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.
This blog has moved. Go to ChildfreeVoices.com . Seriously, do it.
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.
This blog has moved. Go to ChildfreeVoices.com . Seriously, do it.
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.
Alright, let’s be serious. The other day, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about things I “regret” about being childfree. This was in response to a troll in a childfree group, a grandmother who showed up one day and never left, who insists that childfree people regret our decision and secretly envy her for having bred.
Finding this assertion absurd to the point it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously, I wrote a list of things that I “regret” about being childfree. My list included things like not being woken up at 3am by screaming babies, not having to change diapers, and not suffering the bodily harm caused by pregnancy and birth. Obviously, this list is sarcastic. I don’t actually regret any of what I listed, and that’s exactly the point. Most people who read it, got it. A number of people even wrote their own list of fake regrets.
But it seems some people just didn’t get the point. It flew right over their heads. A few people on Reddit complained that they were hoping for an honest list of pros and cons. Actually, it kind of was, but more on that later.
Childfree people are often told that we will regret being CF. Some of the less secure among us find this possibility a source of doubt. Most of us just dismiss the notion, sure we won’t regret a thing. However, few us us seem to question the notion that there is even anything to regret at all. I feel like I’m explaining a joke here, but that’s the point of my list of fake regrets.
What is it, exactly, that I am supposed to regret about being childfree? Living in too nice of a house? Spending too much quality time with my boyfriend?Am I supposed to regret being too healthy? Too successful? Too financially-stable? Too happy? Too free? Too satisfied? Really, what is there to regret about not having kids? I feel like I’m being told that I will regret running a marathon without a ball and chain shackled to each ankle. The idea is laughable. It doesn’t even make any sense. I am clearly better off without the burden.
The truth, as I see it, is this. For one thing, not only do I not now, nor will I ever, regret being childfree, but I contend that there is nothing at all for me to regret. In the list of pros and cons of being childfree, I can not for the life of me think of one single “con.” Likewise, I see no real “pros” to parenthood.
My second realization, however, relates to those who insist that the childfree will regret being so. None of them can name a single thing that I should regret missing out on. It’s more likely that they claim that I will regret being childfree, not for my sake, but for their own. Maybe they feel insecure about their choice, perhaps even regret becoming parents, and as a result, they think that believing that I am the one who regrets living my own life differently than they makes them feel better. Too bad for them that reality doesn’t play along.
This is what I really regret about being childfree: Absolutely nothing!
Dear Natalist World,
Guys, I need to rant. A friend of mine wrote a post on FaceBook complaining about something unrelated to my rant, but did so while making a comparison along the lines of: “If you were childfree, you wouldn’t tell an infertile person that you envy them.
I commented that yes, I actually would say that. Getting fixed wasn’t easy. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to accomplish. Society and the medical establishment at large like to throw up all kind of barriers to permanent sterilization (hell, even just temporary birth control. )I WISH I was naturally infertile. And I’m betting she wouldn’t have had a problem with infertile people have no problem saying that they envy the fertile (CF or not.)
Am I the only one who has no patience for infertility whining? These people aren’t martyrs or victims or anything of the sort. It’s not like anyone needs kids. I mean, what’s the worst real affect of not having kids? No macaroni pictures? Too much money to spend? OH, boo-fuckity-hoo. You know, if someone really wants kids, they could still adopt. What does that tell you if they won’t?
People like to get all dramatic and say that these people are “suffering.” No, no they’re fucking not. People which chronic pain are suffering. People who are starving are suffering. Not getting some petty want in NOT suffering. Who would say that I’m suffering because I can’t have a Ferrari? (at least transportation is actually a practical need.
The way I see it, anyone who bitches about being infertile has some serious growing up to do. They remind me of toddlers throwing tantrums in stores because mommy won’t buy cookies. Seriously, it’s more than just the infertility that I envy. It’s the ease of existence someone would have to have to complain about it. If not being able to breed is really all someone has to complain about in life, then I’d envy them for having no real problems.
And anyone who actually gives these people undeserved sympathy is feeding into the drama. You’re not helping. In fact, you’re making it worse. Stop feeling sorry for people who aren’t actually suffering and maybe they’ll stop feeling sorry for themselves and maybe even realize breeding is not actually as big a deal as our natalism-obsessed culture likes to pretend. Maybe if you stopped pretending that there was anything wrong with being infertile infertile people wouldn’t get so dramatic about it.
I would say this whether I was CF or not, but apparently, saying this while CF makes me the devil.