April Peveteaux Needs To Mind Her Own Uterus

Generation X Ladies Need to Have Some Babies

Nobody needs babies. This is especially true when we consider how dangerously overpopulated the planet already is. You know what really strikes me throughout April Peveteaux’s misguided article? Not once does she even give a single reason to explain why anyone should have babies. She just says to do it. The only reason I could think of, from her writing, was that other women having babies would make her more comfortable about her own decisions. That’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

An interesting statistic about the women and men of Generation X – babies born between 1965 and 1978 — shows that a huge chunk of these 33- to 46-year-olds are not having babies of their own. A startling 43 percent of Gen X ladies are not having children, and 32 percent of Gen X men. Granted, we’re not the Baby Boomers, but that’s still a lot of adults deciding to forgo parenthood.

Good! I wish the statistic was greater! Has anyone else noticed that the world population is not only currently unsustainable, but still climbing? Just reached 7 billion this month. Just how many college students are we going to cram into this phone booth before someone finally realizes that enough is enough?

As a card-carrying member of Generation X, it has not escaped my notice that many, many of my friends remain child-free. When I try to think back to my own mother’s friends, I can’t recall any of them not having their ownchildren. Yet I would say probably 43 percent of my female friends don’t have kids.

Yes, think back to your mother’s friends. 1. What was the place of women at the time? (Or the place we were stuck with, anyway.) 2. What was the availability of various birth control methods as well as proper abortion care? 3. What kind of people is your mom likely to be friends with anyway?

What the heck is going on?

People making independent decisions for themselves, not all of which follow the life-script. Do you know what happened since your mother’s time? Women’s liberation. Slowly, women have begun to realize that we have value as people, rather than merely as people factories, whether we have kids or not. It’s gotten to the point where people are able to escape the social expectations to breed and are able to choose to delay or even forgo motherhood entirely. Gradually, childfreedom has become more accepted, a trend not helped by this bossy, condescending article.

One article expressed the opinion that Gen Xers are overworked, underpaid, and just don’t have the expendable income that is required to raise children. As an overworked, underpaid mom myself, I kind of call b.s. on that idea.

You’re “overworked, underpaid” as a mom. These people are already overworked and underpaid without kids. Having kids will only make that worse. Not that these are the only reasons people are freely choosing not to have kids. Some people just don’t want that mommy/daddy life, a point you never see fit to address.

By the way, you think you’re overworked and underpaid? You write articles about people that you apparently don’t even have to do real research for. If that’s your only job, I call bullshit.

Not that we shouldn’t have support in place in our stressed economy to help people when they want to become mothers — we should. But I don’t think paid maternity and paternity leave, subsidized day care, and universal health care are the deciding factors when people make a baby.

The support people should have before they have a baby is a savings of their own and a job to continue the income. I don’t agree that someone else’s desires should be a burden for everyone else to help with whether they like it or not considering that we don’t get a say in whether or not someone else has a kid. Paid maternity/paternity leave are benefits from the workplace, and ones the rest of us non-childed people don’t get. Subsidized (if you mean by taxes) daycare is great for people who have unexpectedly fallen on hard times and only use temporarily while they get themselves back on their feet, not something for people to just expect that they’re entitled to before they even have a baby. A baby is the responsibility of the parent, not the rest of the world.

All of the above would have made my life dramatically better in the early days of having my own babies, yet I still had them. Sure, I complained about it, my marriage was stressful as a result of having zero support in these arenas, and my health suffered. But again, I had a second child knowing all of these things.

So you’re a poor decision maker. I’m sorry, but you’re really not making this “leap of faith” advice (we’ll get to that later,) very appealing to anyone who thinks about it in a rational way. Other people don’t want to intentionally sabotage their own lives by either having kids before they can adequately care for them while sustaining a decent living, or by having kids at all.

Edited to add: Relevant, She had a fucking nanny!

But you know when I didn’t have a baby? During my first, incredibly short “starter marriage,” my self-preservation instincts kicked in and kept me on a very strict birth control regimen. And the Gen X women I know who don’t have children are mostly the ones who have struggled to find a partner that they trust enough to go with on this journey of parenthood.

A “starter marriage.” Not to be down on people who divorce and re-marry (as is the case with many people who I respect very much,) but clearly “leap of faith,” has not had a great track record of success in your life.

So are you saying that you should have had kids with this guy?

Our generation is notorious for being “latch-key” kids and having divorced parents. Most of us are gun-shy when it comes to trusting other people and we damn sure don’t want to repeat the mistakes of our own parents. Hence, the lack of marriages, and lack of children as a result of those unions.

Oh, now there’s an interesting correlation between divorce and children who grow up to not have kids! Or, it would be, had any factual data been provided to support it. Sometimes I think bloggers are just people who couldn’t hack it as journalists. Yes, I know this applies to me, but at least I back up what I say, cite my sources.

As a person whose parents never divorced, who has a loving, male partner who I trust, and as a person who has had a fairly good life all things considered, I don’t want kids. I don’t see any reason why I should. That might punch a bit of a hole in your divorce-blaming idea.

As a child of divorce and other lifestyle choices I would have preferred not to have been brought up around, I get this instinct. And I realize that I was incredibly lucky to meet and fall in love with a man who I knew would be an amazing husband and father, and that our marriage would be nothing like those 1960s and ’70s disasters. I wouldn’t have had children either, if I hadn’t met him.

I swear, I’m not the one putting this shit in bold. It was like that when I found it. Ok, look, she didn’t have kids with the first guy, and wouldn’t have had she not met this one guy, but, well, read on…

However, this is where I tell all of you Gen X ladies and dudes to take a leap of faith.

WTF?! How does someone even write this shit without their head exploding from the cognitive dissonance. This logic…

Ok, clearly the “take a leap of faith/ just do it” attitude wasn’t right for her at different parts of her life, but she’s sure it’s right for you right now in your life. Because who knows you better than April? You didn’t think it was yourself, did you? Oh, silly childfree person.

Hey lady, you might be so caught up in playing mommy that you haven’t noticed, but it’s not your place to tell anyone else to do anything. We’re not your kids, we’re adults who make our own informed decisions.

Having children made me a better person.

Evidently not.

Experiencing the struggles and joys of bringing up small people that are related to me has enriched my life beyond what I could have imagined. And as a cynical, smartass Gen Xer who was never going to have children, I’m shocked.

Oh, she was just like me, so she knows better, right? Yeah, you know who else is shocked? All the mommies who “just do it,” “take a leap of faith,” and mindlessly follow the life-script only to discover that parenthood is not, in fact, all sunshine and roses. 

Single parenting is difficult, and I’m not advocating it if you’re not ready for it, but being a parent is an experience that I would wish on all of my Gen X brothers and sisters. Okay, not all. You know who you are. But most of you who may just be thinking it’s not worth the hassle. It is. Jump in, the water is cool.

Single parenting? Wow, she really is set on that whole “just do it” attitude, huh? Single-parenthood is fine for the rich and successful, or something people resort to when the alternative becomes untenable or even dangerous, but it’s not usually anyone’s goal to be a single caretaker, struggling just to pay their bills. This has to be the worst advice I’ve ever seen anyone give in my entire life.

Whether or not having kids is worth the “hassle” (that’s a kind way to put it) is entirely subjective. If it was worth it for you, great! It’s not worth it to me and evidently isn’t worth it for a lot of people. Some of us have better (to us) things to do with our lives.

Are you a Gen Xer without kids?

Technically, I’m just a tad too young to be Gen X, having been born in 1988. What does that make me, generation Y? Well, when I get to be 33- to 46- years old, I’ll still be my happily childfree self. I even had a surgery to ensure that. And maybe when I’m that age, people will have grown to realize that motherhood is a choice, not a mandate, and I won’t have to deal with sexist crap like this article.

How would you like it if I told you that you really shouldn’t have kids? I’d have a decent argument, what with overpopulation being a real and looming threat which affects everyone. Yet somehow I don’t think it would be much appreciated. Well, neither will this.

This is really neither here nor there, and I considered not even posting this. However, it’s relevant and it’s information that the author herself makes public, so it’s fair game as far as I’m concerned. She has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine in response to gluten. It has no cure, but is managed by careful diet. I almost, almost felt sorry for her when I read this, that is, until I saw that it was inherited and something passed on in families. She’s a mom. She probably passed the predisposition for this shit on to her kids. Um, passing diseases makes you a better person? Oh, well, maybe she had a mild case and didn’t know until after, but still.

Oh, do you not like that I’m now judging your reproductive decision? Well, I don’t like it either. You might want to get off your high horse and stop telling other people how to live, and what to do with our lives as far as reproduction goes. Especially since you live in a glass house. At least by not having kids, we’re not hurting anybody.

Posted on 2011/10/21, in childfree, Feminism, Prochoice, Sexism. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Here’s what happens to many women who “just do it” – that is, who unthinkingly give birth to children they’ll then be responsible for for the REST OF THEIR LIVES: http://sylviadlucas.com/2011/10/05/dear-sylvia-confession-if-i-could-go-back-i-might-not-have-had-kids/

    April, having kids isn’t like saying “Oh, screw it!” and buying a pair of expensive boots, you know. (Or do you?)

    • Julie Was Here

      I saw that you left a brief comment on her page. I left a few as well.

      For someone who supposedly has so many childfree friends, it’s a shame that she didn’t seem to even bother asking any of them about their decision. And it’s not like there aren’t books on the subject. I’m sure she didn’t do anything even resembling research before she wrote this, else she would not have written it the way that she did.

      • I doubt she has any childfree friends. I doubt childfree people could stand to listen to her for very long. I get the impression she’d be constantly nagging them to have kids and condescending to them when they said they didn’t want kids.

  2. EXCELLENT response, Julie!

    You articulate all the emotion I couldn’t convert into words when I read her drivel yesterday.

    Thank you!

  3. It’s bad enough to have people telling me I should have kids. It’s even worse when they think that their little comments will change my mind.  Does the author really think that saying you should “just do it” is going to convince anyone? This is just another “you should have kids so you can miserable too” argument.

  4. You can see or hear me, but I am cheering and applauding right now. Thank you for the well-written response. I wanted to comment on the article myself, but I was so outraged by her absolute lack of logical thought that my brain simply would not string words together.

    Thank you!

  5. “Having children made me a better person.”

    [citation needed]

  6. Unfortunately,many females have this “if I wasn’t supposed to whelp,then why do I have this uterus?” logic. Much like spandex tube tops on a morbidly obese person,just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
    Then they enjoy bragging that it “wasn’t that hard” & “they’re not that expensive”
    I have 4 dogs & a foster dog. I could say it’s not that hard & not that expensive to care for them,but that would mean that they weren’t properly cared for. Going by what I see,the same can be said for these “go for it” people.
    Also,they have resources like WIC & such that are not available to me for my pups but they STILL can’t seem to raise decent,clean,law abiding citizens.

  7. Jessica Sideways

    A “starter marriage”? That kinda sounds like the marriage I had with Samara, and we know how well that went, with me feeling like I finished a prison sentence once the annulment came down (and that was truly a happy day, I think it was one of the few days that the people at Naropa saw me smiling ;-P). But I think that it is a good example of what happens when you have “faith” in your life, you make bad fucking decisions.

    When I get married again, I am going to make sure that I do it for all the right reasons. I had too much faith in Samara for my first marriage, my second one will be based on reason. ^_^

  8. I think that your article was a great read, so I posted it on my Facebook page to hopefully give you more readers. Perhaps you could look into another social media site to make it easier for your readers to do this. Just my 2 cents.

  9. I’m also ’88 – being only 23….you never know if you’ll change your mind when you’re 30/40+

    • Julie Was Here

      Yes, actually I DO know. But thanks for the bingo. It always makes me laugh when total strangers presume to know my mind better than I do.

      Question: Do you advise people who do want kids that they might change their mind? Regretting having kids is far more likely.

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