Selfishly Child-Free. And Happy About It.

I’m really looking forward to NOT having my boyfriend’s babies. He is equally excited about this. In fact, whenever we see a child screaming, we’ve taken to looking at each other, excitedly whispering “NONE” to each other while shaking our fists like a 2-year old about to be handed a popsicle (the irony is not lost on me). Hell, we do that even when a passing child is being all well-behaved and cute. It’s not that we’d be terrible parents, or that we’re just not ready yet, or that we don’t like children.  We just really truly do not want to have children ourselves.

Growing up, I kind of always assumed that when I’d get to, oh, about the age I am now, my hormones would be all aflutter and I’d feel this emptiness in my womb that compelled me to reproduce. Hasn’t happened. I don’t think it’ll ever happen.* And I don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I feel like it might be a good thing to have fewer diapers in landfills. Less lost sleep by neighbours. Fewer restaurant meals interrupted by screaming and food-flinging. Less electricity and water usage (kids = mo’ laundry, mo’ dishes, mo’ baths). But then today, I come across this article that calls me (as part of a now-and-hopefully-forever child-free couple) selfish for not wanting to have children. And here I thought I was lessening my burden on the world by hanging a “Closed For Business” sign on my uterus.

Imagine a scenario where, on a Friday night, after running around like a beheaded chicken at work all week you get home, smooch the person you love, grab a glass of wine and enjoy the silence, the blissful quietude of being a committed and adoring couple — without kids.

For harried couples, it is a fantasy we might indulge in with our partner or spouse before our little darlings jolt us back to Planet Parent with their runny noses to wipe, hockey practices to get to and homework assignments to help with.

But for a significant number of Canadian couples the daydream is just another day in their no-strings and no-brats life.

No brats! Sounds good to me. No strings? Well, I still have bills to pay.

I have at various times considered the possibility of having children. Raising them in an extended family that I’d marry into (having a rather tiny family myself). But it was always this faraway thing that might happen in some nebulous future. Not once have I ever come even remotely close to being all like “Honey, I’m tossing my birth control pills, let’s make a baby!”

And the older I get, the more I enjoy my child-free life. My 7.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Being able to accept spontaneous invitations because I’m not scrambling to find a babysitter. The trips I get to go on because my paycheque isn’t being sunk into daycare and diapers. My body being unburdened by babyweight**. My ladybits not being stretched and contorted and torn to eject a 7 pound squirming football. (Admission: for as long as I can remember, I’ve had this absolute fear of childbirth. FEAR. If, somehow, I were to find myself with a baby inside me and needing to get out, it’s C-section all the way. Judge away, I don’t care. Don’t give me this “natural childbirth is such a beautiful thing” spiel. Don’t lecture me on non-essential surgeries. I’m not listening. And it’s my body. I’ll birth my nonexistent children however I please, thank you very much.)

People of my generation can barely afford to buy a shitty shoebox of a condo (never mind a house), and now we’re being SELFISH for not wanting to take on the financial burden of a child? (Aside: To our boomer parents, it’s your fault we can’t afford to give you grandkids***).

What will it mean, for us, as a nation? What could be lost? And what will become of those trim, fit and fat-free-yogurt loving folks when decrepitude inevitably creeps in; when they age, as we all inevitably do, and the children they chose not to have aren’t around to look after them?

Firstly, fat-free dairy sucks. Seriously. Just fucking skip the dairy if you’re going to take out the very thing that makes dairy so damn delicious. Secondly, if you’re having children so that they will take care of you as you age, then you’re even more selfish than those of us proudly child-free folks. I think I’d rather be in an old-age home being taken care of by people who get paid to be there than my children who are doing it out of guilt. And should be out making their own lives rather than taking care of mine. I suspect that the cost of my eldercare would be less than the expense of child-rearing. It’s a lot of $$ either way. I’d rather not add a heap of familial guilt on top.

I will admit the possibility that the whole article might just be satire. But then I can’t rant about it. And ranting is fun. So I’m going to assume that the piece is, as my sister puts it, ‘a shitty, misinformed, judgmental piece of “writing”‘.

So call me selfish. I can sooooooo live with that.

* Because I not a fortune-teller, and also because I am a statistican and wary of making predictions, I can’t say with 100% certainty that I will not change my mind. I’d say the odds of a change of heart are small and getting smaller all the time.

** Though I almost wish I had an excuse for the extra pounds I’ve been carrying lately. It’s all bacon and beer weight, I can’t lie.

*** I have the best mom. She has never pressured me to have babies so that she could have grandkids. Her take on it has always been on the lines of “I can’t lie, it wouldn’t suck to have some little ones to play with from time to time, but you are your own person. Have them or don’t have them. It’s your life.”

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3 comments

  1. Theo Bromine

    “I can’t lie, it wouldn’t suck to have some little ones to play with from time to time, but you are your own person. Have them or don’t have them. It’s your life.”

    YES! There is not a shortage of humans on this planet. Good for you for taking the stand, and good for your mom for supporting you.

  2. Bob Abooey

    ME! ME! ME! ME! Choosing not to have kids may seem like a good choice for you now. But when you’re in your 70’s and you’re looking at the prospect of corporate institutionalized elder care as your only option when you’re no longer able to take care of yourself, you’ll likely regret those years of child-free selfishness as your well being is now at the mercy of strangers who are more concerned with their company’s bottom line than your happiness.

    • Maria

      And what if I were to have children and they die before me? Or move away? Or decide that they don’t want/can’t take care of me? Or can’t afford to? Or they become horrid people who don’t have my best interest in mind? There is NO guarantee that any children that I would have would be around to take care of me. NONE. I would MUCH rather take the money I would spend on child rearing to build up my own equity so that I have some power to make choices when I am older.

      Sorry, having children with the expectation that they are to be your caretakers later in life is JUST as selfish as choosing not to have them in the first place.

      Besides, here in Canada, health care is not profit-driven (for the most part); one of many reasons I am highly unlikely to ever relocate. It’s not perfect, but it makes money much less of a factor in making health care choices.

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