Since I wrote my last post, I had an additional thought about why parents react so strongly against our declarations of childfreedom and wanted to add this addendum to my previously-posted Theory:
Prong 3: The Persecution Complex
When a person declares herself childfree to a parent or, if not using that specific term, states outright that she has chosen not to have kids, the parent hears an underlying negative judgment about having kids - that it is undesirable. While we may not state outright to the parent that having kids is undesirable (even though we may think it), they read between the lines that we are choosing not to have kids because we find it undesirable in some way. This is a negative judgment which parents are far from accustomed to being subject to, since in every other corner of the universe, they are lauded, worshipped, praised, adored and subsidized for having kids.
When a person perceives he is being judged negatively, he feels persecuted and the natural reaction is defensiveness and a shoring up of their position. This is why they attack our choice (defensiveness) or start reciting the joys of parenthood (shoring up).
What made me think of Prong 3 is a similar encounter I experience when I tell people that I do not eat meat. Almost always, the reaction is something along the lines of "Oh, I only eat chicken" or "I almost never eat red meat", as though they need to defend themselves against a perceived judgment they imagine I am making of them (shoring up their position). Or, they might get defensive by subtly attacking my choice, "So....what do you eat?" or "How do you know you are getting enough protein?", "Don't you get tired of eating vegetables all the time?"
Isn't human nature fascinating?