childfree

Real quick: I work with Child Protection Services. I am also childfree. I was childfree prior to this position, but everyone connects the two. They assume that seeing all these “bad parents” is what inspired me to be childfree and it’ll be different when it’s mine. I’ve had other caseworkers also argue this. A casework supervisor told me this week that it’s only our clients who don’t put actual thought into parenting and other parents are fine.

Okay, first? I’m going to defend my clients. Many of them have serious mental health and substance abuse issues which impair their ability to care for themselves, nonetheless other living creatures. Their needs are then minimized because they are obviously bad people if they can’t set these issues aside to take care of their kids. I don’t think you know how these issues work? Not to say that people with addictions and mental health problems can’t be good parents…but it can severely hamper one’s ability, and in the case of many of my parents, that is the case. Then we have young, inexperienced, overwhelmed, abused, uneducated people who have no idea what they’re doing and need help. Then we have the people who never should have been parents but were bullied by their lover or family to become parents, and then everyone wonders why they’re struggling to care for their kids. We have a group of people set up to fail, and then when they become involved with CPS, they are held up as Bad Parents while everyone else are Good Parents.

A lot of people who pose a safety threat to their children never become involved with CPS purely due to their class level. Money, race, neighborhood, etc. play a huge part in who becomes active with CPS. You have to do something extreme to be white and middle class and end up in CPS. A black, lower class family? The teacher only needs to hear that daddy spanked you last night.

No. I have many reasons to be childfree, and that casework supervisor ironically provided several good reasons of her own. Despite her education and career and pay and everything, she is still expected to be the primary caregiver for the children. In the same breath she discusses being so happy being a mom, she is revealing how stressed and overwhelmed she is, detailing how the father doesn’t help at all and sometimes actually sabotages what she is trying to do. If she gets upset? She just needs to relax! And while she is detailing this horror story? Another coworker chimes in about how she has almost the exact situation and even if she is ill, she needs to step up and be the primary parent while the dad play the fun, goofy parent, even if it is detrimental to what the mom is trying to do.

I’ve heard multiple other workers be on the fence about having children and then be bullied by their lover and family to have children. Once they have children they repeatedly assure everyone around them that they’re happy and can’t imagine life without their kids, even when they’re clearly stressed and miserable. Many were stressed prior to having children. For some, having the child made them happy. Others? Just tipped them closer to having a nervous breakdown.

I’m not childfree because I see bad parenting through CPS. I’m childfree because I’ve seen what happens to people who are wary about having children and then feel compelled to do it. I’ve seen the sheer amount of people who either shouldn’t have had any kids or should have waited to have children have children, and I’ve seen the results. I’ve seen otherwise intelligent people put up with bullshit because of all the expectations surrounding adulthood, particularly for women. For too many people, there is no thought that goes into becoming a parent. I put thought into it, I decided I am childfree, and I’m not so simpleminded that I base my life on my fucking clients.

Things Breeders Say, Featuring Childfree Celebrities

“Being childfree is selfish. You’ll change your mind some day”

“Children are a woman’s greatest achievement in life. You’re not a real adult until you have children of your own.”.

“Having kids is the most fulfilling thing you can do with your life. Your life isn’t complete without kids.”

“You’ll never know true joy until you have kids. You’ll regret not having kids some day.”

“Your biological clock is ticking!”

“The bible says, ‘Go forth and multiply.’”

“But, you need to give your parents grandkids. You OWE your parents grandchildren.”

“I know what I’m talking about. My life was meaningless before I had kids.”

“You need to have a kid. White people aren’t having enough kids, and the wrong people (other ethnicities) are having too many kids.”

“Childfree, right... you’ll get bored eventually of doing whatever you want. Then you’ll want some meaning in your life.”

So I’ll open my home and my heart to more rescue animals. 

Or I’ll travel. I’ll learn another language. I’ll start a business or I’ll give my free time to a charity who are doing some good. 

I’ll open the adult education catalogue from the local college, throw it in the air and sign up for whatever page it lands on.

What I won’t do is treat the creation of an actual human life as some kind of pastime.

Children shouldn’t be brought into being to occupy someone else’s time. They’re not an amusement. They’re people. They’re not yours to summon into the world because you’re stumped for ideas to make your life have some meaning. 

Try volunteering before you try reproducing.

anonymous asked:

@your response about married people who don't want kids: the purpose of marriage is to create a family. I do not want to sound condescending or rude, but I urge you to please attend a church ceremony or something to that effect. I think involvement in a religious community could help you to see the true meaning of family the way Jesus wants it to be, and hopefully help to shift your views on this topic.

I’m actually thrilled to get this message, because as someone who is 2 months away from my sociology degree who has taken both sociology of the family, anthropology and history courses, I’m reaaaaaaaally the wrong person to tell this to.

The purpose of marriage historically and culturally has been changing since the concept was created; however, it often served a purpose of creating a method to distribute property or secure alliances or power. [x] As stated in this BBC article, “"You established peaceful relationships, trading relationships, mutual obligations with others by marrying them.”

Throughout history, marriage has mostly been influenced by whatever economic roles it needs to fulfill. One family scholar defines family as this:

“[The family] consists of husband, wife, and children born in their wedlock,
though other relatives may find their place close to this nuclear group; and the
group is united by moral, legal, economic, religious, and social rights and
obligations (including sexual rights and prohibitions as well as such socially
patterned feelings as love, attraction, piety, and awe). (Coser [1964] 2004:13)
But even seemingly broad definitions of the family such as this are contested
by scholars who point out that families are not always based on heterosexuality
and marriage and do not always include children, nuclear households,
romantic love, or consensual sexual relations
(Gittins 1993).”


also from the above paper:
“Empirical evidence on the origins of marriage is scant, as it evolved crossculturally at different times and has been defined in various ways. There is considerable agreement that as an institution, marriage is not as old as
families.”

also:

“Across cultures, the most universal feature of marriage has been gender division of labor between men and women.”

and:

“The property-like status of women was evident in Western societies like Rome and Greece, where wives were taken solely for the purpose of bearing legitimate children and, in most cases, were treated like dependents and 8——Families: A Social Class Perspective confined to activities such as caring for children, cooking, and keeping house (Ingoldsby 2006).”

why is this all relevant? because marriage is a social institution and constantly evolves and changes depending on what the society’s needs are. Obviously what you consider to be marriage now isn’t what it was like in ancient Greek or Roman times where marriage was used to trade women like property, or like how it was with ancient Anglo-Saxons where you married someone to create an alliance. even in good ol’ Jesus’s time, if you even /look/ at the bible, there are many parts of marriage written in it that are not there anymore. (no one’s going to stone any adulterers or not touch any women on their periods anymore.)

I highly suggest you read the “Evolution of Families and Marriages” paper, it summarizes the history of families and marriage very efficiently, and this paper as well.

All of this applies to the current world as well; not everyone abides by your church’s rules about marriage. You can look at the Nandi people of western Kenya as a great example. from this article:

“[…]women who are older (beyond child-bearing age), never married and have no children are prime candidates to become female husbands. This is because they will want an heir to inherit their name, wealth and property. A woman in this situation will find a younger woman to marry and bear her children. She will become a female husband by giving bride-wealth and observing all the other the rituals asked of a suitor by the bride’s family. The wife may have children with any man she wishes, or a man chosen by the female husband, but the legal and social ‘father’ of the children will be the female husband. The giving and receiving of bride-wealth accords the female husband the same rights over the children as any other husband (Sacks, 1982). As the social and legal father of the children, the female husband will support the children as would any other father, regardless of who the biological father may be.”

essentially, for families that have no male heir to marry off, a woman from the family will take the ‘role’ of a man and marry women. they are fully considered ‘male’ in their society.

and my favorite more modern-day example is that of Nepal, where one woman will often marry two brothers. This is to ensure the survival of the family if one of the husbands dies off, and also avoids the splitting up to property as there is not much farmland to go around.

this isn’t even CONSIDERING that if you want to focus on marriage as an institution in the U.S right now, there are legal privileges that come with being married such as tax benefits of having visiting rights if your spouse is in the hospital. 

so, anon. the point of this all was that yes, you sound condescending as fuck, and no, I’m not going to put up with it because you’re wrong in every sense of the way. I *have* been to church ceremonies, I was raised Roman Catholic, but I have been lucky enough to have been able to access an education that has expanded my worldview. 

The history of marriage has always been changing, and to say that your religion’s rather recent rules and regulations about what they believe marriage *should* be doesn’t make it correct. I urge you to look outside your poor little bubble of misinformation and actually read some of the articles I linked, and think twice before sending asinine messages like this again.

  • people with kids:oh MAN being a parent is so STRESSFUL I can't WAIT to get away from the kids all the SCREAMING and TANTRUMS
  • me:I don't want children
  • people with kids:no parenthood is a joyous thing you won't know real love until you have them
“How can you KNOW you don’t want children if you don’t even HAVE any?”

I don’t want a pet snake.

If I told you this, and you then insisted I can’t possibly know I don’t want a pet snake until I have a pet snake, I’d be quite within my rights to inwardly decide you’re a monumental knob-head and downgrade our acquaintance from ‘casual’ to ‘frosty’.

But somehow because it’s a human life that will cost me $300,000 over eighteen years, and involve astronomical levels of responsibility, self-sacrifice and patience, you’re allowed to tell me I need one before I can possibly dare to register an opinion about whether I want one.

I’ll further point out that if I went ahead and got me a pet snake, upon your insistence that I need to have a snake before I can know anything about it, and it turned out (surprise, surprise!) that I don’t like the snake I knew I didn’t want… I’m pretty sure the pet shop would take the confused snake back off my hands.

You can’t return your brand new child to the maternity unit and say, “Someone told me I had to get one before I’d know if I want it. I don’t want it. Can I switch this for a puppy now please?”

“Accidents Happen!”

So I’m getting married in less than 2 months, and apparently this means it’s time for me to get bombarded with the “Are you guys going to have kids??” question.

This is all well and good, most people get married and eventually have children in some capacity, through biological means or adoption or whatever. This is pretty natural. The human urge to reproduce is strong, otherwise most of us wouldn’t be here. Cool. Fine. OK.

Here’s the thing: I don’t want kids. I have a pretty general dislike of children. The idea of getting pregnant makes me want to throw up everywhere and the idea of raising a child sounds like absolute HELL to me. I have 0% desire to reproduce and this feeling has been with me ever since I was a child myself. There is so much bullshit going into modern parenting, especially with the invention and widespread use of social media; and I’m 100% sure that parenthood is just not for me.

So, when I’m asked about starting a family, I simply reply, “No children for us. We’re not interested in that.” I feel that this is a pretty simple reply and it should shut down that conversation.

I don’t bother justifying my decision or feelings upfront anymore. I’m not interested in having kids. My fiancé is not interested in having kids. We’re not having children. 

Except, most people are not able to accept this answer as a one-off… and they feel the burning need to pursue WHY I don’t want kids. So, they start pestering me for an explanation. I usually start to get irritated, because inevitably, my least favorite bomb gets dropped:

WATCH, YOU’LL JUST GET PREGNANT RIGHT AFTER THE WEDDING!
or
WELL ACCIDENTS HAPPEN! TEEHEE!

First of all… fuck that. Stop that shit RIGHT FUCKING NOW. It feels like I’m being cursed/jinxed when people spout this bullshit at me. I do not want children. I do not want to be pregnant. I am taking severe caution to ensure that I won’t get pregnant; and my fiancé is seeking a vasectomy in the near future so we can doubly ensure that this bullshit won’t happen. So inevitably, if I get pregnant, guess what will happen?

I will march myself down to Planned Parenthood for an abortion referral so fast their heads will spin – and yes, I have legitimately told people that I will seek out an abortion if I ever get knocked up.

Of course, then I get looked at like I’m a horrific subhuman monster.

Why are people so fucking nosy? 

/endrant

PS – don’t even get me started on how my fiancé rarely gets asked this question; and when he does, no one pesters him about it.

when people shame women who don't want children it makes me so fucking mad

I have been told since I was a child, A CHILD, that I was going to be a mother because it is just expected of me because I am a female. And I’ve never in my life wanted children. I got so tired of hearing “your mind will change when you’re older and more mature and woman-like ” as if it’s a right of passage to womanhood to have a child and you are otherwise not a woman. Young girls are taught more of woman=mother than boys are ever taught that man=father. Even in play girls are taught to play with baby dolls and play house and to play nice and gentle and be nurturing while boys roughhouse and learn sports. They are raising young girls with the idea that children are always a part of the female experience.

Being someone who does not want children myself I have been called a child hater and told that I am less caring and loving than other women, almost as if I am heartless for not wanting to reproduce. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I was 14 when my mom started pressuring me to start thinking about kids in my future. Only 14! And that very next year I found out I was infertile and had no chance of reproduction anyways. I was supposed to be distraught and sad but I was honestly RELIEVED to finally have a way out of the social pressure put on me because it was that bad. I was immediately told about options of surrogacy and adoption. A doctor sat down with a 15 year girl and discussed options for expensive surgeries and expensive surrogacy and the extensive requirements to make me most eligible to adopt. It was shoved down my throat even though I was 15 and uncomfortable and told the doctor that I did not want children.

And yet I still face demonisation for not wanting kids. To this very day. I can’t have kids and don’t want them and unless I REALLY REALLY want kids why would I go through all it would requires for me to be a parent?

I’ve been shamed for my infertility itself!!!! “It’s unnatural” and I am apparently less female and womanly because I cannot reproduce. But women are so much more than reproduction. I’ve been told that something is wrong with me and I am not a woman because I don’t feel the need to reproduce and this is just plain wrong and so many girls are taught this and it is so stressful for them and not healthy. We need to start seeing reproduction as an OPTION not a requirement

On being childfree and why it shouldn’t be seen as unusual

I recently committed to being childfree for life, and what still bothers me is how this decision is perceived and how family members respond when I tell them I’m “never having kids”.

Not having kids is a deviation from the expected normal script for how to live a life, the significant events we naturally expect of someone. This life script of our culture is so reinforced and ubiquitous it’s impossible to escape; it is everywhere.

Leave school…

Get job….

Get married…

Have kids.

Many feel pressured to fill that script because our culture fails to provide realistic and normalised representation of any alternative life paths. Bringing a new human into the world is seen as a default expectation of maturing. The birth of a child or the announcement of a pregnancy is of course (most of the time) a happy event, and while it is of course seen as an extremely significant life step, it’s also seen as part of the script; it is something that people simply just do

The implications of this are something I think deserve serious consideration.

Children constitute a massive life decision that is pushed on young people (especially women) far too strongly. It’s a huge responsibility. Having a child means 18 or more years of your life will be spent caring for someone who you are legally responsible for the wellbeing and behaviour of at all times. It means your life’s ambitions will become secondary, and often forgotten altogether, in favour of simply providing your child’s needs and being with them (almost round the clock for the first five years or more) to give them responsible guidance. It entails a huge shift in how much leisure time you will have, will most likely cause massive financial stress, and any life paths outside of parenthood will become off limits to you, permanently and irreversibly.

This is a responsibility very few people are prepared to take on, and I wish that our culture instilled in young people more realistic expectations. “You do not have to have kids if you don’t want to” is a good message, but I feel we also need to be telling people “Don’t decide to have kids without giving serious consideration as to what your plans and goals are in life.”

you don’t owe your parents anything. zero. zilch.

having a child is not a unique experience that warrants special treatment; almost anyone can do it, people have been doing it since the beginning of civilization. 

your parents are the ones who chose to have/keep a child. they knew what the responsibilities were. providing you with food, shelter, clothing, affection, and care are their duties and moral/legal obligations as parents, not a favor they’ve done for you. 

you especially don’t owe your parents a fucking thing if they’ve been physically, emotionally, or verbally abusive to you. you don’t owe them anything that any other person would have to earn from you–not love and certainly not respect. they don’t get to treat you like shit and disrespect you your whole life, and then demand that you respect them. respect is a two-way street, my friends.

you do not owe your parents grandchildren. you are your own person with your own life and autonomy, and you know what’s best for you. you are not here so that your parents can have grandchildren. if you don’t want children, do not let your parents pressure you into having them, because chances are you’re going to end up resenting them. no child deserves to be resented by their parents.

you are well within your rights to cut your parents out of your life at the soonest possible moment. don’t let anyone make you feel bad for packing up and never looking back as soon as you’re done with school, as soon as you’re financially stable and have a job, as soon as you have any chance to get out. 

you do not owe your parents anything in return for them fulfilling or failing to fulfill their responsibilities as parents.

Urge to be a mother decreases with higher IQ - Telegraph

A study has found that the maternal urge of women decreases with every 15 extra IQ points.
Research by Dr Nattavudh Powdthavee, a social scientist of the University of York, argued that the idea that the key to happiness is having children was an “illusion” and said there was almost no association between children and contentment.

“Just wait. At 46 you’ll be queuing up outside the adoption clinic, with all the other desperate 'childfree’ women.”

What queue? Adoption agencies in this country are crying out for prospective parents. Meanwhile you lot keep machine-gunning out the tiny humans, smiling dewily at other parents and saying, “We thought about adoption, but really we wanted our own child.”

Here’s a question. Why isn’t this prediction ever made at people who are men? 

Maybe because when men assert something, people believe that they’ve thought the matter through, and made their minds up, and that to challenge their convictions would be hideously rude and pointless. He doesn’t want kids, and who else gets a say in that? Nobody.

Meanwhile, women’s brains - and their choices - belong to everybody but them.

Why do some people delight in the idea that a childfree woman will be ‘proven wrong’ someday? Why do they not only enjoy that idea, but also see it as a personal triumph - something to do with them?

Maybe we still don’t like when a woman asserts something - even about herself. Someone called ‘she’ is still not allowed to make bold statements starting with “I want” or “I feel” or “I believe” - unless they end with, “… what I’m told.”

I was informed once that, beyond any doubt, I’d be in my forties at the fertility clinic someday, “spending all that ‘career-woman’ money you’ve got on a baby”.

Things like that can shake you a bit. “What if?” you might think. “What if regret? What if people know something I don’t?”

But before you worry. Before you question yourself, question the questioner.

Why would he hope we’ll be doing that? Why does that image make him happy? Let’s be honest. He’s not speaking out of concern for your best interests here, worrying for your well-being. He might claim he is, but bollocks. He’s saying it because it makes him feel better about some discomfort he’s experiencing.

What’s frightening him?

Maybe he thinks we shouldn’t assert things, when women should really be listening and agreeing with him.

Maybe he feels threatened by women who know their own minds, in case they figure out the truth about him - that he feels so very small.

Maybe he needs to believe that all women are the same, an alien species, so it’s not his fault that he can’t feel close to them. 

Maybe it’s because he thinks I’ve no right having ‘career-woman money’ - money of my own, independent of him, not an accessory to man, reliant on his goodwill and mastery, but a thinking, choosing, assertion-making person.

So, in conclusion, the best response to this one is: “Sexist bullshit!”

Or a simple, “Wow…” And walk away.

Because anyone who comes out with something like that isn’t worth a speck of your valuable time.