The choice to be childless
Very interesting reaction from the readers of tbt* to this essay from Slate on "The Joy of Not Having Children." The writer, Amanda Marcotte, correctly notes that the huge expectations of mothers these days makes the child-free lifestyle much more attractive. I also like the argument that the decision to go childless is a good one for the children's sake. Every child should be wanted.
So why do people give their child-free friends and family such a hard time? Look at these letters to the tbt* editors and you can feel the relief that their choice isn't so crazy and shouldn't be so maligned. Here's an excerpt:
You can have a life without children
Re: The joy of no kids ( tbt * cover story July 19) Thank you, thank you for this article! And thank you for putting it on the cover. I have never had the motherly instinct, and even my good friends who have always understood this about me seemed to think that after I was married I would suddenly grow out of it. I have been happily married for a year now, and I still don’t want kids.
I do believe that one day my husband and I will want to have a family, and at that point we will look into adoption. There are so many children out there who need a good home, and I hope to be able to provide one. It does sting a little bit to know that my child won’t have my mother’s eyes or my grandfather’s smile, but in the end, those are selfish reasons to make a person.
I don’t think that my decision is a selfish one; as the article explained, sometimes the decision to have children appears to be a selfish one. So many people in my generation (late 20s/early 30s) want children, but is it for the right reasons? Of course, sometimes it is, but other times I think that people just want to post sonograms on Facebook, register at Babies R Us, and dream up the most unique baby name. Then, when the baby gets here they are suddenly over whelmed.
I think babies have become a status symbol in America, which is evidenced by the growing number of SUVs with the family stickers on the back window. It’s almost as if people are saying I have four children, three cats and two dogs, I win!
Marie Davis, Clearwater
I am so relieved to read this ar ticle! I am 27 and childless, and plan to remain that way. When I tell people my future does not include children of my own, I get mixed reactions. They range from complete disgust, to “Oh honey you’ll change your mind,” to praise.
My reasons are all equal parts financial, selfish and, in my opinion, smart. However, regardless of my reasons, they are my reasons, and I refuse to succumb to society’s ideas of what is right and ‘‘American.’’ To many, wanting and having children is what they feel will be the absolute joy in life, and I’m happy for them. But to me, not wanting children is the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’m ecstatic at the thought of continuing to live a childless life.
Ashley Alewine, Tampa
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article! It ’s getting forwarded to my mother-in-law and every other person I know who acts like it’s a travesty to be nearing 27 with absolutely no interest in children.
My husband and I have decided to go against the norm for every reason listed in this article. We don’t have the desire, we’re perfectly happy the way we are, we don’t want to spend the money, and don’t see the point in having a child whom everyone but us wants. Most of the people who bug me about it can’t take care of their own kids properly, so hopefully someone reads this article and thinks twice before passing judgment on anyone else.
Paige Sendros, Tampa
I don’t think much has changed in our attitudes toward raising and loving our children; it’s part of what makes us human. But what I do think has changed is that it’s harder than ever to make a living, let alone raise a child. We are all struggling, but I think it’s we parents who are closer to the reality of it than anyone.
Without being judgmental, I think it’s important to keep in mind that mere distraction does not equal a worthwhile existence and I think that is the greatest challeng e facing us as a nation right now. We need to prepare for a time when the charm of simple diversions will fade.
Chris Gunn, Tampa
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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