My choice to remain childless

 This Hub is completely subjective and was not created to incite anger or hatred, but honest and thought provoking discussion relevant to the topic.

Babies: Adorable bundles of joy, but not for me

Photo credit: donthavekids.files.wordpress.com/.../babies.jpg
Photo credit: donthavekids.files.wordpress.com/.../babies.jpg

 

Parenting is supposed to be one of the highlights of being an adult. The American Dream as I knew it was to have the average 2.5 kids and a home with a white picket fence.

Now, at 39 years of age I am so happy and grateful that I never had children. I know that by this time, if I really wanted them, I could have had them. I could have bought into the stereotypical notion that everyone should be a parent. Thankfully, I am smarter than that.

Let me explain…

As a child in a family of five, I played with toys (mostly stuffed animals) with a vivid imagination. I dreamt of growing up to be a veterinarian where I could treat sick and injured animals and give them back a good life. My dolls were often neglected, or my older sister would give them attention and infuse their stiff forms with some semblance of life. I rarely played “house” or “parent”. I preferred to play “doctor” and could be found ripping my stuffed animals apart just so I could sew them back together.

I never wanted to have kids from an early age. I wanted ponies and cats and dogs to fill my life; not the crying babies and toddlers that my sister dreamt of. As I grew older, I became more aware of my lack of interest in procreation. I paid attention in sex education classes in which birth control was explained in great detail. I listened to my parents as they warned of teenage pregnancy. I knew that my parents had a difficult time raising three young children, and I didn’t wish that for myself.

I was called selfish for not wanting kids. The thought of adoption at some point entered into my consciousness, and for a few years I thought that adopting a homeless, unloved Chinese girl would fulfill a purpose for me. What that purpose was, I couldn’t tell you.

That fantasy did not last long. Perhaps it was when I got my first horse as a teen that the idea of children took a back seat.

Eventually my brother fell in love, and impregnated his girlfriend. Soon they were married, doing “the right thing” for the sake of the baby. Shortly after he was sent to sea for the Navy, she filed for divorce. Suddenly, not only did children seem ridiculous, but so did marriage.

I watched my sister get married, have a baby and get divorced. Twice. Although I love my niece and my nephews, the fact that these people whom I loved so dearly were tied to life long family obligations further cemented in my mind that I would be different.

I would be without child.

The first time I heard the term “childless” I was excited. There was a term to describe those who could lead a full life without making more people. I sought out some of those child-free people, and found many in the field of veterinary medicine. With that career, I could focus on the animals I was helping, and not worry whether or not I was keeping up with the Joneses. The traditional family values didn’t apply to me, and I was not going to apologize for it.

I was married for ten years before I sought my own divorce. I was strong enough to ensure that children would not be a result of that union.

I have never regretted that decision.

Recently I met a wonderful man who is also child-free, and wants to stay that way.

We often discuss the myriad reasons why one might resist adding more people to the planet, and why most people are compelled to do so.

The reasons people give for procreating are plenty:

  • To see the family bloodline continue/ pass on gene
  • To experience life again through the child
  • The biological clock is ticking
  • To feel unconditional love from another person
  • Because it is against religious doctrine to use birth control
  • Because every child is a gift from God
  • It is human instinct to breed

 

That is the short list. I ponder these reasons and realize that I don’t fit into a single category. My family bloodline can continue by my family donating blood to those who need it. I don’t feel a need to experience life again through a child because I am living the best life I possibly can. I’ve never heard the ticking of my biological clock; perhaps it’s not ticking at all. I love myself unconditionally, and I feel great love from my parents, siblings, friends, lover and pets. I think that religion is very personal, and I don’t think God wanted us to kill our planet with the nearly 7 billion people on Earth. Every child is a result of a sperm fertilizing an egg. I don’t think that God was there giving directions.

And I believe that it is human instinct to live, thrive and experience pleasure. Something we can get from sex, but creation of another human need not be a result.

In this day and age, we humans have contributed to much destruction of our home, this planet we call Earth. The only viable way to reduce the damage done is to slow our reproduction. Although many people do what they can in the way of reducing consumption, reusing products when able and recycling those things that can be remanufactured, the rate of births outweigh the rate of deaths. We are on the fast track to disaster if we can’t find ways to reduce our human population. Consumption will always be a factor in human existence.

I hear of people buying “carbon credits” to offset their contribution to the Earth’s problems. I think I have found the best credit on the planet: the decision to not make another human which will require more of this delicate planet and its ecosystems…that and I quit racing cars!

 

 

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Comments 13 comments

LeonJane profile image

LeonJane 6 years ago from Australia

Good on you Jennifer D., I admire your strong belief and purpose. It is amazing the pressure that you get from friends and family to have kids, even after 10 years of marriage, we remain childless but still get quized. To have children is a choice not a requirement to live your life. A lot of friends and family I know have had children, commented that we don't have a "home" yet they bust up and leave the kids in disarray. Not a "homely" environment in my thoughts.

Once again, good on you!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

You brought up some valid points, Jennifer. Your chose is of course your own and others should respect it. I know of some people (thank goodness they got they broke up before going any further) who were in vehement disagreement about having or not children. When deciding who you want to be with, this of course should be discussed beforehand. It's good that you and your husband were in agreement.

Thanks for sharing this as I can now rationalize with your decision.


Jennifer D. profile image

Jennifer D. 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you, LeonJane. It is encouraging to know that I am not alone in the choice to remain childless. Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub and commenting.

Thank you, Dohn121, for reading and commenting as well. I think that people often spend so much time planning weddings and not planning their lives together that sometimes the most important issues get glossed over, if discussed at all. Open, honest communication is the key to any successful relationship; particularly one in which children could be the result.


G.L.A. profile image

G.L.A. 6 years ago from Arizona

Thank you for a most timely & profound hub!


Jennifer D. profile image

Jennifer D. 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you for reading, G.L.A. I appreciate the support!


cally2 profile image

cally2 6 years ago from Paraparaumu, New Zealand

Hi Jennifer,

I am a father of three so you could say that I 've done your bit of replacing people :)

While I wouldn't want to give up my little bundles of joy (although I must admit I've thought about it on occassion) I think that your decision is perfectly valid. I suppose the criticism you might get would come from people who believe that it is a religious obligation to overfill the planet or from those who struggle to conceive. The religious you will probably never be able to reason with, the barren will see their own struggle and project the unfairness of that on to you. If you are happy there is nothing wrong with choosing to be childless. You ain't hurtin' no-one.


Jennifer D. profile image

Jennifer D. 6 years ago from Canada Author

Cally, thank you for your comment on my Hub 'My Choice to Remain Childless'. I appreciate your thoughts and opinions, especially supporting my decision! It is a very personal choice and I agree with your analysis on why some might not like what I have to say.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Well done Jen D, though I have a daughter and another child on the way, I respect your and others like yours decision. I understand the benefits personally and environmentally. Sometimes I wish I hadn't had any children honestly, and pursued more of my individual desires. But I guess I'm lucky in that I have a great relationship with my daughter and a solid field of love that we share. We have gone through some troubling times, but often I thank the Heavens that she and I have been there for each other.

I also was lucky enough to have some fun before I got married or had any kids so that helped! Cheers to you and your assertiveness, I wish you well!


sonal 6 years ago

I read your hub with some shock as we Indians think children to be center and end of our lives. You have truly justified the point ,it is personal choice whether to remain childless or childish producing children to save a marriage or saving marriage because we have children, or further more being a victim of domestic violence trying to save children from aftereffects of divorce. It is high time we accepted reality and think with our head on shoulders saving the children as well as ourselves from stagnating relationships.


Jennifer D. profile image

Jennifer D. 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you for reading and for your comment as well, Ben.

I think that it is so important for a parent to have a strong, loving relationship with their children. I remember when I was a kid and I did something unpleasing to my Mom, she would tell me that she hoped I had a kid just like me when I grew up. Thankfully, my relationship with my parents has never been stronger, and I don't have that "bad kid" to tell that to!

Nonetheless, I can appreciate why others choose to have kids...and am grateful that I am not alone in not wanting any.


Jennifer D. profile image

Jennifer D. 6 years ago from Canada Author

sonal, I thank you for reading my Hub and your honest comment. I too think that having children to save a marriage is a disatrous move. It is a selfish thing to do. I do wish more people would adopt, though.


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 6 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

As well as you I also decided to remain childless and I am so happy because of this desicion. My life is more then fulfilled (it would be good that day could have 36 hours, LOL) and I also feel that my best contribution to this planet is - not to have children. Whatever somebody says about it, this is the most mature desicion of my life.

I enjoyed every word of your Hub, our opinions are the same. Thumbs up, Jennifer.


Jennifer D. profile image

Jennifer D. 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you, Tatjana-Mihaela. It is nice to know that I am not the only woman out there that feels making more people is not the best thing for this wonderful planet we live on.

By the way, I love your hubs. You are a gift to this community!

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