Views on Being Childfree by Choice
I am childfree by choice. This means I do not have, nor do I intend to have, children of my own. Additionally, I am not interested in being a primary care giver to a child. I get a lot of questions and comments on this choice I've made, so I'll try to answer them here.
You must hate kids?
No, actually... I don't hate kids. I actually enjoy being around well behaved children who have sharp and forming minds. I especially enjoy interacting with children after they're around age 6 or so. I've had many positive experiences in my life as being in an aunt role to kids in this age range, and I love it. That's not to say that I'm not highly disturbed by misbehaving kids in public. But mostly it's the irresponsible parents I'm not pleased with at those moments - not the kids themselves.
You can't really experience being a women unless you're a mother.
Well, if that's true - then I'm perfectly happy not being a 'full' woman. But honestly, I think this sort of attitude is rather narrow minded and out-dated.
Do you have a physical condition that prevents you from having kids?
Not one I was born with. If it were a matter of me not able to have children when I wanted them, I would be considered 'childless' not 'childfree by choice'. Up until May 2004, I was perfectly able to have kids of my own. Nope, my choice is completely that... a choice. I voluntarily had a tubal ligation and in February 2008 I had a total hysterectomy to remove my uterus and cervix to treat another condition.
Woah, that's drastic. What if you change your mind?
First of all, I waited until I was 30 to take more drastic measures of making myself surgically sterile. There have been very very few times in my life when I even had positive thoughts about having children, and those mostly occurred at the beginnings of new relationships when I knew I was highly limerent. My primary mode of operation, from the time I knew that females were the ones to carry children, was that I did not want children of my own. It's stuck and been consistent. If I have a biological clock, it must not have come with batteries... cuz mine just doesn't tick.
If I were to change my mind about raising kids, there are plenty of children in this world in need of a loving home. I would readily adopt an older child if I felt a 'calling' to raise children. Being a polyamorous person who has created her own intentional family already - family and biology are not necessarily the same thing to me anyway.
So, why the decision to not have kids?
Good, glad we're finally getting to the relevant questions. I feel that having kids is a major decision, and not one that should be taken lightly. Raising children is a full time responsibility for 20+ years. Children deserve to be the focus of their parent's attention and resources, and unless you're absolutely wanting to take on this important job - I personally believe it is irresponsible to have children under other circumstances.
Because raising children is a full time commitment for so many years, this pretty much means that parents are unable to contribute to society fully in other ways while raising kids. Raising kids IS their primary contribution to society for that period of their lives, and they may very well contribute in other ways after the kids are grown. I personally believe that each of us can contribute to society, and it doesn't have to be in the form of raising kids. Some of us are better suited at spending all of our years preparing the world and society for that next generation - by focusing on developing new technology, medical advances, promoting ideas and societal freedoms, teaching new generations, etc. I think it's time that evolution has come to a point that it will not be driven merely by genes, but also by memes (ideas) and human intervention. (Yes, I have transhumanistic attitudes.)
And let's face it, we don't currently live in a society that is even closely tolerant of alternative relationship styles, let alone accepting. If I had children, I would not be able be as out and active as I am about my alternative choices without putting my kids at risk. One way I choose to contribute to society is by being as 'out' as I can be to help push society's buttons and hopefully help create a future where people can live outside of boxes and raise kids without risking losing them. My poly peers who are raising kids don't have nearly the freedom to express how they live to society at large that I do.
But it's so self-ish to be childfree.
While I don't argue for a moment that I'm self-ish, I would also argue that having children who are made up of your genes and instilled with your values and morals is also self-ish. We're all self-ish to some extent. Reproducing is your gene's way of exhibiting the ultimate self-ishness - a value that they're worthy enough of being passed on and replicated. There's nothing *wrong* with being self-ish.
You must be too irresponsible to have kids.
I really don't follow this line of thinking. Our biology is geared to reproduce, it doesn't take much to conceive a child. A good number of conceptions are a result of irresponsibility. I'm quite the opposite - I've taken steps my entire life to ensure that I didn't conceive children until I was sure I wanted them. When I decided that I wanted to devote my life to promoting ideas about alternative lifestyles, counseling others and learning about the world around me - I took steps to make sure that my biology's wants and desires didn't supersede my own wants and desires.
I also find that having children, especially if they were not intended children, becomes a great excuse to avoid the biggest responsibility we all have - and that's being responsible for our own happiness. I've seen so many people who are happy to tell you how their lives and relationships are less than happy... but they refuse to do anything about it because of 'the kids.' It's easy to shirk away from our responsibility to ourselves by hiding behind a responsibility to someone else. Not to say it's not a valid responsibility, but I often find that most people are truly scared of really taking responsibility for their own happiness. We live in a society where it's easy and expected to play the victim.
I think we'd all have a much better society and future generation if all children were truly wanted and planned for, and that their health and happiness was part of their parent's own equation for their own happiness.