I Hate Children
Maybe I should clarify:
I hate the culture of children.
It’s not really children, per se. Granted, I’m not fond of them being around, I don’t want one in my house or very often in my immediate presence, and I especially don’t like it if I have to watch one that can’t even talk coherently let alone understand what I’m saying, but all this is because I have no patience and no strong maternal instincts to speak of.
If I’m out in public somewhere and a child looks at me, I will smile at it. If I see a video or gif of a child doing something adorable, I might coo and share it. I don’t actively go out of my way to upset children or even discuss them with most people.
But I hate with all my being the culture that surrounds the concept of children.
There’s an overwhelming societal expectation of a beuterused person that they must not only have children (usually multiple), but that they must desperately want children, often to the exclusion of all else. It’s tied very much into the notion that everyone is supposed to get married and promptly produce offspring and put themselves neatly into heteronormative traditional gender roles so as to be a good adult and a “productive member of society.” Indeed, the mere presence of breasts and a presumed uterus is indicative that a person’s worth is whether or not they reproduce.
And it’s this idea that infests every conversation about health or future or family. It’s this concept that makes those of us who do not want children (especially biologically) have to constantly brace ourselves for potential arguments when we talk about any of these things.
It’s the reason I had to switch doctors when my first one kept insisting that “the ideal” was for me to “remain a virgin until marriage and then marry a virgin before having children.” It’s the reason people with vaginas require checkups for “reproductive health” to make sure everything is “functioning correctly for reproduction” instead of just to make sure things don’t hurt/aren’t infected/need attention. It’s the reason we see language used like “baby-making” for het sex with no stated reproductive intent, why the term “biological clock” is still exclusively used in regards to reproduction, and why there is an over-emphasis on pregnancy and reproduction language in sex (“baby goo,” “baby batter,” “gonna make a baby in you,” etc.). It’s why there’s still so much debate over who gets a say in pregnancy, why pregnancy is still terrifyingly often referred to as a punishment or as a means to control the beuterused. It’s the reason why family, friends, and even strangers feel completely within their rights to ask you about your reproductive plans, to make you justify all of your life choices to them at a moment’s notice, to question your thoughts and beliefs as if they know you better than you do yourself.
It’s the reason why the questions are so intensive when someone asks for lasting birth control. It’s the reasons why we are told over and over the rate of regret, the success stories of people who changed their minds, the horror stories of those who didn’t. It’s the reason why, when you state that you have a “phobia of pregnancy” in the hope that it will make people stop asking you without making you explain yourself or justify your feelings for the umpteenth time, the only advice you get is, “Well, that needs to be fixed before anything else.”
It’s the reason why “because I don’t want children” isn’t enough. It’s the reason why adoption is never seen as an option because “you’ll want some of your own someday.” It’s the reason why people put such value on “extending the family line” and “continuing the family name.”
It’s the reason I have to say I hate children for people to stop questioning me. It’s the reason I have to monitor my conversations with certain people because they’ll say, “Ah, see, you DO like kids!!” It’s the reason parts of my dysphoria kick in hard when I see the sort of things mentioned above. Because, unless something happens to remove or damage a uterus, it is not only expected, but demanded of you to know why you’re refusing “the most precious gift on Earth,” “your womanly duty,” “the greatest love you’ll ever know,” and so forth.
It’s the reason why “I hate children” is rolled off my tongue more and more until finally people just stop talking.
But I don’t hate children.
I hate the culture of children.
I hate the misogyny that surrounds pregnancy.
Most of all, I hate the people who perpetuate this culture, who deny someone else the right to say they don’t want to be part of it, who threaten to make them part of it.
But, you know, it’s so much easier to just say I hate children.