Why is there still an underlying animus against those who are childfree?
I think a child free lifestyle just isn't the norm and so people treat it differently. I happen to feel though that a child free lifestyle is gaining popularity. Many of the younger people I know are very adamant about it and I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It wouldn't be my choice as I feel my 2 children have greatly enriched my life, but I can see the allure. No children gives much more freedom to pursue travel, personal interests, career etc. that family can detract from. Either way - it's not for us to judge the personal life choice of another.
Totally gonna get voted down for this probably...
But its kind of unnatural, in a way. The basic instinct of our species is to procreate. If everyone embraced a child-free lifestyle, or even if it became the norm... the human population would not be able to sustain itself.
I also think that most people think that that's how they can make the biggest difference, and that having children carries on a part of them into future generations. To many, it's a way to make a lasting impression on the world.
All this being said, however. I think there are various situations where its totally OK not to have kids. In my personal opinion, however, you should have correct motives for doing so.
How about because you don't want any?
Why not?... Because they're a "burden", because you're focusing on your career, because you're worried you'll be a bad parent, because you can't afford to take care of them? In my opinion, some of these reasons are more valid than others.
I think people only get agitated with the childfree who are arrogant about their lifestyle choices. We all know of childfree people who disparagingly refer to parents as "breeders" and those who say that the world is such a horrible place that it is tantamount to cruelty to bring a child into it. Those kinds of childfree people give the normal "I just don't want any kids" kinds of childfree people a bad rap.
Ashley Judd is the perfect example of the arrogant breed of childfree. She says it's "unconscionable" to have children given all the abandoned and neglected children in the world. First of all, why doesn't she put her money where her mouth is and adopt some of these abandoned children. Second of all, she demonizes people who have biological children and care for them rather than put blame on the real culprits--those who abandon their children. What she's really against is child neglect, not child rearing, but she's too kooky to know the difference. She's the sort of person who makes all childfree people look bad.
We have been married 42 years and are child free by choice. During the 70s and 80s people seemed to react that they thought it very strange. Or if they didn't know it was our choice, they seemed very sorry thinking that we couldn't have children. And I won't even mention the reaction from our Italian Catholic family!
In later years, people don't seem to react when we say we never had children. It is more accepted today. I have changed too as I used to feel a need for explanation but I don't feel that way now.
People tend to assume you are child free by choice. They then make another assumption about you, that you are cold, unloving, immature, selfish, or something to that effect. I am childless because I had to look after my mother, who was sick, after my dad died. I kinda missed the boat - I wanted kids more than anything. But people with kids tend to keep you at a distance, as if you are not quite as good or as human as they are. My friend's sister went through painful IVF for years and in the end had to accept she was childless. It broke both her heart and her marriage. It's hurtful enough without smug and ignorant people passing judgment on you.
The definition of childfree is by choice. You meant childless. Childlessness is not by choice. You wanted children but were unable to have them for one reason or another!
I wasn't aware of that distinction, gmwilliams, so thanks for pointing it out. However, it is my experience that people assume I am childfree rather than childless. My friend's sister has this experience, too.
I'm sorry to hear about everything that happened. It's very unfortunate when people want children but can't have them for whatever reason. You probably have... but have you considered adoption (or your friend's sister)?
I wasn't married, and my friend's sister unfortunately got divorced. The strain of the IVF was just too much, her marriage broke down. She's remarried now but I think she's resigned to being childless. Thanks for the suggestion.
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