Short version: Go to ChildfreeVoices.com . Seriously, do it.
I originally started HikingHumanist as a personal rant blog and diary. It was mostly supposed to be about atheism and my outdoor adventures, but somehow became a childfree blog instead with pretty respectable traffic. I don’t regret having made this into a childfree blog, and I’m glad to see that there is, apparently, demand for such a thing. But this blog often seemed directionless to me, and I feel that has been hurting it.
So, I’ve started a new, dedicated childfree blog called Childfree Voices. Go there. My more popular and relevent childfree posts from Hiking Humanist will be mirrored over at childfree voices, and that is where I plan to do all future childfree-related blogging. Not only that, but as CFV will be a CF topic blog, rather than a personal blog, I’m hoping to soon take on CF contributors. Look for an announcement in the future, if you’re interested in writing for CFV.
As for Hiking Humanist, I will be leaving it unchanged, at least for a short time. Eventually, (if I can figure out how to do it,) I will have the URL HikingHumanist.com redirect to ChildfreeVoices.com. Then I will either delete this blog or find something else to do with it. If you’re subscribed to HH for the CF posts, go subscribe to CFV.
Thanks for being awesome, everyone. I’ll see you on the new and improved CF blog.
I have it all. I have loving family, a nice house, a decent job, and no limit on potential. I don’t mean to brag, but it really is nice. I’m pleased with my place in life. I think I’m doing quite well. I want for nothing and live happily. I have it all. Oh, and I have no kids.
Wait, I don’t have kids? Then how can I claim to have it all? Lately, childfree-positive articles such as Time’s recent piece, The Childfree Life, insist that “having it all” need not include having children. The aforementioned Time article even used that idea in their subtitle. You really don’t need children to have it all. In fact, children may even stand in the way. It’s refreshing to see this message slowly gaining speed in the media.
Almost invariably, however, this positive message will be challenged. Either in the article itself or in the comments, someone will insist that no one can really have it all, and that we must choose one thing or another. That’s not a bad point. It may even actually apply to some people. For instance, someone who would have wanted kids but decided they wanted the benefits of not having children such as personal freedom, financial stability, career and education, general success, relationship satisfaction, and so on, more than they want parenthood might really be making the choice to sacrifice one thing for another. Likewise, someone who would have wanted such benefits that a life without kids can bring, but gave up on the full realization of those dreams for the sake of having children might be in a similar boat.
The fact of the matter is, even if people like children and are happy with them, they cannot have them without any negative impact on certain aspects of life. Now, it’s not impossible to be successful in one’s career while having children, but it’s less likely and the process is slowed and becomes significantly more difficult. To someone not interested in career, this wouldn’t be much of a problem. It’s not impossible to be satisfied in one’s relationship with their partner while having children, but it won’t be without the damage that comes from the strain and distraction of parental responsibilities and the consequences of failure become much more severe. Some people, however, might not be all that concerned about such a thing. It’s not impossible to be financially-stable while having children, but it requires a lot more money and whatever it takes to acquire it to remain that way, and becomes an uphill battle to become that way for those who did not start out with significant capital. Basically, what I’m saying is that life with children has a negative impact on other aspects of life, making them significantly more difficult even when not outright preventing them entirely, which it certainly can do as well.
So perhaps it could truly be said that, in such a situations as those I just described, cases in which a person might want a life unhindered but also want kids, it’s impossible to have it all. They cannot have everything they want and so must choose one or the other: the benefits of a life free of the negative effects that having children brings, or children. For such people, it’s a trade-off. They pick from two incompatible things they want the one they want more. They must decide whether or not the price they would pay is worth the product they want, no matter which perspective they look at it from (which of the two options compared is the price and which is the product.)
But this doesn’t accurately describe people who don’t want kids anyway, which I argue is what being childfree really means. Even if I didn’t have the benefits of a childfree life to weigh against having children, I still wouldn’t have children. I don’t want them. At all. There is no circumstance in which I would want them. Motherhood truly holds absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. There is literally nothing about it that I want. It wouldn’t matter if my status in life was guaranteed to be exactly the same with the one and only difference being motherhood (which is, by the way, a wholly unrealistic scenario,) I still wouldn’t want kids. My desire to not have kids would persist completely independently of the life benefits of not having them. Forget the price, I don’t want the product.
Not having children is, in and of itself, a benefit to me in much the same way being healthy is. I’m no more sacrificing motherhood for the sake of the life I want than I am sacrificing the ability to be sick for the sake of the life I want. I don’t want children in the same way I don’t want to be sick. It’s an undesirable condition regardless of effects on other aspects of life. I really don’t need children to have it all in the same way I don’t need malaria to have it all. Being free of such a condition is precisely what I do want.
At this point, someone is surely ready to complain about comparing children to diseases. It sure does sound harsh, doesn’t it? And at this point they’re probably expecting me to soften the blow by saying that it was only an exaggerated comparison, meant to illustrate a point, and doesn’t reflect my true options. And here is where I reject expectations and just tell the truth.
To me, having children (that’s having children, the children themselves,) is like a disease, one of the life itself rather than just the body. It’s a state which I would never be happy or comfortable in. In fact, I’m sure that I would be miserable. This may not be the truth for you, but it is nonetheless the truth for me. I don’t want children in my life. At all. Under any circumstances. I don’t find children interesting or even all that likable. Nor do I find a life that included children even remotely desirable. I would find it draining to just be around children, even well-behaved children, for any extended period of time. It would bring me absolutely no pleasure and would suck the joy right out of my life to have children. I would never be satisfied with being a mother. Even if I could be guaranteed the absolute best children in the world, and somehow having them had absolutely no impact on the way I lived my life (finances, education, career, relationship, potential, etc,) I still wouldn’t want them. A life that includes children is as undesirable to me as illness. And since I’m sticking with this unpleasant-sounding comparison, I think here is where I will point out that I can’t very well insult children who never existed and never will.
To state it plainly, it’s not just the benefits of a childfree life that I want; it’s a life free of children in it as well. I’m not choosing between two incompatible desires the one I want more. My wants on both matters go hand-in-hand. I don’t want children. I do want the benefits of not having them. For me, it’s not a trade-off in any way. It’s win-win. I sacrifice absolutely nothing and receive nothing but reward for it. I really do have it all.
Do you love living a childfree life with your significant other? Are you tired of people asking you why you don’t have children? If you answered YES, we want to hear from you! Please share your story with us and you may be featured on Katie.
My name is Julie. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost five years and we are happily childfree.
I met Jon when we both were first transferred to Ft. Carson. A mutual love of video games made us fast friends. We spent a lot of time together, growing close, until it came time for him to deploy. I deployed as well shortly after. We were both in different parts of Iraq, but we kept in communication over the internet, talking as often as we could.
It was during this time that we began talking about what we wanted in life. We discovered that neither of us were interested in children or marriage. Neither of us was really expecting to find someone so easily who shared the same view, but we did.
He returned from his deployment months before I did and was there to greet me when I returned from my year-long tour. About a year later, he left on his second deployment, while I remained in the US. Deployments can be rough on relationships, but it helps that we were both in the military and had both deployed, so we understood how military life could be and knew what we were getting in to. I was there to greet him when he returned.
I have wanted to get a tubal ligation ever since I was a young child and discovered that my mother had one. However, getting such a procedure is difficult when you’re young and have no children and have to contend with sexist stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes. I dealt with obstacles, but I persevered. When I was 22, I finally found a doctor who would agree to give me a tubal if I tried an IUD for six months first and was still unsatisfied. Six months later, I was not satisfied and was just as determined as ever to get fixed. My boyfriend was 100% supportive of me, and even offered to join me in the OB/GYN office to help ensure I got my way. The OB/GYN was true to her word and I was referred to another doctor who agreed without any argument. By complete coincidence, I was sterilized on World Population Day.
When I awoke in the recovery room, the nurse told me that the procedure had been done and that there were no complications. Even in my hazy state coming off anesthesia, I was overjoyed at the realization that I was finally sterile. My boyfriend was there to greet me in the recovery room, offering me juice and laughing at my dozy state. Then he took me home and took care of me while I recovered.
My boyfriend never once second-guessed my decision. He has been there for me every step of the way. I love him all the more for it.
I wrote about my tubal ligation experience and my research on the procedure on my blog. Soon other people were were contributing their own stories. I now have several articles and resources collected on one page. My tubal ligation was over two years ago and I still get messages from people saying that the information I’d written and collected helped them in their own quests to get snipped. I like to think that’s worth something.
My boyfriend and I each left the military at about the same time and decided to stay together. We rented a condo together for about a year. We had many reasons to not renew our lease, but one of them was the daily annoyance of the never-supervised neighbor children who would scream at all hours, damage property, and make messes in common areas. As we began searching for a house to buy, we made a point of trying to avoid having to deal with such problems ever again. We bought a house in a good school district, but made a point of avoiding any that were directly adjacent to schools, daycares, or playgrounds.
We now live our own four-bedroom home with two dogs, a cat, and a bearded dragon. We both work for the same security company and are working on our education. We feel that we have, at a young age, have achieved a lot in life and will do even more still. I daresay that, if FaceBook has been any indication, we’ve fared better in life than many of our peer have. And we owe a lot of this to one important factor. Some nights, as my boyfriend and I would soak in our hot tub in the large yard of our house, my boyfriend would suddenly get giddy and say how pleased he is with his life, and point out that we could not have any of this if we had kids.
We’re very happy together and consider ourselves successful. We aren’t mega-rich by any means, but we aren’t impoverished by the financial drain and lifestyle restrictions of children as many of our high school classmates were. Enough people have had children for us to look at their lives and decide if that’s what we wanted our own lives to be, and we decided that we want more. I am everyday grateful for that decision.
Our decision to be childfree rarely comes up. My mother has not mentioned the possibility of children ever since I told her I was getting fixed. Ultimately, she supported my decision. My father never seemed to be bothered either way and seems to respect that my decision is none of his business.
Occasionally, the matter has come up with my boyfriend’s family, at least in the earlier stages of our relationship. He’s been telling his parents long before he met me that he would never have kids, but his parents assumed that he would change his mind. Once when my boyfriend was speaking to his father about an expensive vet bill we had to pay for our dog, his father responded “just wait till you have kids,” referencing the fact that children are even more costly. It occurs to me that, if he wants us to have kids, talking about how expensive they are was probably not the best sales strategy. My boyfriend responded that we would not be having kids, but was answered with “you never know.” The truth is, we do know. As my boyfriend was quick to explain to his father, I have already been surgically sterilized, and, in the unlikely event that a pregnancy did occur, I’d have an abortion. His father then mumbled something about adoption.
The issue of children only once came up between myself and my boyfriend’s mother. His family was visiting us for Thanksgiving one year, and his mother was watching me cook. Out of the blue, she asked me why I don’t want kids. I told her that was the wrong question to ask. Sure, I could make a list a mile long of reasons that having children is a bad idea – to me, it’s tantamount to sabotaging my own life to have kids. But I told her that focusing on those reasons meant missing the point. When you go to the store and see an extremely expensive item, do you buy it simply because you have no reason not to, or because you have a reason to buy it? This is how I look at having children. It’s not being childfree, but parenting that should require a very good justification. I already have no kids and am happy, if I am to change this, I need a very good reason to do so. I have, even if only for the purpose of a writing exercise, tried to come up with good reasons to have children that had nothing to do with narcissism, were unselfish, and were actually valid. Despite honest effort, I could not come up with so much as one good reason to reproduce. Not one.
I’m childfree because I only have one life to live and I want to make the absolute most of it. I am glad to have found someone like-minded to share it with. We have a good life together now, and our future gets brighter all the time. Being childfree has paid off for us already in the short-term, and with our freedom to seek higher education and employment and live the lives we choose without the burdens of parenthood, our choice not to have children will be a major factor in our future success.
I am overwhelmed with joy as I write this, just as I was when I was first knew I was fixed. I am 24 and happily childfree.
Recently, my BF and I have finally been able to start landscaping our property. The first order of business what to build a firepit and a red-woodchip path leading to it. The fire pit is stone, rising about two feet off the ground and has a two-food diameter. Built into the fire ring is a grill grate on hinges. The border of the fire ring, connecting it to the brick circle wall, is a ring of clay which I laid leaves into for a cool visual effect. The path leading to the firepit is a gentle curve that starts at our hot-tub deck. Along the path are ten irregularly-shaped and very shiny quartz stepping-stones with quartz in them. Bordering this path are several tall, black, metal tiki torches.
I don’t want to sound like a braggart, but it’s gorgeous. Most credit for it goes to my boyfriend, but I helped too. It will look even better when we get curved benches to encircle the fire pit.
We love our new fire pit. We’ve wanted one for years, and now we finally have one. We have fires on it almost nightly and love to cook over it. Last week we cooked BBQ babyback ribs over it. Let me tell you, it was juicy and delicious. On the menu tonight? T-bone steak cooked over our fire.
Yes, this is the life we live. And one we couldn’t have if we had kids. Let me tell you why.
- 1. If we had kids, we wouldn’t have been able to buy our lovely four-bedroom house on a quarter acre lot. We wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Besides, why spend money on things kids will trash anyway?
- 2. Even if we could still afford the property, we wouldn’t have been able to afford the materials to build the fire pit. In all, it cost a few hundred dollars. As we don’t have kids, we can just spend that money on a whim. With kids, not so much.
- 3. We wouldn’t have had the time or energy to build a fire pit or, indeed, do any landscaping at all if we had kids monopolizing our attention.
- 4. Even if we tried to build the pit, kids would just get in the way of meaningfully progress.
- 5. It’s a waste of effort to build beautiful, nice things when kids are around. They’d just ruin it. They’d carve up the drying clay, they’d knock over or smash stones, they’d tear down the lighting fixtures, and they’d throw the woodchips everywhere.
- 6. If we had kids, we couldn’t build permanent decorative fixtures in the yard, even if the kids would leave them alone. Kids need space to play, and a large firepit in the middle of the lawn is an obstacle. Children wouldn’t be happy that it was there in their space, or might even manage to hurt themselves on it.
- 7. Fire is a hazard to kids. Let’s face it, kids aren’t always the most clever bunch. They could hurt themselves or others by getting to close to the fire, might try to play with the fire, might burn things that aren’t supposed to be burnt (on purpose or by accident,) and might get tiki torch oil and other flammable materials where they don’t belong.
- 8. A fire pit would do me no good if I didn’t have the time or energy to enjoy it because my life was wasted on kids.
- 9. My boyfriend and I wouldn’t find so much enjoyment hanging around a fire together if all the romance had been sucked out of our relationship by the demands and tedium of child-rearing and all that comes with it.
- 10. If we had kids, it wouldn’t be ribs or steak being cooked over our fire, at least not nearly as often. Wouldn’t be able to afford it. Hot dogs on a stick are OK, but I wouldn’t want them all the time.
Being childfree isn’t about what I don’t have, kids. It’s about what I DO have because I don’t have kids. Every time I look at my life, I am reminded of how great I have it, and how much I would lose if there were kids involved. My fire pit is just one example out of far too many to list. Honestly, I can’t imagine trading my happy life for the misery motherhood would be. I see no reason to just throw my life away, so I don’t.
A few days ago, I passed my two-year tubalversary. It’s amazing how fast time flies when you don’t have to worry about time. I don’t have to take a pill at the same time every day. I don’t have to get a shot every three months. And I don’t have any implants that need replaced every several years. Nope. I got a procedure done once, and then never had to think about or pay any money into birth control ever since.
A lot has changed in those two years. My boyfriend and I recently bought a large house together and live quite comfortably together with our three pets. We make lots of money and time to spend relaxing, traveling, having fun, and improving our property. My boyfriend recently went back to school, and I expect I shall start again very soon as well. We live good lives. And when we’re soaking in our hot tub together, going for drives just for fun, or grilling steaks over the fire-pit we built in our yard, I’m reminded of just how great a choice getting fixed was, because I know we would have none of that if we had children. That itself is enough to make my tubal well worth it. But there’s more.
Two years ago, I got my tubal ligation. Not only did I get it done, but I took it a step further and I wrote about it. Later, I wrote more things related to tubal ligation and found other sources of sterilization information. I put together a page of just about everything I had wanted to find before my tubal, all together in one place for others to find.
Two years later, I’m still getting comments from people thanking me for putting all of that together. I still get people sharing their tubal ligation stories for me. And when I check this blog’s incoming links, I discover that, around the internet, sometimes on sites that I’ve never been to, people are posting links to that page, in order to refer other people. Most of what I write on this blog, I write for me and don’t care if anyone like it or even reads it. But this, this is something that people are reading, and it means something to them, it’s helping them. That is pretty amazing. I am very happy.
It’s my hope that, if more people speak up about their sterilization (male and female) experiences, the more comfortable people will be having these frank sort of conversations and the more likely people considering such procedures will be to find the personal stories of those who have gone before. When I’m being really optimistic, I hope that such open sharing would lead to a culture that sees sterilization as a more acceptable thing, and maybe, just maybe, it will be that much easier for people to convince their own healthcare providers to perform.
Thanks to everyone who read this. Cheers. And here’s to our happy sterility.