10 Things People Don't Tell You About Being Childfree
Being childfree is a decision that is personal, so why do people make it such a public matter?
I'm childfree. I know that I am not the type of person who would do well raising a child. I'm just not parent material; and frankly, I'm really not the type of person who gets interested in diapers. Kids aren't interesting to me, nor do I find babysitting rewarding.
Frankly, I am at peace with being childfree. Everyone else who finds out, though? Not so much. I think that people need to understand a couple of things about what it's like to be a childfree person—and trust me, explaining this is long overdue.
No, we're not "broken."
There's this very deeply-held belief in society that people who don't want kids aren't "right." This is doubly true if you have the misfortune of being born a woman who wants to remain childfree throughout their lives. Frankly, most of us childfree folks can't understand this belief.
For some reason, people just can't fathom that people might want something different from what they want. What's so hard to believe about the fact that we just don't want kids? Like, people don't balk if we say we don't want steak, or pop music. So why are kids so different?
Please don't assume we're traumatized or something. We're not.
Honestly, it's pretty marginalizing being treated as "incorrect" for not wanting something. We're just different, and we're so heavily bombarded with pro-kid crap that we have to run off to Reddit in order to find others like us. It's sad we have to do that.
I can't name how many people I have met who have literally flipped out because I told them I didn't want kids. It's been a lot, and most love to call me names. Almost immediately, I'm called "selfish," "cold," or "fucked up."
Have you ever asked a person with children why they had kids? It almost always starts with, "I wanted..." Oh, and when you consider dwindling natural resources, having kids seems pretty selfish. We can't give them the same chance we had!
How strange it is, then, that people call us selfish?
We're sick of asking why we don't want kids.
Without fail, the knee-jerk reaction people have when they overhear that we don't want kids is the question of why we don't want them. Some of us have legit reasons. Others don't know why—and that's okay.
What's not okay is to question our life decisions. I mean, we don't tell you how to live your lives or ask you why you choose a certain path in life. So, why is it okay to do the same to us? Being childfree is a very serious decision, stop trying to wheedle us out.
By the way, we're also sick of being told: "you'll change your mind."
I personally had over a dozen doctors refuse to sterilize me because they were nervous that I could potentially regret it. In fact, most of them talked over me and told me that I would change my mind, and that I had to have kids in order to get sterilized.
The amount of invalidation and judgement childfree people (especially women) get is horrific. Heck, I've even had one who told me, "If you don't want to get pregnant, can you just not have sex?"
Imagine having a doctor invalidate your personal sex decisions, critique you for having sex, or tell you that you need to put your health at risk for something you don't want. Then, you'll understand why many childfree people hate doctors.
It's not our duty to have kids just because you feel we should.
There's this weird vibe that most childfree people will end up getting at least once or twice in their lives. It's this weirdly expectant vibe people let out that a childfree person isn't doing their share because they haven't crapped out a kid.
Sorry, your inconvenience is not our emergency.
Just because you don't have kids doesn't mean that you're lonely. You can be someone's cousin, sister, brother, mentor, friend, lover, aunt, or uncle. Most of us, in fact, are, too. It's just that we really, truly aren't interested in getting the title of mom or dad.
A family of two is still a family!
Please stop assuming we're immature because we don't want kids!
Being childfree is often seen as a sign of immaturity, primarily because having kids is a traditional adult milestone. The thing is, you don't have to be a parent to be a responsible adult. In fact, you might actually be doing the most responsible thing possible by not having kids.
So please, stop telling us the only way to grow up is to have kids. There are other ways to grow up, too. Besides, plenty of parents act like spoiled brats, and our choice to be childfree doesn't mean we're better or worse for it.
Yes, we get it. You know a friend of a friend who hated kids then had a kid, and now is happy. It happens once in a while, but this remains one of the things childfree people are fed up of hearing from people. You know what happens more frequently, though?
We hear plenty of stories (or see plenty of evidence) of parents who regret having kids. We all hear the very rarely admitted whisper of, "You're right not to have kids," come from a parent who always adds that they love their kids but if they weren't born, things would be better.
Please stop assuming you know us better. Just assume we know what's right for us, just the way we assume kids were right for you.
We're cool babysitting, maybe, but not all the time.
There's this random assumption people make that being childfree means we have all the time in the world and that we automatically can be babysitters. This is just not true!
Some of us really don't like kids and don't know how to handle them. Others don't have time to babysit. Please acknowledge boundaries and don't just dump your kids on us. It's really disrespectful of our time and space.
Studies show that parenthood is in decline on a global scale, and that around 20 percent of all women won't have kids, ever. So, if you think being childfree is rare, it's really not. Please stop treating us like circus freaks, okay? Being childfree is better for some of us.