldest friends, who lives abroad, came to visit me with her then 11 and 13-year old children. She said, ‘I didn’t visit with them earlier because I thought you didn’t like children.’ I think it’s so sad when people who have children assume that child-free people don’t like children.

  17. alessa
    alessa June 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm |

    I couldn’t help but think, as I read the comments and the accusations that the author is bitter about her decision, that most people just dive into having children without thinking about why they have the “desire” in the first place.

    I really believe that there are a lot people who hit a point in their lives in which they feel like they don’t have a purpose (go to work, come home, clean, watch TV, repeat), and kids are an automatic fix for that. When one is searching for a reason for their existence, bringing another person into the world certainly gives them that. Obviously not all people are like that, but it seems like quite a few do subconsciously need a reason to live. Bearing that in mind, that is such a burden for any child to have on their shoulders! We have all known the people whose parents live vicariously through their children, and it always causes unfair pain and expectations for the child. Personally, I believe the best kind of parent is one who chooses to have a child in addition to a fulfilling and rewarding life; someone who has their reasons as to why they are going to have children figured out, in addition to already having their own life instead of relying on a child to give them one. It’s just so backward that people say it’s selfish to not have children, when in reality it seems infinitely more selfish to bring another human being into the world for the express purpose of making your own life worthwhile. It seems far more self-aware to analyze precisely why to have a child, and if the decision is not to, then more power to this person who has been responsible and thoughtful about such an important decision.

    And again, the words above certainly do not apply to everyone who has children.

  18. Kate
    Kate June 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    I love how, no matter how reasonably a woman puts forth her reasons for not having children, or how well-deserved her ire is at people constantly butting into her business and judging her for her personal choices, there are always going to be people who will pity her for “missing out,” decide she is “bitter and angry” and having children would have “thawed her out,” or the fact that she IS annoyed at all that people would nag her about it means there is a “regret” there that she “does not want to admit.” Holy cow, people. You wouldn’t insist that people who had children should maybe have reconsidered, or thought about it more, or accuse THEM of being selfish for adding more people to an already severely overpopulated earth. This is kind of a pet peeve for me, actually, and I just think everyone should mind their own ding dang business.

  19. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date June 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm |

    It is almost the last remaining prejudice! Unless you happen to have one or more of the many other attributes or characteristics that people are prejudiced about.

  20. Ashley
    Ashley June 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm |

    I can relate to this. I’m 26 and my whole family wonders what I am waiting for. Uh, a college degree and a career, perhaps?

  21. Andie
    Andie June 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    Sometimes it’s not even a question of ‘What are you waiting for’, though. Some people honestly and sincerely don’t want to have children ever and they often get met with utter shock and disbelief, or disdain, or they are dismissed with the assurance that they’ll change their minds one day. They may be badgered to justify their reasoning or lack of desire for children, when really, it’s nobody’s business but their own.

  22. Heynonny
    Heynonny June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

    If people are selfish for not having kids you’d think the last thing you’d want them to do is have kids and be selfish parents.

    I don’t even want to own a pet.

  23. Ashley
    Ashley June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    Andie:
    Sometimes it’s not even a question of ‘What are you waiting for’, though.Some people honestly and sincerely don’t want to have children ever and they often get met with utter shock and disbelief, or disdain, or they are dismissed with the assurance that they’ll change their minds one day.They may be badgered to justify their reasoning or lack of desire for children, when really, it’s nobody’s business but their own.

    I agree. I still often wonder if I want to ever have kids at all. Whenever I express that, I usually get looks and/or comments of disbelief and confusion. I also think more people should think a lot more on whether or not they want to.

  24. Charlotte
    Charlotte June 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm |

    Rare Vos:
    Can someone explain to me the “if you don’t have kids you’re selfish” thing?

    Wish someone could explain it to me. I got this a lot when I was in grad school in my 30s, especially from friends who married young and dove right into the kid thing.

  25. AtheistChick
    AtheistChick June 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    I have not wanted children since I was old enough to not want to play with dolls. And I am constantly met with the whole “oh you’ll change your mind” patronization. But, yeah, it’s certainly not the last remaining form of discrimination, especially considering the dislike of childfree people is so linked to gender.

  26. Nimue
    Nimue June 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    To me anyway this issue comes back to the old story of “some people think that they have the right to tell other people what to do with their bodies”, whether it is white people thinking they have to right to touch random black peoples’ hair, or people thinking they have the right to tell others which (or if any) methods of birth control are available to them, or who (if anyone) others are allowed to date, have sex with, marry, etc. We as Westerners need to get over the idea that any one individual has the right to tell other individuals what ze do with zir bodies.

    PS: to the people who keep asking me when I will have kids: when I’m good and ready and not a minute before. And you’ll just have to take the risk that I’ll never be good and ready. Thanx :)

  27. Brandon
    Brandon June 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    I’ve never understood why some people get mad at this. I have had countless family members ask me stupid questions about having children and/or starting a family…as a man no less.

    I get:
    “You are just being selfish”
    “When are you going to find a nice girl to settle down with?”
    “What are you afraid of?”
    “You have been seeing X girl for X time…when are you going to get serious?”

    and so on and so on…

    They are free to have that opinion and to express it…I don’t have to let it bother me or even follow their advice. In one ear and out the other.

    My typical responses are:
    “Having children when you don’t want them is harmful emotionally…to the child”
    “I like dating around”
    “Marriage and kids just aren’t want I want in life…I would rather travel and see the world”
    “Marriage has no benefits and/or incentives for men”
    etc…

    If they persist I just tell them “I don’t want to talk about it anymore”. I try and be firm but polite. If they keep going…walk away.

  28. Pippi Longstocking
    Pippi Longstocking June 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    One of the comments on that site was

    Yes, well, that’s just fine, but who do you think will be paying your social security and medicare? Right, our children. So your choice is also a selfish one, putting the burden of your aging on other people’s children. It’s a free country and all that, but I agree with your friends who encouraged you to have children. Not only do they bring joy along with angst and challenges, but they are a social necessity and generally a biological imperative for a reason. So I’m not convinced.

    which is just breathtaking to me. Like social security & medicare are supposed to be some kind of 1:1 thing, where you get out exactly what you put in. Like the “biological imperative” to reproduce is necessary because there’s some shortage of humans.

    I’ve known all my life I didn’t want to have children. When I worked at an entry level job all the young mothers complained constantly about their kids, then demanded to know why I didn’t have them, me being so old. I was 21! All I could conclude was that misery really loves company.

  29. Lisa
    Lisa June 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

    As a lady who does have a child, I would like to invite these ladies who do not have children into my “Ladies Who Do Not Like Busybodies Giving them Unsolicited Advice and Asking them Obnoxious Questions and Stuff” Club.

    Because for reals, childfree ladies have only experienced this specific manifestation of the policing, but trust me that it does not stop for those who do have children. Those people who are handing you business cards for fertility doctors will be handing you cards for creepy childcare seminars and stuff instead.

  30. William
    William June 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    Can someone explain to me the “if you don’t have kids you’re selfish” thing?

    I think theres at least two things going on there. As other people have pointed out theres a pretty strong “misery loves company component.” Many people with kids, at least some of the time, wish they didn’t have to deal with the sacrifice and hardship that children represent under even the best circumstances. There is a component of jealousy, but no one wants to feel jealous, so it gets flipped around and projected out. They’re not jealous and you don’t have something they lack (because they’re good people and made the right choices and have everything they want), you’re selfish and have something you don’t deserve. Anytime you see bizarre accusations like that you should probably start to wonder what the person making the accusation is trying to defend against in themselves.

    The second thing that I think is going on with the “you’re just selfish” meme is that people are, deep down, narcissists. By that I mean that there is a part of all of us which still isn’t entirely convinced that the world doesn’t revolve around us. We take things personally. More than that, we’re deeply entitled beings. As a result, when someone says “I don’t want to have kids” there is a part of people that goes “they say they don’t want kids, I was once a kid, I deserve to be here because I am everything, they’re saying they don’t want me, that means they think they’re more important than me…how selfish!” Its the same reason so many people have a knee-jerk reaction to abortion, they see the idea of women having the right to choose and thinking “fuck, my mom could have aborted me, are you saying she doesn’t love me?!”

    We, as a species, suck.

  31. Lance
    Lance June 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

    On the subject of selfishness and children: I don’t want children, and a big part of that is that, yes, I’m selfish. I don’t want to give up the time, money, and freedom that a childfree life allows. Of course, others choose to be childfree for completely selfless reasons, such as concern about the environment. Similarly, as others have pointed out, people choose to have kids for both selfish and selfless reasons. I think the correct rejoinder to the criticism that not wanting to have children is selfish is, “In some cases, probably. So what?” You have the right to be as selfish as you like; it’s not like you’re hurting anybody.

  32. Tori
    Tori June 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm |

    So your choice is also a selfish one, putting the burden of your aging on other people’s children.

    This made me spew coffee, I LOLed so hard.

    To date, I’ve helped educate over 1400 students, thereby increasing their earning potential, which in turn increases their contributions toward Medicare and Social Security. (Not that that’s the sole or even the main purpose of education, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s not a bad side effect.)

    But by not producing children of my own, I am totally freeloading on USian society.

  33. Andie
    Andie June 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Lisa:
    As a lady who does have a child, I would like to invite these ladies who do not have children into my “Ladies Who Do Not Like Busybodies Giving them Unsolicited Advice and Asking them Obnoxious Questions and Stuff” Club.

    No doubt, it all ties in this narrative that people are welcome to put their 0.02 on other people’s choices (especially when it comes to children or lack thereof). If you don’t have kids, you get flack (providing you’re of a demographic deemed desirable for reproduction). If you do have kids, you get flack unless you do it just so (again, desirable demographics) and make all the right choices regarding birth method, nursing, how to raise your kids…

    A lot of it comes down to the idea that people (especially women) cannot be trusted to make their own informed decisions and as such are fair game for everything from unsolicited advice to out and out policing of behaviour.

  34. Christina
    Christina June 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

    I always thought it odd that you needed a reason NOT to have children, shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    I consider both not having children AND having children selfish. I also consider this to be a good thing. If you do something for selfish reasons, you are more invested in it. This way, if you have kids for selfish reasons, your kids will benefit from it since you will be invested in parenting them. If you don’t have kids for selfish reasons, you will greatly enjoy or wisely use the time that you don’t spend parenting. It seems like a win-win to me either way.

    I guess the reason some people are so concerned with why people choose to remain child-free are the same as the reasons why some people are so concerned with other people’s sex lives, relationships, etc. It’s really none of their business but they have some sort of personal need to feel morally superior to others. I don’t fully understand it myself.

  35. French Carnies
    French Carnies June 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    Too many men and women blindly have children. I know one woman who wants kids only to pick out cute names and dress them in cute clothing. There are plenty of women who have children for security purposes (i.e. to pressure a man into marrying her), and they are miserable. Clearly our species is ignorant compared to other species that we just so happen to kill off due to the implications of overpopulation in certain areas. We are brainwashed by media and continue having children, hoping to have that picturesque family seen in commercials and magazines. Capitalism only survives if there is demand. Keep having babies, buy bigger homes and bigger cars, and keep buying junk to fill up those homes… and work harder than ever at the jobs you dislike, to support your habits. And how ridiculous it is when someone tells me I’m selfish for wanting no children. And if I want only one child, I am selfish because that child needs a sibling. Intelligent individuals think of the whole; how will having a child affect your life in the long run, and the world as a whole? Think people!

  36. Jadey
    Jadey June 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm |

    Of course, if you’re poor, or a person of colour, or an immigrant (of colour), or have a disability, or already have lots of kids, or are somehow “undesirable”, then often you’re terribly selfish for wanting kids!

  37. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh June 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm |

    I’m kind of going through the questioning right now. I’m 29 years old and I’ve always considered myself childless vs. childfree because I felt I wanted children, but I needed to be functioning very highly with my bipolar before I could take on kids.

    But after really thinking about the kids I observe and interact with in public, I don’t know if I could tolerate having kids of my own. It’s not that I don’t like kids, it’s that from my observations I have noticed, I have enough stress from spending a few minutes in public with children doing children things, and I am just not a very patient person. Kids need a lot of patience and I don’t think I could give that to a child.

    So I’ve begun to question if I’m actually childfree. The only problem with that is I am half-Chicana and have grown up in a local culture that expects and demands you have kids or there’s something wrong with you. A girl I know had her first baby at 29, and the cultural framing we have here made her feel like she might never have kids because it’s just expected you will start your family in your late teens/early twenties and if you don’t you must be infertile or something else must be “wrong” with you. Eventually people are going to start asking me questions and I have to figure out how to handle it…

  38. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    My snarky answers to these rude and invasive questions/declarations:

    Having children would put a crimp in my career of being an international woman of mystery.

    I’m too busy being slutty.

    Once I’m done with my goal of destroying Western Civilization as we know it, I will spawn, double-pinky swear.

    I can’t even think about having children until I have a few husbands–I *am* the weaker sex, you know!

    Or, if I’ve had to deal with this crap too much, I might say one of the following:

    Why do you want to know?

    What business is this of yours?

    Will you get the fuck off my tits already?

  39. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin June 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    I’m not sure what the last remaining prejudice is. This would imply that there is only one or at least only a few remaining.

  40. crowepps
    crowepps June 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm |

    @Tori “But by not producing children of my own, I am totally freeloading on USian society.” Well, sure, since you don’t pay any taxes in to fund your future Social Security or Medicare. Oh, wait –

    The rosy pink myths about how having children is the most fulfilling thing in the whole world cause a lot of grief for people who are dismayed to find out how much they loathe necessary parenting tasks nobody ever mentioned, AND for ordinary children who are considered defective by parents unprepared for normal behaviors. If the mythos included things like cleaning up after toddlers poo-painting or hearing ‘I hate you’ when you say no, perhaps more people would choose to remain childless instead of being enraged all the time at the yawning chasm between ‘parenting is the most wonderful thing ever’ and the reality that parenting is making personal sacrifices and doing really hard work while receiving little credit.

  41. Kathy
    Kathy June 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    I’m don’t have children, and at my age not it’s highly unlikely I ever will, but calling the grief childree women get (or just comparing systems of oppression in general) “the last remaining prejudice?” Um, no. Not hardly. This is a huge pet peeve of mine (which Kate Harding explains here, better than I can under the “twelfth rule).

    Calling childree women selfish? Yeah, I get that a lot, especially now as I edge closer to forty. My best response is to say, “Isn’t having kids because you want kids selfish?”

  42. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie June 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    I know one woman who wants kids only to pick out cute names and dress them in cute clothing.

    Really? You know for a 100% sure fact that this is the only reason she had children? Or is that what you’re projecting onto her?

    Don’t want kids, don’t have ‘em. People ask you why, say: “None off your business.”

    We can all do that without having to decide that people who have children do it for “X” negative reason and people who don’t have children don’t do it for “Y” negative reason.

  43. Azeylea M.
    Azeylea M. June 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm |

    My usual response to questions about my childbearing plans is “I can’t even keep a houseplant alive, let alone another human being.” The implication that procreation will likely lead to negligent infanticide usually shuts ‘em up.

  44. Andie
    Andie June 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    Azeylea M.:
    negligent infanticide

    The mother of all conversation stoppers. No Pun Intended.

  45. Yonmei
    Yonmei June 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    Yes, it is super-rude to ask anyone why they don’t have kids. It is also super-rude to ask someone why they have kids: why they decided to have as many kids as they have; why they stopped having kids.

    I wouldn’t even say this was a specific prejudice for the childfree, though, since both childfree women and women with children get it – it’s a subset of the “If you’re a woman, you can’t do anything right” thing.

    Kathy: Calling childree women selfish? Yeah, I get that a lot, especially now as I edge closer to forty. My best response is to say, “Isn’t having kids because you want kids selfish?”

    Only for lesbian and gay parents, apparently. It is a froth-at-the-mouth topic for the religious right, that same-sex couples are selfishly deciding to have kids because they want kids, and then selfishly demanding the same rights as parents for their kids as the kids of any other kind of family.

    You’d pretty much have to be white, straight, thin, and wealthy, and to move in white, straight, thin, and wealthy circles, to think that discrimination against the childfree is the “last acceptable prejudice”, or even close. And a brief scan for Karen Segboer on the ‘net says that’s exactly what and where she is. I wonder if Karen Segboer would think that bit of pre-judging was acceptable?

  46. Natalia
    Natalia June 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

    People who accuse others of “selfishness” in this instance are usually just very unhappy – or so experience tells me. If you have kids and you’re generally happy with how that has worked out for you, you don’t need make yourself look good at the expense of someone who doesn’t have kids.

  47. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    Andie: The mother of all conversation stoppers. No Pun Intended.

    You’d think, but the comments on the article include a woman whose oh-shit-sorry response (“I had cancer instead”) somehow still gets people plowing on through it to pester her about adopting. There’s just no stopping some people when they’re hellbent on being complete assholes about another person’s reproductive choices.

  48. shah8
    shah8 June 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

    Even asking my grandmother why she didn’t have more children other than my mother was an unexpectedly painful incident. It’s just not a very good sort of question to ask other people, you know?

    You should have children because you want them, for the reasons you and your so concoct. Whether there is over-population or not enough workers for your Medicare is irrelevant to the question of personal destiny. Goodness knows the actual impacts of overpopulation or bad demographics will insert themselves into your decision-making, regardless of your ideals.

  49. Diz
    Diz June 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    Declining parenthood is selfish all of a sudden? Well, show me parents who had children for altruistic reasons and I’ll show you an invisible pink unicorn.

    I’ve been extremely lucky in that having children hasn’t really cramped my life or career, but parenting is the LAST thing I would recommend to anyone who doesn’t want it. It’s hard work. People lie to you when they say it’s a blessing and totally rewarding, because it’s messy and thankless work…and God forbid your kid speaks in public because the judgement is unbearable.

    In terms of judgement you’re screwed whether or not you have kids, because people will find a way to judge you regardless.

  50. Ali
    Ali June 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm |

    And the questions don’t stop when you have the kids.

    “You’re only having one?!”

    “Hopefully you’re next kid is a (insert opposite gender), because girl children are such crybabies/boy children are so rough and tumble!”

    “Don’t you think you’re having too many kids?”

    The root of the problem is people thinking they have a right to comment on people’s life choices. Simple as that.

  51. Brett K
    Brett K June 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

    The person on the site who commented that “people seem to see women as a blank slate on which to project their own feelings about how we should all live” was pretty spot-on, I think. Women’s reproductive choices: still none of your business, kthx.

  52. Athenia
    Athenia June 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    Adrianna:
    I have alway wondered about the discrimination of people who choose not to get married and have no kids. I’m pretty sure people who have kids are hired first, and people who are married are promoted more often in our society. It probable linked to our primate genes?

    If you are a preacher and you are wife-less and child-less, you will have a hard time finding a job.

  53. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh June 20, 2011 at 8:04 pm |

    I’m scratching my head at the commenter in the NYT thread who told the author she was selfish and should have children because otherwise the commenter’s and other people’s children will be paying for her Social Security benefits… I would think that since the author has a job, she’s already helping pay for benefits for today’s Social Security beneficiaries? Shouldn’t that be enough? The commenter makes about as much sense to me as the conservatives who claim Social Security is in danger because of abortion, IOW, it makes no sense.

    And the commenter who points out that he won’t be passing on the genes for alcoholism or mental illness makes me uncomfortable. Mainly because of the history of sterilizing people with psychiatric disabilities.

    Other comments remind me that another reason why I wonder if my having children isn’t a good idea is that I was an only child, born to older parents (my father’s younger brother already had multiple grandchildren by the time I was born), so I didn’t grow up having to look after baby siblings. I like kids but I don’t have the same parenting skills that my mom and grandmother had from looking after siblings and other younger relatives. My learning curve would be very steep.

  54. La Lubu
    La Lubu June 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm |

    I’m pretty sure people who have kids are hired first, and people who are married are promoted more often in our society.

    Not all of them.

    (Hint: guess which gender experiences discrimination in the workplace due to parenthood?)

  55. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead June 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm |

    What La Lubu said.

    It used to be totally legal to ask “Who will take care of your children?” during a job interview. (I don’t think men EVER were asked, were they?) And by the way, there are right and wrong answers to that question. When I said “day care” it rated a sneer and was obviously not cool, so I learned to lie and say my nice elderly aunt. Family is preferred, since they can change your hours around with no notice and lack of day care can’t be used as an excuse.

  56. DouglasG
    DouglasG June 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm |

    I’ve often maintained that I should receive a stipend, if not from the government, then at least from discerning individuals, out of gratitude for my NOT procreating. One of me is quite enough.

  57. zuzu
    zuzu June 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm |

    Annaleigh: I’m scratching my head at the commenter in the NYT thread who told the author she was selfish and should have children because otherwise the commenter’s and other people’s children will be paying for her Social Security benefits… I would think that since the author has a job, she’s already helping pay for benefits for today’s Social Security beneficiaries? Shouldn’t that be enough?

    Not only that, but people who have no children are still paying taxes that pay for the education of children and the construction of playgrounds, etc., which they will not get the benefit of once they’ve aged out of their own childhood. It’s called “society.”

    BTW, my favorite answer to the “why don’t you have kids” thing is, “Oh, I had some.”

    Beat.

    “They were delicious.”

  58. McSnarkster
    McSnarkster June 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm |

    And the commenter who points out that he won’t be passing on the genes for alcoholism or mental illness makes me uncomfortable. Mainly because of the history of sterilizing people with psychiatric disabilities.

    So, wait, there’s a whole thread here about how everyone can’t stand others passing judgement on their decision to have kids or not, you felt the need to share your judgement of this guy’s decision? Why? What does involuntary sterilization have to with a decision he made for himself?

    Just because there’s a history of sterilizing people with psychiatric issues (fyi, alcoholism isn’t usually considered ad disability) doesn’t mean that people with mental illness can’t choose not to have children. That man is not living his life and making major decisions like having kids to make you comfortable. Good grief. Maybe let the folks who’ve actually lived with mental illness decide if they want to bring a child into this world who might have to live with the same thing (and deal with having a parent who has those issues, which ain’t usually a picnic).

  59. Ellie
    Ellie June 21, 2011 at 7:42 am |

    I think I read on Tumblr somewhere that furries are the ones suffering the last/worst remaining prejudice, anyway.

  60. Ellie
    Ellie June 21, 2011 at 8:00 am |

    McSnarkster:
    And the commenter who points out that he won’t be passing on the genes for alcoholism or mental illness makes me uncomfortable. Mainly because of the history of sterilizing people with psychiatric disabilities.

    So, wait, there’s a whole thread here about how everyone can’t stand others passing judgement on their decision to have kids or not, you felt the need to share your judgement of this guy’s decision? Why? What does involuntary sterilization have to with a decision he made for himself?

    Just because there’s a history of sterilizing people with psychiatric issues (fyi, alcoholism isn’t usually considered ad disability) doesn’t mean that people with mental illness can’t choose not to have children. That man is not living his life and making major decisions like having kids to make you comfortable. Good grief. Maybe let the folks who’ve actually lived with mental illness decide if they want to bring a child into this world who might have to live with the same thing (and deal with having a parent who has those issues, which ain’t usually a picnic).

    Agreed. I’m the fourth generation of bipolar in my family on one side, and have lifelong alcoholics on the other side. This is something I’ve thought long and hard about. Sterilizing me against my will would be terrible, but my decision not to potentially make that five generations of bipolar is kind of my own decision.

    Just because there’s been a decision made in the past on behalf of a marginalized group of people does not compel us to make the exact opposite decision on their behalf now.

  61. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos June 21, 2011 at 8:11 am |

    Was that “marriage has no incentives/benefits for men” thing snark? Please say it was snark.

    So you owe it to someone (the kids you don’t want, your parents, society at large) to forget about what you want and parent anyway, and you’re not paying up.

    Ah. It makes perfect sense now. I’m a brood mare and if I’m not a mother, I’m a failure at being a brood mare. I wonder what the overlap is between people who are rude enough to ask others such questions and anti-choicers.

  62. Carrie
    Carrie June 21, 2011 at 8:43 am |

    For a long time I was just ambivalent about having kids. And I didn’t think I should have kids until I really wanted them, because you can’t just return them if you change your mind.

    Now, at 28, I’m starting to want them. I am totally fine with this. But I keep hearing that ZOMG 30 is way too late to have kids, and I missed the boat by not getting married and pregnant at 21. And even though I don’t really believe that, it is still kind of freaking me out. I wasn’t ready then! Is it really such a huge mistake to wait until I’m ready?

    Also, agree with La Lubu. I was going to say, men who are married with kids are seen as more stable and better hires, but women who are married and/or parents are seen as insufficiently committed to the job. They’ll just quit to get pregnant, or follow their husband’s job, or take too much time off with the kids.

    Although I have heard that women with kids are actually more productive, because they are very efficient at time management out of necessity. But good luck convincing most employers.

  63. William
    William June 21, 2011 at 8:44 am |

    So, wait, there’s a whole thread here about how everyone can’t stand others passing judgement on their decision to have kids or not, you felt the need to share your judgement of this guy’s decision? Why? What does involuntary sterilization have to with a decision he made for himself?

    I’ll admit I had a reaction to both comments. I kept my mouth shut because, you know, my opinion is moot when it comes to someone else’s reproductive choices, but I still had a reaction. I think a lot of that reaction is rooted in the social context we have this discussion in. Saying “I don’t want to have kids because I’m mad” necessarily places a negative value on madness, it also invokes the idea that mad folk aren’t fit to have kids (something which underlies both the use of psych evals in custody cases and the practice of sterilizing mad folks), and it advances the idea that madness is predominantly genetic rather than experiential. Those things make me uncomfortable because they’re symptoms of a pretty strong stigma even if I believe in a person’s right to make the decision not to have a child, support it, and feel that anyone who would throw their two cents in should go to hell.

    I think that if we’re going to be able to seriously move towards a discussion of real reproductive freedom we’re going to need to be able to have two discussion. The first will have to be an unconditional support for the choices of individuals, the second needs to be a discussion of the social factors which play into some of those choices. It isn’t liberty if someone is making choices based on social coercion. I think the ideal is for us to work towards a society in which people are able to make choices about having kids based on what they want rather than consequences they would like to avoid. I know I don’t want kids because I don’t like touching shit and I enjoy being able to have my personal life constrained only by someone I’ve actively chosen to spend the rest of my life with.

    Being able to make that choice, is a pretty significant privilege, especially given that I’m pretty much exactly the person society wants to be churning out kids. Just saying “people ought to be able to make their own choices” isn’t enough unless we’re willing to seriously discuss some of the potential social factors which go into coercing people into making those choices. There are people who don’t want kids who have them, people who desperately want kids who do not, and a huge mass of people existing in the gray area in between being pulled around by various different systems of power and valuation. Real, meaningful reproductive freedom requires that we not only let people make their own decisions but that we strive, no matter how difficult or unpleasant, to give people the resources they need to enact those decisions and the power to make them unencumbered.

  64. groggette
    groggette June 21, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    McSnarkster and Ellie,
    Just out of curiousity, did you happened to read the comment the person you quoted was talking about? I had and it squicked me the same way as Annaleigh… and I’m a person with mental illness/disability who fought to get myself sterilized (/white girl problems).
    Now obviously you don’t have to read the comment the same way the 2 of us did, but I don’t think that reading is completely unwarranted either.

  65. groggette
    groggette June 21, 2011 at 8:54 am |

    William: I think that if we’re going to be able to seriously move towards a discussion of real reproductive freedom we’re going to need to be able to have two discussion. The first will have to be an unconditional support for the choices of individuals, the second needs to be a discussion of the social factors which play into some of those choices.

    And uh, what william said!

  66. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 21, 2011 at 9:28 am |

    Carrie: But I keep hearing that ZOMG 30 is way too late to have kids, and I missed the boat by not getting married and pregnant at 21. And even though I don’t really believe that, it is still kind of freaking me out. I wasn’t ready then! Is it really such a huge mistake to wait until I’m ready?

    No, but it’s not PC to run articles titled “Stop Having Careers and Get Back in the Fucking Kitchen or You’ll Be Sorry,” so now we’re treated to this weird cultural game of pretend where you hit menopause at 30 even as we’re seeing more and more women successfully carrying to term well into their 40s.

  67. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie June 21, 2011 at 9:52 am |

    which they will not get the benefit of once they’ve aged out of their own childhood. It’s called “society.”

    We all benefit from investing tax dollars in education and the health and well-being of children. They will someday be adults. They will be the adults taking care of us.

  68. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni June 21, 2011 at 10:29 am |

    I’ve never wanted kids. Ever. I used to think “Oh, I’m a dyke” would get rid of the “So.. when?” questions. I wish. A woman I worked with once said “I think you and [partner] would make great parents. Your…er… ‘people’ can now you know!”

    I just sat gasping air like a fish. I said “Well thanks for the permission, but you’ve spent a total of ten minutes talking to me in two years, and you’ve never met her. I can guarantee you I am not parent material”. Cue “But awww you’re lovely, and friendly, and.. IVF blah blah”

    When I finally became too ill to work, after another brain ‘event’ took more of my sight and mobility, my partner was telling her boss about it. The reaction? “You two can finally have babies now!” My partner blew her stack. Especially as, ironically, we’d just moved to a bigger house in preparation for starting our county’s fostering programme, and now even that would be out of reach.

    Luckily she’s 39 now so people don’t ask her as much, but they still look at me (even in my bloody wheelchair) and say “There’s still time…”

    So now, anyone nosy enough to bring it up gets our full, combined medical history. Once I get to the whole “..coughing up endometrium…” and “…full-term stillbirth, never again..” bits they tend to shut the hell up. I’d say that it’s certainly the one thing people feel most entitled to comment on, rarely my disabilities or illness, and never my sexuality.

    Just because we’re childfree, that doesn’t mean our lives are devoid of kids. We both love them. There are so many kids in our life it’s hard to keep track of birthdays and stuff, but the biggest thing for us is that these kids are growing up with a happy, stable, same-sex couple in their lives.

    To them, two women (or men) together are the same as a man and woman. They know that their ‘aunties’ won’t be having their own babies, but that’s through circumstances and choice, not because it’s in any way ‘wrong’. It was best put by three year old Ellie “Aunties doesn’t have their own babies, because them give loves to everybody else’s babies. They have [too] much loves for just one baby”

    We still hope to foster or mentor kids one day, probably disabled or LGBT kids, if my health improves enough. But for now, we’re happy with our status as ‘Aunties’. You don’t need to give birth to a child to make a difference in their life.

  69. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh June 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

    McSnarkster: Maybe let the folks who’ve actually lived with mental illness decide if they want to bring a child into this world who might have to live with the same thing (and deal with having a parent who has those issues, which ain’t usually a picnic).

    Ummm, I have bipolar and a lot of the reason I am considering not having kids is *because* of my psychiatric disability. And I have a long family history of alcoholism and mental illness. You need to read the comment, but this person was implying he was doing the world a favor by not passing on his bad genes. The reason that squicks me out is because our “bad genes” as people with psychiatric disabilites has been used to usurp our reproductive choice for well, forever.

  70. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh June 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    Ellie: Agreed. I’m the fourth generation of bipolar in my family on one side, and have lifelong alcoholics on the other side. This is something I’ve thought long and hard about. Sterilizing me against my will would be terrible, but my decision not to potentially make that five generations of bipolar is kind of my own decision.

    Just because there’s been a decision made in the past on behalf of a marginalized group of people does not compel us to make the exact opposite decision on their behalf now.

    I’m not saying that he doesn’t have the right to choose not to have children. Not at all. I’m just saying it worries me that people talk about people with psychiatric disabilites as having bad genes that need to be kept from reproducing because the same idea has justified removing choice from other people with mental illness.

    Of course it’s none of my business that he chose to have a vasectomy!

  71. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh June 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm |

    Thank you William, you said it much better than I could have, and thanks groggette too.

  72. Natalia
    Natalia June 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm |

    You need to read the comment, but this person was implying he was doing the world a favor by not passing on his bad genes.

    It also struck me as weird, and also made me a little melancholy to contemplate that – but I also think that if this is what he truly believes, then it’s probably a good thing that he’s made a conscious choice, and one that he can articulate. I think that when it comes to our reproductive choices, society kind of encourages us to not articulate our deepest concerns or fears about it. And in that context, the fact that this person is talking about it is a good thing, imho.

    At the same time, we still live in a culture where a lotof people who truly want kids internalize the message of “I’m not good enough” – “I have a mental illness,” “I don’t make a million bucks a year after taxes,” “my parents fucked me up, and I’ll fuck up my own kids as well,” etc. And don’t get me started on being immigrant/not white/not of the right religion, etc. I won’t accuse anyone of a “false consciousness” if they just say, “whatever, I’m doing the world a favour” – but I would like to ask them *why* they genuinely believe that. Especially if the person were a friend.

  73. zuzu
    zuzu June 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |

    tinfoil hattie:
    which they will not get the benefit of once they’ve aged out of their own childhood. It’s called “society.”

    We all benefit from investing tax dollars in education and the health and well-being of children.They will someday be adults.They will be the adults taking care of us.

    Yes. That’s what I said.

    Working adults pay for children who aren’t theirs to be raised and educated, because it makes for a strong society. And those children in turn grow up and take care of the elderly (as well as the kids who come after them).

    You know. “Society.”

  74. Yonmei
    Yonmei June 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

    You need to read the comment, but this person was implying he was doing the world a favor by not passing on his bad genes.

    But anyone contributing to a discussion with their own individual choice to have kids or not, has a perfect right to articulate their reasons as briefly as they like or as at much length as the discussion is open to. Their own reasons are their own business.

    It’s entirely possible that, had the man chosen to expand on the 15 words he used (“I did not breed any more alcoholism nor mental illness back into the gene pool”) you might find more in common with his reasoning than you think – or you might not. (One of my issues about Feministe as a blog is that the in-crowd get to jump all over the out-crowd as viciously as they like for using the wrong words: I hardly like to think how that guy would have got verbally stomped for expressing his views incorrectly if he’d done it here.)

    But either way, I’m basically of the view that no matter what those reasons are, nobody’s got any damn business getting judgemental or investigative of anyone else’s reasons why they did or didn’t have kids. Not when they’re making that decision for themselves and nobody else. A guy decides to have a vasectomy as soon as he can, or to always wear condoms: His business. Whatever his reasons for that. Except for his sexual partners, that’s not remotely anyone else’s concern.

  75. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh June 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm |

    zuzu: Not only that, but people who have no children are still paying taxes that pay for the education of children and the construction of playgrounds, etc., which they will not get the benefit of once they’ve aged out of their own childhood.It’s called “society.”

    BTW, my favorite answer to the “why don’t you have kids” thing is, “Oh, I had some.”

    Beat.

    “They were delicious.”

    Yep, it’s definitely society. Plus there’s tax breaks for people who do have children so people without children tend to help make up for the taxes that parents aren’t required to pay.

  76. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh June 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    Natalia: It also struck me as weird, and also made me a little melancholy to contemplate that – but I also think that if this is what he truly believes, then it’s probably a good thing that he’s made a conscious choice, and one that he can articulate. I think that when it comes to our reproductive choices, society kind of encourages us to not articulate our deepest concerns or fears about it. And in that context, the fact that this person is talking about it is a good thing, imho.

    At the same time, we still live in a culture where a lotof people who truly want kids internalize the message of “I’m not good enough” – “I have a mental illness,” “I don’t make a million bucks a year after taxes,” “my parents fucked me up, and I’ll fuck up my own kids as well,” etc. And don’t get me started on being immigrant/not white/not of the right religion, etc. I won’t accuse anyone of a “false consciousness” if they just say, “whatever, I’m doing the world a favour” – but I would like to ask them *why* they genuinely believe that. Especially if the person were a friend.

    Thank you and that’s a great point. The fact that he did come out and say that can let people know that there still might be stigma out of towards people with psychiatric disabilities having children. If people kept those feelings to themselves, we wouldn’t know and we wouldn’t know to continue to work against the stigma…

  77. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh June 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

    Yonmei: But either way, I’m basically of the view that no matter what those reasons are, nobody’s got any damn business getting judgemental or investigative of anyone else’s reasons why they did or didn’t have kids. Not when they’re making that decision for themselves and nobody else. A guy decides to have a vasectomy as soon as he can, or to always wear condoms: His business. Whatever his reasons for that. Except for his sexual partners, that’s not remotely anyone else’s concern

    This is kind of frustrating. I never questioned this man’s right to make the decision he did, I don’t even deny him the right to use the reasoning he did even if I think it’s problematic. I *know* it’s his choice, I *know* it’s his right to use whatever reasoning to choose to use to come to his decision, I *know* it doesn’t matter a lick at the end of the day what I think of his reasoning. And some of the replies seem be assuming that I don’t know or understand or accept those things.

    My whole point I was trying to make is that it worries me when people see their genes as bad or polluted. I’m trying to compile a mental health family tree for myself, so I am reading a lot about the history of mental health care, especially as it stands for men of color in the USA in the 1920′s, because that is when my Indigenous gr-grandfather was committed. I am repeatedly horrified when I read how our “bad genes” has led to people with psychiatric disabilities being abused, sterilized, or even systematically murdered. There’s no other way to explain myself other than in light of everything I am learning right now, it alarms me that someone with a family history of mental illness could see himself in that way. Do I think he has every right to choose not to have children using that rationale though? Of course, yes, I do.

  78. Stephanie
    Stephanie June 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm |

    I was right with the article up until that bit about “almost the last remaining prejudice.” That has to be one of my least favorite lines. Judging by how many people say that, there are an awful lot of “last remaining prejudices.”

    I have 3 kids. Had my first at 30, and I’m feeling very lucky right now that no one gave me a hard time about when I’d have kids.

    I don’t care if anyone I know has kids or not. They can tell me about it if they want, but I’m not going to ask or question their decision. I just can’t see that as being polite, and I hope when my kids are grown I can remember that for them.

  79. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig June 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm |

    Brandon: Actually, if I recall the statistics correctly, marriage offers huge benefits to men. They tend to live longer, for a start.
    On the other hand, I don’t think marriage offers any benefits to women and the list of cons outweight the pros.

  80. Elena
    Elena June 22, 2011 at 12:54 am |

    I remember my younger self’s automatic expectation that I was going to be a mother someday (Cultural programming). When I was single and childless at 30, I came to the realization that maybe I would never get married or be a mother, and that That Was Okay – I would still have a complete and fulfilling life anyway.
    Now, at 38, I am happily married and am a new mother after all. Personally, I think I am a better spouse and mother for having been patient, finding the right partner, and being mature enough to sort out some of my emotional issues. For me, having a child does not magically complete my life or make me a “real woman” or any of that baloney, it is just something I have chosen to do.
    I would NEVER presume that because I chose to be a parent everyone else should too; I expect my choices to be honored, so I honor other people’s choices. Anything else would be bullshit.
    But to suggest that the parenthood/childless/child free issue is the only prejudice out there…. I have no words. Oy.

  81. Shaun
    Shaun June 22, 2011 at 2:07 am |

    Stephanie, I’m going to start referring to things as the 67th or 41st last remaining prejudice.

  82. Julie
    Julie June 22, 2011 at 9:34 am |

    As people mentioned upthread, it doesn’t stop when you have kids. Just yesterday I was asked if my baby (who is almost 3 months old) was my last and when I said yes, I was told that I couldn’t stop on an odd number. Well, my husband’s vasectomy says I can, so fuck you. I had a boy and a girl before I got pregnant for this baby, so pretty much everyone assumed he was an accident. Nope, just wanted another baby. I got asked all the time if he was planned. My favorite was the old man who told me I should figure out what caused that because the world doesn’t need any more kids.
    I love being a mom most of the time, and for me there is really nothing like the feeling of your baby snuggling on your chest or watching your 5 year old go to school for the first time or hearing your 6 year old read a chapter book. But can I understand why someone wouldn’t want kids? Most definitely… they are expensive, you get up when they get up regardless of how tired you are, there are diapers to change, etc… It’s hard work and it’s very often thankless- your kids will tell you that you are mean and horrible and people will criticize your parenting no matter what you do. I never ask people if or when they are having a baby- it’s so not my business. And I happen to think parenting is too important to be done by someone who doesn’t want to do it.

  83. Derby Dame
    Derby Dame June 23, 2011 at 2:14 am |

    Wow. I can’t even begin to describe how much this article hit home for me. I am 24 years old and about to undergo a tubal litigation, and recently announced this to friends and family. The reactions I have received from people I thought would support me have been horrifying; while many of my loved ones have been supportive of my decision, many others have reacted in ways I never expected. I have been condemned as sinner, disobeying the will of god, and called horrible, derogatory names, all by people whom I considered friends. I had no idea my decision to take charge of my own body would cause such polarizing reactions.

  84. commanderbanana
    commanderbanana June 24, 2011 at 10:49 am |

    Oh, blahhhh. I used to belong to those LJ ‘childfree’ comms, and left because I was really tired of the posting about how oppressed the CFers were, and how other people just couldn’t understand their position. I really, really don’t see the point in even discussing your childhaving plans (or lack thereof) with anyone else. The easiest way to convince someone you don’t want kids is to, I dunno, continue not having them. Sure, people are rude and annoying about this topic, as they are about a lot of other topics, but saying that it’s almost the last acceptable prejudice means that the world you live in is a lot more bias-free than the one I do!

  85. Sartorial Nerd
    Sartorial Nerd June 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

    I’m 25 and I get this shit all the time from people I hardly know. I used to get more of it from my family but they learned pretty quickly that I can be a mega-bitch-monster when annoyed so they’ve mostly given up. I don’t want to have kids because I don’t fucking like kids. It’s apparently a wildly unbelievable thought though I don’t know why. Kids are short and easy to step on and and noisy and needy and oftentimes sticky. And god forbid I ever say that to anyone. And it’s not like I don’t have extensive experience with small children. I was roped into teach dozens of children under the age of 8 when a teacher left the school I used to work for and spent 90% of my workings day with them. Even if some kids were cute or smart or whatever, it only confirmed my longstanding suspicion that I don’t like being around children. It should be so simply, buts just saying that aloud makes you a bad person. My favorite is always the “but you’ll love your own kids” line. Really? And what if I don’t? It’s not like they give you a receipt at the hospital so you can exchange it for store credit if you don’t like it. Frankly, that’s not a chance I’m willing to take with the life of another human being.

  86. Sartorial Nerd
    Sartorial Nerd June 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm |

    Ps I apologize for my shit grammar but typing on a touchscreen is hard, y’all. Damn autocorrect never corrects the things it should.

  87. Moises
    Moises June 30, 2011 at 2:10 am |

    Isn’t spitting out Mini-Mes and foisting them upon the world at large kinda way more selfish than not making narcissistic, self-absorbed, resource-hogging clones of oneself? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Seriously. Nothing against people who decide to have kids. In fact, I know some people who want to procreate for the good of the struggle and that’s awesome. Just saying, the position exemplified by Sartorial Nerd sounds way more socially conscious and less selfish to me than the opposite.

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