mysticalchild_isis: (hedwig & the angry inch)
[personal profile] mysticalchild_isis
For a very large number of reasons, I do not want children. I have never once in my life wanted children. I am very pleased that my parents chose to have me, and I adore my nieces and nephew. I did an Americorps year working as a reading teacher with second and third graders, and I loved it. I have no problem with children, I have no problem with other people having them, and I frequently enjoy their company.

But I, myself, do not want to have children. However, because I am a woman, I constantly run into people who take serious umbrage at this fact. I cannot even tell you the number of times I have been told "you'll change your mind!" (Pretty much any time the fact that I do not want children comes up, at least one person informs me that I will change my mind, from my parents to random strangers.)

For one thing, I find it really offensive that people believe that I don't know my own mind, especially now that I'm thirty. I still think it's obnoxious to tell a teen that she'll change her mind, but hey, there are a lot of things I've changed my mind about since adolescence. But I am an adult. I am an adult who has over many years very thoroughly and deeply considered all the pros and cons of procreating, and I have made an informed decision that it is not for me.

But still people tell me that I'll change my mind, that I don't know what I want, that it is the best thing I could ever do with my life, that I will regret it if I don't, that my biological clock will start ticking, that I'll meet the right person and they'll convince me, or that I'm a crazy, man-hating feminist. (Feminist, yes. Man-hating, not usually.)

I know sometimes that it is a knee-jerk reaction from someone who thinks that my choice not to have children is somehow a criticism of their choices. But it isn't, and they shouldn't take it that way. Usually, I can identify the people that are having this particular reaction, and generally, I find it less offensive. On the other hand, men who condescend to tell me that I don't know what I want/that I will be unfulfilled/that I am a man-hating feminist/etc are the ones that make me want to pull out my motorcycle boots and start kicking heads. Especially, because on the whole, men who don't want kids don't get the same sort of negative reaction.

Date: 2012-05-25 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Funny that you should choose today to post this, being as I am currently sitting on my couch recovering from having Essure sterilization done this morning. No kids here either :)

Date: 2012-05-25 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I get this all the time. People ask what I hope to do with my life, and I tell them my plans, and instead of saying "wow, that sounds awesome" or "cool" they just say, "but you can't do that with kids". So I tell them no kids for me, and they just say that I'll change my mind eventually, or that I'll meet the right person someday. It's so offensive, implying that my life choices are so obviously wrong that not only can perfect strangers tell after knowing me for 2 minutes, but that they feel comfortable condescendingly informing me that I don't know my own mind.

Date: 2012-05-25 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YES. I agree with every word of this entry.

I love working with kids for my living, but the key word is work. Among my many reasons for choosing not to spawn, I want to be able to leave kids behind and have my own life that doesn't revolve around their welfare during my non-work hours.

I hate the condescension of people who tell me I'll change my mind. They act like I'm incapable of making a decision because I'm fairly young, or they assume that because I'm a woman my biology will at some point overwrite the choices of my rational mind. NO. Sure, I don't know 100% what the future holds, but I've wanted to be childfree since my early teens, and time and more experience with kids has only strengthened that conviction.

I'm a big fan of this manifesto about being a GINK (Green Inclinations, No Kids).

Date: 2012-05-25 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is the absolute worst, isn't it? I happen to think that I live a perfectly valid lifestyle and the choice not to have children shouldn't effect how people see me, yet it does. I've been saying for years that I don't want children and I always get that same reaction from people that you described and it's exhausting to deal with. It's gotten to the point where as soon as the topic is brought up, I do my best to change the subject because it's just not something I feel I need to justify on a near constant basis.

Date: 2012-05-25 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's such an insidious assumption--heck, up until a few years ago, I always assumed I'd have kids someday. Because That's What People Do. And then one day I thought to myself, "You know, I love kids, and I hope I'll always have some in my life as students or mentees or nieces or nephews, but I don't actually want any of my own." It'd be hard if I ended up falling for somebody who wants them, but I still don't think I'd do it. Kids deserve to have both parents want them.

Date: 2012-05-26 12:44 am (UTC)
amaresu: Sapphire and Steel from the opening (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaresu
For all the issues I have with my family I will always be grateful that they just accept the fact that I'm not going to have kids. It's one less place that I don't need to explain myself.

The most annoying thing about choosing not to have kids is the way complete strangers feel qualified to talk about your life. So it's a bit nice to have non-strangers be completely okay with it.


Date: 2012-05-26 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Do I ever know how you feel! I have two step-children, it was a traumatic few years when they lived with us, and although I love them I am glad it's over. Our pets are the only kids I can honestly say I was ever enthusiastic about having. :)

I have also experienced the weird looks and comments when I say I was never interested in carrying a child. You have my sympathy.

Date: 2012-05-26 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, funnily enough my best friend once told me that by choosing to not have children I am failing in my purpose as a human being. Best part? He's gay.

Date: 2012-05-27 01:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is why I try to avoid the topic entirely, except around good friends, where I am not alone in being very happy to have no kids.

Date: 2012-05-28 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
assumptions from other people come with any decision you make. I've discovered that having three kids mean that people tend to assume that either A) i don't know how to use birth control or B) i must be one of those crazy christians who have 20 kids. and, as you know, neither of those is true.

I'm glad there are people out there who don't want kids, cause, hello, population problems? but i will admit that sometimes i resist the temptation to be all like "of course you should have kids!" because i really enjoy it so I don't understand why other people don't. it's like, i have this friend who doesn't like joss whedon. he doesn't like anything he's done, not even avengers. and he's a smart guy. i don't understand how it's possible! but i don't say "dude, you do like it you just don't get it yet." i just accept that i don't understand his opinion.

Date: 2012-05-31 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My reply is always : "I LOVE kids. And I think other people should have a lot of them." (For me to play with and take to the park and take to Disney movies and for ice cream and buy them stuffed dinosaurs and then to give back to their parents for things like vegetables, discipline, and paying for college."

Date: 2012-06-01 07:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh Darling, how I miss you.
So many people still tell me the same thing almost daily, even while they're telling me how horrible their pregnancies were. I just tell them we'll rent one some day, and I don't let on that I had myself fixed with Essure a few months into marriage. My coworkers and family would NOT be pleased if they knew. Effing painful year long recovery on that one though, good luck to your friend, but well worth the peace of mind.

Date: 2012-06-02 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Things are good, still west coasting, tons of overtime, Jeremy is nearly finished getting his PhD, so we may be somewhere back east within a year. Not sure where yet, I've got my fingers crossed for New Orleans, but we'll see.
The very first thing I did when I got to California was look up the closest doctor who performed Essure since my one back in CT was so anti-sterilization. I really thought I'd have to put up a fight and beg and plead, but this guy just said yep, when do you want to book it? After the appt I realized that it wasn't such a shocking request because I was old in baby-making years, hehe. Definitely research as much as you can, side effects and such, they say a little discomfort, but it's different for everyone.
I totally stalked you on live journal last night when I couldn't sleep, I miss Morpheus too, the moose.


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