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Childfree

I just posted this as a comment, but I figured I might as well post it here too. I know that childfreeness mystifies a lot of people, but it seems to be the way I'm made, and believe me, the idea of *wanting* children is as alien to me as the idea of not wanting them is to a lot of people.

I'm childfree for tons of reasons. First and foremost, I can't imagine being pregnant, I can't imagine having a child. In general, I don't like children, because they're loud and inconsiderate and annoying, and because people let them get away with it because they're children. (OTOH, I do tend to get on well with children, and I love my friends' kids...for a few hours at a time, anyway. And I like hearing stories about people's kids, as long as it's not all they talk about, and seeing pictures of them, and stuff.)

Psychologically, the feeling of being limited or tied down in any way* is uncomfortable, and sometimes gives me anxiety attacks. To me, having a child would mean my life would never, ever be my own again - for at least 18/20 years, and possibly much more. I would never be able to put my own needs, or even wants, first again. That scares the shit out of me!

My lifestyle isn't suited to kids, and I *like* my lifestyle. I want to be able to go off for a weekend at short notice, or stay up till 4am three nights in a row smoking dope and reading. I like having spare money to buy books and shiny things. Oh, and I don't cope well on not much sleep.

Apart from all that, I think I'd be a terrible mother. I'd resent the child for curtailing my freedoms. Hearing a child crying doesn't make me want to help it - most of the time, it makes me want to make it shut up by any means possible. I could see myself ending up in prison for having bounced it off the walls or something.

Essentially, I want to be able to focus my time and strength on MY life, not someone else. If that makes me selfish, well, at least I know it. Better that than to have a kid and then find out!

* Except that way ;o)

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Comments

( 24 comments — Comment )
nextian_cutie
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:26 am (UTC)
Hey, some people just are not made to be parents, plain and simple. And it can be for a variety of reasons. As someone who loves kids and wants them (but is having difficulty achieving that goal), I'd rather someone who is able to bear children NOT do it if it means that the child would be unhappy, neglected, resented, abused or whatever. The fact that you know what you want and take precautions against such things happening, I applaud you.

What kills me are the poor women on welfare who have 6 kids by 9 different daddies because they're not sure who the father is, who just keep popping them out and not taking care of them properly. Those kids grow up to be in gangs, perpetrate crimes, etc. I believe help should be given to the less fortunate, but some sort of incentive not to have more children in those circumstances should be put in place! It's not like they're not being educated on how to avoid pregnancy. They're just more motivated by the check at the beginning of the month and laziness.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now, but I just wanted to let you know that I think the stance you've taken is great if it's right for YOU and any possible children you would have. Who knows, you may change your mind down the road if your circumstances change, but by all means, always do what is right for YOU!
pickwick
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
Thanks :o) and I hope things work out for you!

I feel the same as you about the welfare kids - I don't think it's fair on the kids or on society as a whole. I know that some people think that having as many children as you want is a basic human right, but I feel that the child has a right to have parents who love it and can provide for it!
miss_next
Sep. 29th, 2005 06:20 am (UTC)
*nodnodnod* I frequently have to cope with neglected welfare kids at first hand, and it's no fun at all... so I concur with that.
caitirin
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:48 am (UTC)
I agree very much. I feel the same way. elaby and I are not the child raising type. First off, I'd never be able to AFFORD kids. I'm too broke as it is now! And I don't want that kind of responsibility.

But I do love babies :) I like to cuddle them and play with them, and I don't even mind diapers and things. But there's no way in HELL I want one of my own. I want my friends to have them so I can play with them and possibly babysit on ocassion.

Or I want nieces and nephews to spoil.
pickwick
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:55 am (UTC)
Heh - I like babies when they're gurgling and smiling and waving their arms about and being cute, but I don't think I'd like them at 4am when they're still crying... Essentially, I love 'em as long as they're being good and I can give them back if they stop being fun!
caitirin
Sep. 29th, 2005 01:00 am (UTC)
Exactly :) No crying at 4AM for me x.x
sloopjonb
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear. Also, I didn't get married until 43, and I think that's too old to be starting a family. Plus, I had a bad time with ny Dad, he had a bad time with his, why carry it on? (Although the brother is a wonderful father ... but then he never had a bad time with Dad. Hmmm).
nayela
Sep. 29th, 2005 01:52 am (UTC)
I teach remedial English/German to middle school kids.

So of course I DON'T want any of my own! :p

Basically, I agree with every word of your entry.
bohemiancoast
Sep. 29th, 2005 07:23 am (UTC)
Well, you know, suit yourself. But I do think it's a bit sad that so many people who'd obviously be competent parents are ruling themselves out of the game. And I think people in some ways overestimate the lifestyle impact of having kids (*not* babies, I should stress; people *underestimate* the impact of having babies around, but then they sort of assume that it's that much involvement for 20 years -- in fact, kids grow up and become quite self-sufficient quite quickly) and underestimate how much fun kids can be.

Also, we seem to have got ourselves into a position where society thinks parents ought to be perfect virtuous paragons who put their kids' development above all else in their lives. Don't get me started on how wrong this is; for the kids, for the poor parents, for the other people in society who have to put up with kids who believe their needs are always paramount. Much better to have the view that everyone sort of has to muddle along together and sometimes that means doing things that the grownups like.

Finally, I think life is long; I know people who happily chose a childfree life who are beginning to think 'hmm, books, parties, restaurants, nice weekends away, sort of done that now, remind me what the point is again?'
pickwick
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
Heh, that all sounds very sensible! Muddling along is basically what life's about...

I am aware that people change their minds, and I'd never rule it out completely, but...I can't see it, to be honest!
kaiserdad
Sep. 29th, 2005 07:43 am (UTC)
what's the world coming to? how can you not want babies, that's what women were designed for, an animated incubator, mobile milk bar, it's no wonder men are becoming insecure, having to cook their own breakfast and iron their own underpants because their women would rather drive a HGV than do their maternal duty. Thank goodness (most of)you can't grow beards!
pickwick
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:50 pm (UTC)
:-p
poliphilo
Sep. 29th, 2005 09:18 am (UTC)
I've never seen why wanting to be childless should be considered selfish.

It's a career choice- like going into politics or moving abroad or taking up tennis.

And it frees a person for other things.



pooka_joe
Sep. 29th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
i am completely with you on this one. its not that i dislke kids, i just like them to be somewhere else :)
dave_t_lurker
Sep. 29th, 2005 09:48 am (UTC)
I have no intention of having any kids, in fact I'd probably get the snip if I got into a serious long-term relationship. I've no real intention of getting married either.

I really don't get on with kids at all excpet the odd one or two that is basically a short adult.

I suspect I'd probably be fine as the mad scientist uncle type, as long as I don't actually have to do babysitting or the like.
ciciaye
Sep. 29th, 2005 10:58 am (UTC)
I'm childfree too, and hope to remain that way.
It's not that I've got anything against children themselves - some of them are lovely, some of them are awful, just like adults. It's just that I have no desire to have then myself.
My lifestyle isn't suited to kids either, in lots of ways. And really, I don't think I'd be a particularly good mother either - I like time to myself, to do things I want to do. If I had a partner, I would very much appreciate having time alone with him, to enjoy being together.
A child is a responsibility for - in most cases - the rest of your life. You can't decide 'I don't like being a parent' and opt out of it. I don't think it's a responsibility I'd be up to, quite frankly.
As you say, it's much better to know you don't want children, rather than go ahead and have them, *then* find out.

I have a lot of admiration for people who *can* be good parents, though.
CCA
pickwick
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, I have HUGE respect for people who are good parents, partially because I know how hard I'd find it!
surliminal
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:19 pm (UTC)
You're 27. It would be surprising if you didn't feel that way. It would be equally surprising if at some point in the future you don't feel so sure.
pickwick
Sep. 29th, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC)
Maybe. But I've felt strongly this way for at least 13 years now. I'm aware of the possibility of a biological clock kicking in, but I hope I'd weigh up the pros and cons and look at my life and decide sensibly, rather than just going "Oooh wanna baybee now".
magda_vogelsang
Sep. 29th, 2005 01:18 pm (UTC)
FWIW, I'm 38, many of my friends now have young children, and I still have no desire to have children of my own. I'm not a naturally nurturing person (my brother played with dolls more than I did) and know that I tend to be naturally self centered and enjoy time alone. If I somehow ended up responsible for a kid, I'd do my best, but it's not something I'd seek out, or that I think would come naturally to me.
pickwick
Sep. 29th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
Have people stopped telling you that you're still young and you'll change your mind yet?

(It's good to know that some people don't change their minds!)
magda_vogelsang
Sep. 29th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
They haven't told me that for a while, but then I haven't dated much recently, so it hasn't really been an issue.

I have a friend about my age in California who has been living with the same guy for over a decade (just got legally married a couple years ago to make their folks happy, but they were committed to each other long before that). They don't want kids, and have gotten that kind of flack a lot. She thinks he was actually more worried about her changing her mind than vice versa (since that's apparently more common) but neither of them have.

In the vaguely relevant quote category:

'Some men just aren't cut out for paternity. Better they should realize it before and not after they become responsible for a son.'
--Lois McMaster Bujold, Ethan of Athos, 1986
surliminal
Sep. 29th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you might. But what I'm saying is that what you feel isn't very unsualy for your age as opposed to necessarily being hardwired. I didn't feel interested in having children till I was in my mid 30s and then I didn't lose my mind at the joy of nappies.I think it's abit patronising to assume that everyone who wants children does so from irrational urge while everyone who doesn't is making a sensible reasoned choice.

(And BTW I don't have children.)
pickwick
Sep. 29th, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC)
I don't assume that - I know some wonderful parents who have made that sensible, reasoned choice. What I do say is that people who don't want kids are *more likely* to have actually thought about the issue. A lot of people, especially men, if you ask them if they want kids they'll say, "Yeah...sometime", but they haven't ever actually thought about what it'd mean to have a child.

We're societally conditioned from a young age that the norm is to grow up, get married, reproduce. Maybe that's not actually true these days, but it still feels like it - not so much in my social circles, but in the wider world.
( 24 comments — Comment )

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