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10 Unselfish Reasons To Not Have Children

Updated on April 15, 2016
The choice to avoid parenthood should be just as respected as the choice to reproduce.
The choice to avoid parenthood should be just as respected as the choice to reproduce. | Source

Strangely, the Choice to Remain Childfree is Still Controversial to Some

People who don't have children seem to get a lot of unsolicited criticism in the United States. Many childless and childfree people experience frequent negative comments about their reproductive health or choices. The criticism comes from parents, grandparents, siblings, co-workers, people who belong to the same congregation, and even people who barely know them.

Women are told they aren't really women if they don't have children, men are told they aren't manly. They are all told they can have no opinions on child-rearing or child welfare even if the issues being discussed are pretty straightforward ethical or safety issues. Many of them work the most unpredictable and least desired shifts, get lower priority on requests for days off, and get far less flexibility for scheduling around appointments and family activities. Parents are just valued more as human beings by some portions of society.

But that's OK, it's considered selfish if you don't have kids and selfish if you object to picking up the slack from busy, valued parents at work.

Selfishness is often the topic as well as the first and last word from people who believe judgment of other peoples' reproductive deficits or reproductive choices is their right.

I think having or not having offspring is a deeply personal choice. I think it's possible to make far greater mistakes and cause far greater harm by choosing to reproduce for the wrong reasons than by choosing not to reproduce for any reason whatsoever. But many people seem to believe that foregoing reproduction is horribly selfish so I've come up with a list of unselfish reasons all you childless and childfree readers out there can use next time someone gets on your case about not giving birth to dependent people who share your genes.

Here is a list of what I think are ten of the most unselfish reasons people choose to not have or adopt children.

10. They Are Infertile

This reason isn't bulletproof because even if you are infertile, you can expect to be judged for "not trying hard enough" to get pregnant or impregnate your partner. That is a horrible, horrible thing to say to an infertile person or couple, considering that many of them actually want babies. It really seems like the folks up in their business don't care how much they hurt them.

9. They Are Infertile and Can't Adopt

Once the busybodies have finally gotten it through their heads that, no, Mrs. Smith cannot donate an egg for a surrogate pregnancy because her cancerous ovaries were removed and that Mr. Smith absolutely doesn't want to impregnate someone else, they move on to adoption.

Hmmm, the funny thing is that people who aren't healthy aren't allowed to adopt by many agencies and ill health causes a lot of infertility.

But even that won't slow a lot of judgmental relatives down and you can expect a recycling of the "not trying hard enough" BS that came with the infertility.

It still takes two to make a baby and it's nice to have two to raise it, too.
It still takes two to make a baby and it's nice to have two to raise it, too. | Source

8. They Are Single

Rave as they may against single mothers in the rest of their lives, many people who have opinions about others' family and reproductive choices still bug childless and childfree singles about having a few kids. Ah, the marvelous cognitive dissonance that comes from the mouths of aging parents vehemently against single motherhood but rabidly desiring grandchildren!

However, I've found that they don't seem to understand why it should apply to the grandchild factory they want their daughter or son to be.

7. They Have Demanding Jobs

Again, the busybodies will turn this into greed of some kind, but it's worth a try. Many people choose not to breed because they could not have the jobs they do and give a child the degree of attention he or she needs and deserves.

Frankly, I believe it would be a poor decision to give up a successful career to care for a child one doesn't want for one with a lower income than one would ideally have to pay for that child's care.

Our elders need care, too.
Our elders need care, too. | Source

6. Other People Depend On Them

The world has changed. Many adults living with aging parents are caring for them. I know a number of couples who have chosen to give their parents the higher level of support and care that they can manage by not having children. Their parents loved them enough to make them their first priorities and now they are returning that care.

Yes, even this loving reason for not breeding will get criticism and it's often particularly nasty because the vicious words tend to be aimed at the elderly or ill dependent parent as if they should just die or go into a home.

5. They Have Mental Health Issues

Why, oh why, do people pressure mentally ill people to have children if those pressured to have kids think they can't handle it?!? While people with mental health issues can be great parents, they, themselves get to make that choice, just like everyone else. If they choose to not have children it harms absolutely no one and it is a loving and unselfish choice.

4. They Have a Genetic Disease

I once blew up at my dad and said, "What's so damned special about your genes that they're more important than my child's well-being?"

I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, lupus, and high-functioning autism, all of which are believed to be genetic, seeing as it looks like I got the first two from mom and the last from dad. My first ligament to spontaneously come loose of its own accord did so before I hit thirty and I was functionally disabled by chronic pain, fevers, seizures, tremors, and weakness before age forty. Why would it be desirable to pass any of that on to someone I know I will love? I wouldn't give these disorders and illnesses to someone I hate, much less to an innocent person.


3. They Have Ill Health and Feel They Can't Properly Care for Children

Many people struggling with chronic illness are lucky to be able to care for themselves and adding children to the problem would harm rather than help everyone involved.

The same people who seem to judge every non-reproducing member of our society harshly are often quick to list off the sacrifices they've made to care for their children. I don't understand how they can realize how much work goes into raising children yet they can't see not everyone has the physical ability to work full time and care for children.

Every single disabled parent I know developed their disabilities after they had children already. At least three of them have stated they would have chosen not to have children if they had known they'd later develop disabilities. They love their children dearly and that's why they feel guilty they can't provide them with the same level of care they could before.

It takes money to raise a human being to adulthood.
It takes money to raise a human being to adulthood. | Source

2. They Don't Make Enough Money

Again, sacrifices are often brought up in response to childfree and childless people who have opted not to bring new lives into poverty. The thing is, many people have no extras to give up, nothing they can sacrifice to pay for the care of those precious little humans. They cook their own meals, buy no entertainment, and still have to live paycheck to paycheck.

Even people not living paycheck to paycheck run the risk of a drop into poverty with the addition of a child. While it's perfectly OK for adults to make decisions that lead to their own poverty, I don't think it's OK to purposely choose poverty for other people before they even exist. Many people find themselves parents living in poverty without choosing to and society judges them very unfairly and harshly. Why would anyone encourage anyone to do so voluntarily?

Isn't just going ahead and planning a pregnancy when you know you can't give the resultant person a decent standard of living an extremely selfish choice? How is it a bad thing to refrain from creating a new life when already stretched to your financial limits?

They Don't Want To Have Children

1. They Don't Want To Have Children

I don't know about you, but I'm no good at changing things I don't like into things that I do. I certainly wouldn't risk the happiness and emotional development of an innocent child on it.

People who don't want children who have them to please people standing in judgment or because they think it's what they should do are doing something pretty awful; they are purposely choosing to have unwanted children. There are plenty of unwanted children on earth and many people choosing not to have children know all too intimately what being unwanted feels like to ever do it to another human being.

Preventing the conception of an unwanted child is, in my opinion, an unselfish act.

© 2015 Kylyssa Shay


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