By Laura LaVoie
Occasionally, I’ve run into a subset of parents who feel threatened by the childfree population. I find this strange and rather unexplainable. Why would our choices impact their lives at all?
However, a few vocal parent bloggers have taken to calling us out on our choices. One particularly caustic example is this post by Dad and author Chris Jeub. Throughout the post, he asserts that it is illogical for non-parents to insist that they don’t like children or don’t want children. How can they push away what they’ve never had? Perhaps one day, they will regret their decision.
It appears to me as though Mr. Jeub is suggesting, like a couple other parents I’ve had the displeasure to speak with, that childfree adults can’t possibility know real love until we have children. And by having an ideology (as he calls it) that is anti-child, we have cut ourselves off from that love. We shouldn’t insist that we can’t be or don’t want to be parents.
‘Just don’t get pigeon-holed into silly promises you can’t keep. Never say never’, they say. ‘Children may be in your future, be open to that. Let the adventure of life unfold before you’, they say.
He is right about one thing. Children are a big responsibility and a big choice. If I, as an adult woman, don’t think that I am mother material, and don’t want to bring a child into this world, why is that so wrong?
A child is not a sweater. If I get a sweater that is ill-fitting, or simply not appealing, I can return it or exchange it. If I do not like my child after it is born, there is no going back from that.It is a child!
If I didn’t like being a mother, I couldn’t really just give the kid to someone else and say I made a mistake. Once the child is here, I would be responsible for it, no matter what. I knew as a little girl that children weren’t anything that I wanted. I knew when I was in my 20s. I know now at 39: I do not want a child.
If I don’t think I am ready or even interested in that responsibility, why would I keep myself open to the idea?
But, Mr. Jeub goes on…and on…about the destructive childfree ideology and the way childfree people are simply ruining the future as well as their own lives. He makes judgments that we will regret our choices as we get older and have no one to take care of us, or because we have “denied” our parents the joy of grandchildren. As if any of those are reasons to bring a human being into the world.
A child is non-refundable. If I don’t like my kid, there is nothing I can do about it. What’s worse, I imagine, is the child would quickly learn to resent me as well. Why would I do that to another human being who did not choose to be born?