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
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!