I was talking to a 30 year old woman who does not want to have kids, and she was venting about the societal pressures that are placed upon her. Boy, could I relate. She said she got very sick of hearing… and we said it simultaneously… “You’ll change your mind.”
Now that I’m 50, people have finally stopped saying that to me. Obviously, definitively, I can be trusted to know my own mind, and if I haven’t changed it by now, the world can simply resign itself to the fact that I never will. Whew! That’s a load off my shoulders. I can’t tell you how annoying it has been to have to go through life defending my decision.
The thing I could never understand, and still don’t, is why it was so bloody important to people that I join the procreation club. It was as if their personal experience was somehow lessened if I didn’t jump on the bandwagon with them. Why is my lifestyle anyone’s business but my own?
Even more annoying is the general concept that if I don’t want children there must be something wrong with me; something that I need to get over or be cured of. People treat the lack of desire for rug rats as if it is some form of brain damage.
And the more extreme critics like to say that child-free people are selfish. I actually think it’s more selfish to bring a child into the world when you have no desire or ability or preparation to be a parent. If you are going to be abusive, or foist the care of your child off on the state, or are simply indifferent to the process to the point that it will negatively impact the child, then that’s what’s truly selfish. And it’s not as if there aren’t plenty of people on the planet to maintain an adequate gene pool. If anything, one more human is the last thing this earth needs. The diaper waste alone is unbelievable.
I’m sure this will shock people, but here I am at age 50, looking back at my child-free life, and I can say without hesitation that I have no regrets. I’m glad I made the choices I made. I’m quite content with the fact that I never changed my mind. So next time you talk to an independent woman (or man, for that matter) who expresses this desire, maybe rather than try and talk her out of it, you might want to consider what a pompous ass you will sound like if you do.
[Image Credit: thesocietypages.org]