Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Guest Blogger: Childfree- The Life For Me

My sister is happily married; happier than most couples I know, if I can be completely honest. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 11 years now, and they have no desire for children. She told me once that if kids came out looking like puppies- she would have a whole litter. I don't doubt it!

I appreciate the fact that this couple KNOWS exactly what they want. I never stopped to think about the stuff she gets told about having a family. Just like infertiles don't want to hear "Relax, it will happen", people who truly have no desire for kids don't want to hear "Oh, you will change your mind". 

I want to thank my sister for being so open and willing to post her view on my blog. And I also want to thank everyone in advance for the kind comments that will be left for her.

Childfree- The Life For Me 
by: Princess Peach

 I am almost 30 years old, have been happily married for over 11 years and have absolutely no desire to have children. None. Zilch. Nada.

I didn’t always feel that that way. I grew up thinking I would have four kids (when you grow up having nine siblings, four seemed like a small family). I always wanted to be a young mom, so I could be the “cool” Mom. I got married young, at the age of 18, and all of that desire to have a child, went away. I honestly think that most people grow up thinking that the way of life, is to get married and then… have kids. I didn’t know anyone growing up that was childless, by choice. 

When I really stopped to think about it, I realized there was nothing wrong with being unconventional and not having children of my own. I think if more people stopped to think about what they really wanted and didn’t rush into having babies, then more people would be childless, like me. 

I like being married and having it be just the two of us. We have fun together and it is stress free. There is no fighting over who is going to watch the kids. Who is going to clean up after them and frankly, we have a lot more money in the bank then we would if we had children. I like having my alone time and quite time. I cringe at the sound of children crying or toddlers whining. The constant running and moving and tugging- it’s just not for me. I would much rather have a house full of dogs and cats. Meowing and barking don’t bother me.  

I know that last paragraph probably made it sound like I hate kids, which I don’t. I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I love each and every one. Do I want to baby sit them all the time? No. However, it feels great to get a nice, soft hug from my youngest nephew and the handmade card that my 6 year niece made me, when my dog died, is one of my most cherished possessions. I do love them… but I may only like them when they are on their best behavior. ;)

Over the last couple of years, I have read many, many lists of what not to say to someone with infertility. If you are wondering why I follow the infertility world, it’s because my sister struggles with it, which is unfortunately why she is currently living childfree. Yes, while my sister does everything to try and have a baby… I am doing everything to make sure I don’t! Back to my point- I thought this would be a great time to make a list of my own. So here it goes…

                                       “What NOT to say to someone who doesn’t want children”

1- “You will change your mind.” People would be offended if I told them that
they would change their mind about wanting kids. Just because you want
them, doesn’t mean that I do.

2- “There will be no one to take care of you, when you are old.” Listen up
people! I have worked in a nursing home before and majority of those long
term residents rarely had their children visit them.
3- “You are selfish.” Why? Because I am not stimulating the economy by
creating more taxpayers? Sometimes the reasons that people have children
are more selfish than the reasons why people don’t. People have kids for
tax write offs, to save marriages, to fill a void in their own life.

4- “You have no compassion.” No, I don’t ooh and aww over babies. That
does not make me a bad person. I ooh and aww over puppies! I volunteer
walking dogs at the shelter. I also give money to the homeless guy on the
street, help out people who look like they are need and make sure to spend
that extra time talking to the kids at school, who look like they don’t have
many friends.

5- “Your life will not be fulfilled.” Obviously my life is so incredibly fulfilling
right now, that I don’t need or want a baby to make it better.

6- “Dogs are not kids.” Bulls***. Until you have experienced the bond that I
had with my dog, then don’t even try to imagine what it felt like when I lost
him. He was my baby. I loved him, worried about him, hated leaving him
when I went on vacation and was devastated when he died. It’s been 9
months since I said goodbye and I still cry when I think about him.

7- “Why don’t you want kids?” I don’t think it is fair for you to ask me to
justify my own personal feelings. Do you really want me to tell you that I
don’t like crying babies? I think this is a better question to ask someone
who wants to start a family, because it is a bigger choice to bring a child
into this world, than to not. Why do you want kids?


I understand that I am the minority when it comes to my choice. That’s ok. I am not looking for anyone’s approval or acceptance. I am just asking that you do not judge my character, based on the fact that I choose to live childfree. I don’t judge women for their desire to want to be a mother. I do, however, judge you if you bring a child into this world that you cannot afford, or into an unstable household, full of hate. That my friends, is selfish. 

Photo added by me
 
Again- added by me for flair!

25 comments:

  1. First of all, wow I loved this blog post today! I would like to say thank you for being so honest and open with your choices. I think so many people have a hard time trying to know what to say or try to understand others who are not going through what they are. It is so nice and refreshing to see other perspectives on living with our without children. I also truly agree about pets being like children. I love our animals so much and they are part of my family.

    Thank you again!

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  2. I absolutely love this post. Not because I feel the same, I do not but I respect the hell out of you. I am TTC with PCOS, and not much luck. I love this post because of your honesty and courage to tell the world what you truly want. Honey, have a wonderful life with your husband and do all of the things you two want to do. Peace to you and thank you for sharing.

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  3. Awesome post! I love this for a hundred reasons, but I only have space for a couple...haha.

    I am childfree by infertility (hopefully temporary) but to most people, we simply do not have children...and so they assume we don't want them. I have told very few people that we are struggling with infertility, so most of my family and friends misunderstand our lack of babies to not wanting them. I have been/am on both sides of this. I know how frustrating it is to hear the comments "Just relax, it'll happen" or "It will happen when it's meant to happen" and I also know how frustrating it is to hear "You'll change your mind" or "Oh, how selfish".

    I think the moral of all this is to *think* before you speak, and that - contrary to social media and news - someone's reproductive situation/goals are not always everyone's business. It continues to baffle me at how easily people feel the right to pry into someone's intimate life.

    Your sister sounds like she knows exactly what she wants, and kudos to her. It's not always an easy path to go against the crowd but, rather than doing something just because she should, it sounds like she went with what's right for her. If more of us did that, just imagine how much more content the world would be!

    As a side note, it's also nice to see this perspective because - sadly - not all of us battling infertility will come out successful. It makes it easier to realize that the alternative to having children, isn't necessarily "Lonely, depressing and selfish" like some inconsiderate comments make it out to be.

    Great post!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your sister's story! I feel the same way about my dog! I can't stand being away from him... he really is like my child! :)

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  5. I am sorry that people say inappropriate things to you when you let them know you don't want children. My wife is pretty ok with not having children and I wish wish wish I didn't want so badly to raise a child. My life otherwise is pretty freaking fantastic and there are days I wish I could pluck that desire from my heart and get on with enjoying all the world has to offer. I am delighted that you content with your life as it is.

    PS I also adore animals and know that they can be just as much a part of one's heart and family as a child. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  6. I hate when people say you're being selfish for whatever goes against their personal beliefs. I think that by knowing what you want and being honest with yourself, you're being selfless. You're recognizing that having children doesn't fit into the lifestyle that you and your husband want and you don't feel the need to bring a child into a home that wouldn't mesh well (I hope that came off right...) I have so much respect for couples that realize that they want to live child free. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  7. I loved it that you shared, and that Teresa is opening this forum up to some different perspectives. I've always felt that people who don't want kids, shouldn't have them. While it's not the personal choice I wanted, and I can't imagine not having my kids, there's nothing wrong with living childfree.

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  8. Love this! Parenting is really tough, and I admire people who recognize this, and understand when it is not something they want to do. It takes courage to go against what society says is 'normal' and stand up to all the negativity around choosing to live child free.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this! I totally agree with you on #6! Those ppl must clearly not have amazing pets!! ;)

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  10. Great post! Thanks to your sister for sharing. I think it's commendable to share this perspective. Most people can't look deep enough inside themselves to really *think* about whether they want kids or not- they just do it because we're supposed to. Your life is what you make it and it's different for everyone. Bravo!

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  11. This is an amazing post. I absolutely loved reading it! I sincerely wish I had a sister or a friend who is child-free by choice. I just think it's such a refreshing perspective, especially since here in the good ol' Bible belt I seem to be surrounded by people who are almost militantly pro-children. I remember going to a baby dedication for one of my nephews at my SIL and BIL's Baptist church, and the pastor talked about how women who devote their lives to their children are doing "God's will" and how our society has become corrupted by women who put their focus elsewhere. Needless to say, I was seething and ready to smack that guy in the face by the end of the sermon.

    But anyhow, I think it's so nice to hear from people such as yourself who dare to be different and refuse to follow the herd. When you said this-- "I think if more people stopped to think about what they really wanted and didn’t rush into having babies, then more people would be childless, like me"-- I felt like standing up and cheering for you. I absolutely couldn't agree with you more. As someone dealing with infertility/loss, I long for a child more than anything else; however, my husband and I felt it was very important not to rush into having babies.

    Now, having been married for over 7 years, we're frequently ostracized for our childless state. Most of our friends and family don't know about our struggle with infertility so they incorrectly assume we are childless by choice, and let me tell you we get PLENTY of criticism for it. We hear lots of snide remarks about how nice it must be to travel like we do, etc. with the tacit implication being that we're somehow selfish for spending our money on trips to Paris instead of on diapers and burp cloths. We've also been dismissed as DINKS (Double Income No Kids) and are constantly told things like "You'll never understand what true love feels like until you hold your own baby." Um, so I guess all the incredibly fulfilling and deep relationships I have in my life are not expressions of "true" love? It's incredibly frustrating.

    Anyway, didn't mean to make this comment so long! As you can see, your post really resonated with me, so thanks again for sharing! Oh, and I am also an animal lover :)

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  12. Wow! Thank you for all the wonderful, supportive comments. It seems that my post is coming across exactly how I wanted it to. Annie- I especially liked your reply. :)

    I have often offended my sister (without meaning to) by trying to make her see, that you can be happy living a child-free life. Not because I want to persuade her to be childless, but because if for some reason, it doesn't work out (which I really do believe it will) I want her to realize that there is happiness in this kind of life too!

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  13. I think this is an amazing post. I think it's very brave putting this on an infertility blog to a world of infertiles, but it has really made me think. It is really interesting and great to get another perspective. We infertiles live in our own worlds sometimes and I never thought for once that you get similar awkward comments from people. Good on you!

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  14. Thanks for this post...its a nice reminder that there really are benefits to not having kids. I really identify with #6 on your list. I lost my dog last summer and it literally was the worst thing that ever happened to me. He was my true love, my soul mate...my husband was cool with it. I still mourn him every single fucking day. I blew ALL our savings trying to save his life and watching him deteriorate and then having to put him to sleep was horrifically heart breaking. I cried so much I had to ice my eyes because they were so puffy and swollen. So sorry you lost your furbaby too. I wish they lived forever!

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  15. Firstly, Teresa Thanks for posting these great guest posts that represent so many different prespectives. We have a set of good friends who are in the childfree camp, recently they went out with us and basically said something to the effect of "We hope things work out they way you want, but if they don't, life is pretty great on this side of the fence" I know such a comment would draw resentment from many infertiles, but I really appreaciated someone reminding me of this fact rather than just repeating "it will happen". Thanks also for raising concerns for the insensitive treatment that child-free couples and singles endure. Love your pics too!

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  16. After reason these comments, I must say that I feel pretty lucky for the people I have in my life. We've been married 16 years w/o kids, not by choice, but we've never had people criticize us for not having kids. That's just crazy! We did spend many years of people asking us when we were going to have kids, etc. but we never felt criticized by any means. Thank you for sharing your point of view. I think it is eye opening to so many to just think before you speak, no matter what the situation is! I do not understand how choosing to be child free could be deemed selfish at all. What is selfish about it? And to who for crying out loud! If you don't want children, it is most definitely not selfish to those kids you don't have. Good for you for recognizing what you want and enjoying what you have. Again, thanks for sharing.

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  17. I definitely agree that there are long and short term advantages to not having kids. Simply put, it's not for everyone. Besides, although we've struggled for 7 years with our infertility, we've also enjoyed developing our relationship. Without kids being the glue, we know and trust each other intimately and our relationship will last a lifetime whether we do or don't have kids. I know a ton of people who stayed together (miserably I might add) for the kids. Part of it was usually that they had kids very early in their relationship and never really got to learn enough about themselves or each other. Your relationship is real and solid and the only "glue" in it is you and him. Good for you being happy and wanting something for yourself. There is certainly nothing wrong with that.

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  18. I agree with Jane, I love seeing these guest posts from different perspectives we don't always see in this IF blogging world. This was a great post!

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  19. This is a great post! I know a few couples who are in their 40s and 50s now with no children by choice. Happy as clams and don't regret their decision at all. #6.....Amen. And I'm so sorry--it is so tough to lose a beloved pet.

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  20. My best friend is also choosing to live child free and I have seen her be judged in many of the same ways. Thank you for sharing this perspective.

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  21. L O V E D all these comments! Thank you all, once again, for being so supportive!
    Princess Peach- I hope you loved the response as much as I did!

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  22. I am childless not by choice and as several of you pointed out above, my dh & I also hear many of those same questions & comments from unthinking parents. :p

    My sister is also childfree by choice, & I have many friends who are too. I've always admired & respected them for knowing exactly what they wanted out of life and sticking to their guns in the face of enormous societal pressure. I also think they have a lot to teach & remind us about the positive aspects of life without children.

    I know childfree by choice people sometimes chafe at being lumped in with those of us who didn't freely choose this life -- but I think we need to work together to remind people that (a) there are many reasons why people might not have children, (b) it's actually nobody's business why anyway ; ) & (c) our life may be different from yours in some ways, maybe, but it's not so different in others -- and it's still a good life, even if it's not the life we had originally planned for ourselves.

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  23. I loved reading all of the supportive comments! I totally understand why people blog! :)

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    Replies
    1. You had a great response! Thanks again, sis!

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  24. I loved this post *****
    I am 25, I have been married for 3 years and I'm childfree by choice, and I really respect and proud of my choice,
    I'm from Kuwait, we are a classic +contradictory society!
    People in my society believes marriage had one purpose >> (having kids) otherwise you are freak! As me :-P
    To be normal girl you MUST be pregnant through the first 6months!! maximum 1 year, or get ready for questioning!! Yes this is so rude, but they do it as a part of social relationship! with all the trash of ' you will change your mind/ you don't know the real happiness/...ect'
    I agreed that if people stop and think what do they really want..they will choose to be childfree.
    Most of girls in my country having babies because they r "melted into the traditions" they just 'showing up' although they do not take care after their babies! The maid do it all
    They travel and left them, go out, sleep, ..
    It's normal to find a 23yrs old girl with 2 baby!! do you think she's ready at this age, in this century to become a MOTHER?!
    I know if I continue I will talk Alot :-P
    After all..I'm so glad to find a pure human who make a decision, to live his own life to be himself in this crazy world :-*
    Thank you.
    Sarah.

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