Monthly Archives: March 2012
“You’re too young to know what you want.” “You’ll change your mind someday.” “You’re just going through a phase.”
Those are all bignos childfree people often hear. We’re quite frequently told that we don’t know our own minds, but somehow the bingoer does. Such irritating dismissals are nothing short of insulting, as anyone who has dealt with them can attest.
It’s frequently pointed out that these bingos, while common to the ears of people with the courage to say, “I never want children,” are rarely if ever used on people who say “I do want kids some day.” Also not said to people who want kids: “You’ll regret having kids,” “what if your partner doesn’t want kids?” Indeed, I received similar but opposite comments when I was fighting for my tubal.
Never mind the unfairness of questioning the personal decisions of others (one particular group and not the other) for now though. My problem is the accusation that people who choose to be childfree haven’t thought their devision through carefully. Quite the contrary, I think choosing to be childfree necessarily requires much thought and honest introspection. When people live in a world where breeding is expected, it takes serious thought to realize that breeding even is a choice, rather than a mandate, and then choosing to opt out.
In contrast, it’s having children that often seems to involves little thought. I can’t count how many times I’ve encountered people with the attitude that kids “just happen” and put little thought to family planning. Then there are life-scripters who will declare that having kids “is just what you do,” and are shocked when faced with the fact that having kids is optional. Then consider that roughly half of all pregnancies are un-planned.
The picture paints itself. Sure, there are some responsible parents who think carefully over whether or not to have children, weighing the pros and cons honestly, and diligently do their research on relevant matters considering possible effects on their own lives and on the world at large. However, although I do not have the data to prove it, I doubt most people who have kids do the described. Most, it seems, put more thought into purchasing butter than they put into reproduction, and that’s a sad commentary in and of itself.
That’s what makes the accusation that I don’t know what I want all the more ignorant. I’m certain that I put way more thought into being childfree and getting a tubal than amount of thought that the average person puts into forcing a new person into this world, yet I’m the one questioned and dismissed out of hand.