Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why I Don't Live and Let Live

I know many of my readers will find this hard to believe, but there are some people who think I am doing a grave disservice (to humanity, perhaps?) by vocalizing critical judgements about parenthood. 

The kind of comment I sometimes get (usually from parents, but occasionally from childfree folks as well) is along these lines:

You shouldn't be so judgemental of parents.  You want people to respect the childfree lifestyle, yet you do not offer the same respect to parents.  Live and let live.   Some people are happy having kids.  Others are happy being childfree.  Some people regret having kids, while others regret not having them.  Why can't we all get along?

So being that I get this comment from time to time, I thought it would be good to address it.

On the surface, much of this comment is valid.  The live and let live, or to each his own philosophy is right in line with my own belief system.  And I certainly would love it if the childfree lifestyle was respected and accepted like the parental lifestyle is.

But (sigh) then we have reality.

In reality, the idea of live and let live is - at least for now - a fairytale when it comes to the choice not to have children.  Sure, there are some childed folks who support our decision and do not pass negative judgements on us - and we are grateful for those folks - but as of right now, the majority of childed people (which also happens to be the majority of the adult population) does not accept the childfree lifestyle choice as one that is desirable, admirable, viable or in any way positive.  To the contrary, most adults view - and often deride - us as selfish, cold, immature, deviant, deficient, confused, pitiable souls who need to be enlightened by those who actually know what's important in life.

So starting out, we childfree folks are not getting a whole lot of warm and fuzzy live and let live vibes from most of the people we encounter in our baby-crazed, family-friendly society.  This can put us on the defensive.

Then, we have the factor that parenthood is idealized, glorified and promoted to the point of absurdity in our culture, while the harsh and often soul-crushing reality of parenthood is kept hush-hush and swept under the rug so the fairytale can continue undisturbed in perpetuity.  This leads many unsuspecting and unquestioning people to buy into the myth that parenthood is mostly bliss with a tiny bit of aggravation thrown it to keep it interesting, when in reality the reverse is usually true.  The result of this cultural brainwashing is that many people who are not remotely close to being parent material, have no business having children, or simply would be much happier living a life sans kids, pop them out mindlessly because "it's just what you do" and because they believe all the messages about parenthood being the most essential and joyful role in life.  Then they regret it.  Big time. On the contrary, one would be hard-pressed to find a childfree-by-choice person who regrets not having kids.  Go ahead and search.  We just aren't out there. Despite this, rarely is a person who is embarking on parenthood warned that they may regret their decision, while the childfree - a group that rarely if ever regrets their choice - are constantly chided for our decision and told we will regret it later. 

This relentless pro-parenthood propaganda (a.k.a pronatalism) needs to be counterbalanced by a more reasoned and critical view of parenthood because there simply isn't enough balance in the way parenthood is presented in our culture and that's where web sites like this come in.  I am here to provide a little balance, to illuminate the other side of parenthood (i.e. the dark side that is swept under the rug), and to counteract all the sugar-coating that is force-fed to people (especially women) so that people can make reasoned and well-informed decisions about what type of lifestyle will best suit them - decisions they will not regret later.  As evidenced by the growing hordes of mothers posting lamentful cries on the internet, many women are hopping mad.  They are angry about the lies they have been fed.  They are fuming about how they have been duped into the notion that motherhood is a woman's required path to personal fulfillment.  Most importantly, they are resentful about how the dark side of motherhood was kept hidden from them. Many of them cry, "I wish somebody told me what it's really like." Well, here I am.

Then we have the third factor which must be stated plainly.  The audience for this blog is the childfree and those contemplating the childfree lifestyle.  I realize that some parents read this blog, and I welcome them here if they find what I write interesting.  But parents, while you are welcome here, please realize that I don't write for you.  There is a plethora of web sites, blogs and discussion boards that cater to parents and that support and validate the parenthood lifestyle.  This site is not intended to be one of them.

Finally, while I work hard to counterbalance our culture's overglorification of parenthood by shining a spotlight on the well-kept secrets about the less-desirable aspects of that lifestyle, I do ultimately believe the notion of "to each his own".  We all want to live the life that brings the most happiness and fulfillment to us during our short journey through life and if that involves having children, so be it.  But for many of us, the path to happiness and fulfillment does not involve childbearing, childrearing and all the related drudgery that goes along with it.  I am here to provide much-needed validation and support for our choice and make sure that the people who are on the fence about which path to take are doing so with the complete picture of what the life of parent is, instead of the rosy, incomplete, deceiptful "puppies and rainbows" portrayal that we are banged over the head with from the time we even realize what gender we are.


Anne Marie said...

Well said!

Marie said...

Thank you for this post! I often get the line "live and let live" and respond with similar arguments. People don't seem to get it though, and often tell me I'm lying when I relate the harassment, abuse, and friendships lost over my childfreedom. I definitely fall in the camp of being a resentful and defensive childfree person, because I'm so used to be attacked from all angles.

mitsy said...

Holy smokes, AMEN! Coherent, well written, and to the point. Thank you for this.

shell said...

When I was young and got the when will you have kids questions I would think to myself holy cow you parents ought to be damn GLAD some people are not reproducing - it means a better future world - lewss overcrowding--for YOUR kids & grandkids!

Alex said...

"Live and let live" also doesn't address whether it's best for more lives to be brought into the world right now. Overpopulation, dwindling resources, wars, poverty, inequality, greed, cruelty...these things aren't going away anytime soon. I really think the most loving thing people can do for their kids is not to have them. "Live and let live" only addresses the parents' right to do as they please with their own lives. But what about the child's right not to be born into a dying world? No one ever takes the rights of the unborn into consideration; it's always about what the parents want (which is one reason why I think having biological offspring is a very selfish decision, though that's a topic for another post).

I know it's impossible for parents to ask their unborn kids if they want to be born, but I wish more people at least thought about the implications of creating another person without that person's consent, instead of blindly assuming that their child's life will be a good, joyous life despite overwhelming odds to the contrary.

Buckle Ve said...

What you describe happens in may other things in live, not only the choice not to be parents. I'm a Childfree, married mexican, and believe me, my culture is far more family oriented, and instead of feeling harassed, hub I I just answer in the children topic "we'll get to it later", change the topic and move on!!, the thing is that questions about marriage and children are the easiest way most people think they can. Many other things we`ll get you in ways that will get you appart from your friends(career choices, religion, politics). What makes you feel sooo harassed is that instead of acting for what you are you do it for what you aren't(a parent).

JulieY said...

Here, here! I definitely appreciate sites like this blog that support my decision to remain childfree- Thank you!

Spectra said...

The people that I don't get are the ones that have one kid, realize it sucks, and then have another 2 or 3 more. Is there some sort of myth out there among parents that more kids are somehow better/easier than just one? My sis has 2 and another one on the way and is sort of "overwhelmed" with it all. I can't say I blame her, but it's not like you don't know how to stop it from happening, know what I mean?

Freelance Feminist said...

The very few times I've talked about the childfree lifestyle, I've found myself thinking, "Whatever HAPPENED to 'live and let live'?!?!?!?!"

The criticism childfree folks get for their decision is relentless, the praise parents get for their decision is endless.

It's not being intolerant to discuss the downsides of parenting--it's being a critical thinker. More people should realize this.

Dave said...

Mandy, good post.

But one big thing which "Live and Let Live" does not take into account is how the childfree are forced to subsidize the lifestyle of the childed, whether it is in the business world or through government policies, to name two examples. Someone else has a kid, my school taxes go up. Someone else has a kid, I have to stay late at work to pick up the slack. "Live and let live?" My ass.

We childfree would resent far less hearing "Live and Let Live" if we were not always forced to accomodate the lifestyle choices made by others we had no say-so in their decision making.

Ire said...

Hi, chilfree! I'm reading every piece of this blog and loving it! I'm a 31 year-old childfree woman and always knew I would be one. I don´t need any support or respect from parents because I already know I'm doing the right thing for this overpopulated world. It's the parents who should justify themselves for their selfish acts, as they don't have any valid reasons to have children. Breeding should be heavily fined and discouraged, because it's unethical to bring any more children to a place with limited resources and so many unwanted people and animals already.

Marina said...

I completely agree with you! We get attacked all the time and when we finally can't take it anymore we get told we need to quit being so defensive! I've been dealing with this for years because I'm vegan and get tired of being treated like I'm part of some kind of fringe group.

Also, thank you for your blog. I was on the fence about having kids and was leaning towards getting pregnant in the next year. Luckily I found your blog and now I feel like I dodged a bullet. It's amazing how much happier I feel in my life after letting go of the pressures of becoming a mother. Now I feel like the possibilities are endless. Thank you!

shell said...

My husband and I have NO regrets about our decision NOT to have children.
I'm extremely happy to see so many young people today choosing "childfreedom".

I love kids and I taught elementary school for 27 years but never felt compelled to be a mother.
When you choose parenthood you take on a job that will last a minimum of 20 years--a job with
no pay, no days off and it's 24/7. And your needs will now come LAST. If people really thought about
what they are sacrificing to become parents, most would not do it-!! Watch Dr Phil sometime and you'll see how stressed out mothers of 3 kids are.

Freelance Feminist said...

To answer your question, Spectra, yes, there is a myth out there about only children. The myth is that only children are "bad" (lonely, self-centered, poorly adjusted) when the truth is that all only children are different and are no better or worse than any other kid from any other birth order.

Before I decided to be childfree, I decided that I would have only one child. It turns out that parents who decide to have one child are given many of the same "bingoes" that the childfree are ("you'll change your mind," etc.). And they face a lot of the same criticism that we face as well.

People will just do what everyone else is doing. Most families out there have two children, spaced three years apart. Is this the best system out there? Not necessarily. But people do it just because that's what they're "supposed to do."

If you were to ask me what the REAL fear of parents is, it's not that their one child will grow up to be "bad." Because only children are perceived as "bad," people who have only one child are seen as "bad" as well. Parents are afraid of judgment.

FYI, I'm actually a middle child (the third born of six), but it really bothers me when one birth order is perceived to be "better" than another. The truth is that all birth orders are equally "bad" and "good." OK, stepping off my soap box...

marin said...

Beautiful post.I used to "live and let live" untill I got married and EVERYONE around me started to harass me questioning my choice (even in presence of my husband or my mother) and describing gross details of childbirth:"If you wait it will be worse!"
I don't mind to be asked:"Do you have kids?" or "When are you going to have children?" but I hate that people never accept my first answer and insist on the topic.

shell said...

Freelance Feminist is right--most people are just sheep and go plodding along doing what most other people do because they think they are "supposed" to.
Like an earlier poster said, overpopulation, dwindling resources, wars, poverty, inequality, greed, cruelty...these things
aren't going away anytime soon. I agree & I also agree that the most loving thing people can do for their kids is not to have them. We are not in need of any additional bodies on the planet.

Christy said...

We can all get along as long as you don't say anything bad about me, or anything that makes me think about the choices I have made, or my secret reasonings behind them! Can't we just live and let live? Excellent post, Mandy!

I'm an atheist, and I also constantly hear "the live and let live" philosophy from members of organized religion. Ridiculing and rejecting my choice is an undeniable part of their religion, and probably the main reason for it's existence. Even though believers are the majority, my critical thinking (as Freelance Feminist so aptly put it) is seen as a persecution, but their belief that I am inferior and depraved is incorporated very deeply into their institution and, according to them, should therefore not be picked apart. How is that fair?

Parents are the same way, but just because their children are already here doesn't mean they have to quit learning, or that they can't help others, or their own children, to identify and evaluate the *choices* out there and choose which one will make them happiest, and which choice is most ethical. Sort of like the Amish sending their offspring out into the world to see if they would prefer it to their upbringing.

Tessa said...

Thankfully I'm young and haven't experienced much pressure to have children. I realize, though, that this will probably change as I get older :/ Your approach makes a lot of sense. There needs to be some sort of counterbalance to the blatant pronatalism of our country.

Something I've found interesting is that I get the most crap about not having children from men and from older people. When I tell people my age that I don't have children (and I'm a junior in college, to give you an age reference), they are super chill with it and say "as long as you're happy!" But older people, men in particular for some strange reason, seem to think I'll change my mind. The men who comment in this way especially piss me off; they seem to think that they know everything about women's "biological clock" (I honestly don't have one, if there is such a thing at all) and how "all women want children" and I will "definitely change my mind someday." When I insist that I'm serious, they actually get offended! It's very annoying. So I don't know if this is an age thing or a generation thing, so we'll see as I get older which it is!

Dogsledder said...

Christy- I'm so glad that there is another atheist childfree out there! That's like the 1-2 punch of unpopular and criticized choices and I have to say I've probably gotten more flak for being childfree than for being an atheist. I'm certain a lot of the reason people go after the childfree has more to do with the choices the attacker didn't make than the ones his target so obviously did.

Unknown said...

I agree: "Live and let live" is a fairytale. And yes, the majority of adults in childbearing years, are in fact, parents.

But those numbers are changing, and the childfree population is growing.

As recent as 2008, the US census reports a rise in childfree adults since the 70s.

Dave said...

Dogsledder and Christy, I am also childfree and an atheist so now we make three here.

Being single and male (and 48 now) and living in the northeast USA have all helped me in not getting bingoed much if at all over the years although being CF has cost me some good relationships over the years (I have been involved with the same woman now for several years). My family was never the type to intrude on our very personal lifestyle decisions, and many of my coworkers (I have been retired for 3 years) were childfree so nobody gave me any flack there.

I do feel bad for chidlfree atheists who are given a hard time for either or both of these personal lifestyle choices.

Happily CF said...

Very, very well-said. I am childfree and agree with pretty much everything you write.

I DO have to respond, though, to a commenter who said that "breeding should be heavily fined and discouraged, because it's unethical to bring any more children to a place with limited resources and so many unwanted people and animals already" It's unethical to ensure the ongoing existence of humans? I cannot go so far as to say that. Perhaps it should be REGULATED in some way, and those who choose not to have children should not have to accommodate those who have children. But, I DO think that most of us would like the human race to continue. I think we just want to make sure that future generations do not so overburden the planet as to make it unlivable. I know most childfree people recognize that SOME children need to be born, so I don't usually interpret the childfree view as being one which says it's not okay for OTHER people to have SOME children. But I did have to question that one comment.

Unknown said...

I addressed this issue myself recently on my own blog, although the focus of my response was different.

Simply put, if parenthood weren't seen as the default goal, something expected of and pushed upon everyone, then the word "childfree" would not even need to exist. As it is, it's impossible to talk about childfreedom without talking about parenthood. That is to say, in order to talk about why I've chosen not to have kids, I must talk about why I've chosen to have kids. If it seems like I'm stating the obvious, it's because I am. Yet you'd be amazed at how many people seemed shocked and offended that talk about parenthood, about children, in an unflattering (read: honest) way. I explain why I've decided against it.

Apart from that, yeah, some people are just plain shitty parents. I don't know why being childfree should obligate me to ignore this fact. Nor do I see why I should just keep quiet about our overpopulation crisis.

Childfreeeee said...

Good point, Alex...about overpopulation. Really, having the "live and let live" philosophy toward reproducing is probably not the best approach since overpopulation is doing incredible damage to our planet. I had to laugh recently when the news was buzzing about the planet reaching 7 billion people, and the reports had a celebratory tone to them. This is not something to celebrate!

Which brings me to Happily CF's comment in which he/she expresses that the human race must continue. I think it's natural to feel that way, since we are human and it scares us to think of a world without US, but think about it: what good has the human race done for the world? It has done good things for ITSELF, but not for the world. The world is teetering on destruction, thanks to mankind. Animals have gone extinct, thanks to man. Our world is becoming an overheated greenhouse thanks to man. Forests have been decimated, animals have been abused and exploited and mankind does at least as much harm to themselves as good. Why would it be such a bad thing if the human race died out? You'll be long gone by the time it happens.

Regardless, no matter how heavily people are fined or discouraged from having kids, they will continue to breed. Maybe in smaller numbers, but that's a GOOD thing since our planet cannot support 7 billion people.

I personally do not agree with the approach of answering the question "when will you have kids?" with "We'll get to it later" or "someday". I do understand the point of gets people off your back, but I think in the big picture it does the childfree a disservice to flat out lie about who we are. Telling a lie like this essentially says that you are ashamed of the truth and that it's more important to be accepted and avoid discomfort and judgement than it is to be true to yourself and stand up for what you believe.

Spectra, most people who have more than one kid, despite the fact that they are unhappy after the first one, do so because they are herd following sheep. In addition to have fallen for the pronatalist lies about parenthood being bliss, they also fell for the subsequent lie that it is not good to have "only children". As soon as a person pops out a kid, they start getting pressured to have a second kid, and if they show reluctance to that, they get hit with negative judgements, just as the childfree do.

Dave, great point about the childfree having to subsidize the childed. I think I am changing my mind about "live and let live".

Finally, my sympathies to the childfree atheists out there. That's a double whammy. I am a childfree vegetarian, so I have a double whammy too, although I think people are more accepting of vegetarians than atheists.

Lisa said...

I'm childfree and athiest too. I would suspect that's quite common, actually - since it really means you take everything everyone tells you and run it through your own personal filter to see if it holds true for you. For some people religion is just about believing what you're told without questioning it, much like having kids because you've heard nothing but sunshine and roses about it.

In case anyone thinks we'll have any problems keeping the planet populated, I refer to you these graphs which show how screwed we are with exponential population growth.

We could regulate the bejezus out of reproducing and we would not have a shortage of people on the planet, I assure you.

Temujin said...

It's easier to "live and let live" when you actually have no effect on someone else. I can't actually stop people from becoming parents, but parents can very easily destroy some of the things I love about being childfree. Parents don't just "let me enjoy my childfree lifestyle" when they let their kids run and screech all over the restaurant. They don't live and let live when they bring infants to an R-rated movie.

If it's really live and let live, then *let* me park in the "expecting mothers" parking spot.

Sherri.S said...

Dogsledder - I'm atheist and childfree as well. There are a lot of us out there, especially on childfree message boards. I go to one called The Childfree Life, and there are a lot of atheists there.

I'm lucky, because I haven't gotten any flak for being childfree. I don't really tell people about it, except people I know I can trust not to hassle me about it. I also look really young for my age, (I'm 35, but I look about 22 or 23) so people probably don't ask me when I'm going to have kids, because they think I'm still young and have lots of time. LOL.
I'm also single, so that eliminates a lot of bingoing right from the start.

CFVixen said...

Excellent post.

And I wholeheartedly agree with Temujun: there is no "live and let live" when your child is constantly annoying or inconveniencing me. If I go to a nice restaurant with my DH and a meal that I looked forward to all week is compromised by a squalling brat, that's not live and let live. Add to that the bigger issue of overpopulation, dwindling resources, welfare systems geared to producing more children, heavy property taxes for schools for children I don't have: well, what happened to live and let live?

Chantel said...

^If your meal is ruined by a squalling child, you're not at a nice restaurant. Might be nice to you, but not according to industry standards. If you want to live in a child free environment, there are restaurants you can patronize but why should establishments change what's working for them, for you? Welcome to my life as a minority, where your views are less important than that of the majority!

I find it ironic and telling you all complain about family and friends not accepting your child free lifestyle. And I question what type of friends and family you all have if you feel mistreated by your own. My husband and I are childless too and have not experienced any of what you speak. Can't help but conclude that it's because we don't throw it in people's face NOR do we entertain conversation on it at all. My family and friends know and respect us so it just doesn't come up. Instead of assuming so much (and there are tons of assumptions in this article that use the very same tactics you complain of), why not get on with living the life you swear you love?! Because as happy as you say you are, this posts and comments suggest otherwise. We are all adults and should be beyond seeking acceptance on things that don't require acceptance.

Chantel said...

"This leads many unsuspecting and unquestioning people to buy into the myth that parenthood is mostly bliss with a tiny bit of aggravation thrown it to keep it interesting, when in reality the reverse is usually true."

I find this statement downright offensive and I am childfree as well. It is a huge generalization you haven't even attempted to support with fact. That may be the case for parents you know, and if so, I do pity them. But the parents I know, would not say it is mostly aggravation with a tiny bit of bliss. I can't imagine how someone could make such a sweeping statement, having never met most parents.

Have you discussed your own relationship with your parents? I'm curious if you regret being born and are projecting those views in this manner.

Happily CF said...

Childfreeee... good point. Perhaps I shouldn't say that the human race SHOULD continue... but rather, that NO ONE having kids will not just solve the "overpopulation crisis," it will end human civilization. It seems to me that most people who have commented to say that there are already so many people in the world, we don't need to make more, do not want civilization to end. They think we need to lessen the burden on the world, but forget that making NO more children will end civilization. So, assuming that even more childfree people would like to see the continued existence of humans, SOME people will need to breed.

Happily CF said...

Burrito - first of all, I'm not concerned about keeping the planet populated. I have no doubt it will continue to be populated, and even way overpopulated. However, if EVERY SINGLE PERSON on the planet today chose to not have kids, there would be no exponential population growth. That's all I'm saying. It IS unethical, in my opinion, for me to bring still more people into this world, assuming that the current people are going to breed. But, if we say it's unethical for ANYONE to breed, given the number of people on earth TODAY, that doesn't make sense.

CF-PC Me! said...

Chantel, I hate to say this, but the aggravation comment is very accurate. If you haven't read True Mom Confessions, then you may only be with a tiny fraction of the world that do love being parents. And sweeping generalizations happen more on the parental side towards us than us towards them. Go bitch at them about their generalizations before being offended at us.

Second, we may be the minority, but this is changing really fast. Even as we speak, more and more people are seeing that this world is full of it, and are doing their children a favor by not having them. I'm an antinatalist christian (yes we exist) and I am also Childfree due to this. You must realize Chantel, that the larger the minority grows, the more they must be accommodated (see: brat bans). Recognize that yes, if you have children, you may be buying into the fantasy and not thinking for yourself. Regardless of how you slice that, it looks like sheepish behavior to me.

And third, we all must do critical thinking BEFORE we act, not after. Parents rarely take into the account that we are in the middle of harsh economic times, where getting a job is like pulling teeth, and you have to take out a loan just to piss. This can cause their children great discomfort in the future, I can assume your parent friends did not consider this, because parents rarely consider more than how the car seat will go with their upholstery before squirting them out. The parenthood myth is a bold face lie, get over that.

Fourth, this topic was live and let live. We are not left to live by parents. We have to pick up their slack everywhere because they relentlessly follow the golden calf of children, sacrificing everything hoping that they can have it all. Quite frankly, they want their baby and their Lexus too. They may want it all, but I think it's safe to say that we are fed up subsidizing their attempts to try.

I will defend what Mandy writes here, because like it or not, the growing hoards of pissed off mommies bears her out.

Temujin said...

In response to Chantel:

I can see how saying “usually” parenting is such-and-such a way sounds overly generalized and a little biased. I think that’s a valid point. Ultimately it means we’d be debating over whether Mandy should have said “often” or “sometimes” instead of “usually,” which is pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things.

As for being unhappy with being childfree, I can see a valid point here. If being childfree is so wonderful, why is there so much complaining on this site? There seems like a lot of unhappiness among childfree people here. True. First of all, it’s a website to explore and express feelings, which includes venting about the difficulties or inconveniences many childfree people face. So, by its very nature it tends to be a little negative. Second of all, much of the unhappiness is a product of the way childed people behave, not because we regret our decision. I wish my decision was more socially acceptable than I find it to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision.

Perhaps we complain too much about parents when we should spend more of that energy just living our lives. Fair enough criticism. Take that argument too far, though, and no one should ever complain about anything, and definitely shouldn't waste time complaining on a blog about too much complaining….

The majority of people are parents. True. And, in a democracy the majority rules. In a liberal democracy, however, the rights of the minority and of the individual somewhat balance the power of the majority. (Otherwise it's mob rule.) Even if a small group is entirely outvoted, those people still have some basic rights, including the right to express a recommendation to restaurants to change their policies. It would be foolish to expect all businesses to become childfree, but why not some of them?

But, if it’s really about the power of numbers, okay, then let it be about numbers – the percentage of childfree restaurants should exactly match the percentage of people who are childfree, no more and no less. That sounds totally fair to me. Somewhere around 20%, I would say. Are we anywhere near that yet?

RainaMarina said...

I completely agree, childfreeee. Humans are like parasites to the very place we call home. The longer we stay on earth, the sicker the earth becomes. I'm positive that once the earth is no longer inhabitable, our race will find another planet to set up shop and destroy.

RainaMarina said...

Haha I'm a childfree/ atheist/vegetarian so I guess that would make me a tripple "whammy"!

Angelus-Mortis said...

This actually reminds me of a well written article about a similar problem atheists have by the blogger, Greta Christina (you may have heard of her; if not google her)--it's called "Shut up, that's why". In fact, this argument about live and let live because childfree people are rocking the boat about parenthood is very similar to atheists rocking the boat about religion, and they're being told to shut up because other people are bothered by the fact that we're pointing out something that's less than pleasant for them, even if it is fundamentally important. People who use the "Shut up, that's why" argument are just doing it because they have nothing better to offer to counter the points you're bringing up. They're doing it under the disguise of saying they're offended by it, but it's really an excuse to avoid the point altogether. So I really appreciate it when bloggers like you and her bring these points up anyways.

hybrid756 said...

Oh! Epiphany moment... (you may have already realised this, maybe it's just me who didn't).

I see a whole load of parents out there who regret their decision. I also see a whole load of childfree people out there who don't regret their decision.

I have never in my life heard of someone contemplating reproduction being told they might regret it. I have (and I know most other childfree people probably have) been subjected to the "you'll regret it!!" line.

So, I would like to say thankyou to everyone who has ever told me I will regret not having children. Perhaps, those comments, on some level (insulting as they are) have led me to contemplate the potential consequences of my actions. Maybe they led me to take a step back for a few years and think about whether I really AM making the right decision.

Chances are, very few parents were afforded the same opportunity to be as reflective. Hence , a possible reason for a whole load more regret on the other side of the fence.

If you might want kids, and you might not, there's nothing to be ashamed of in contemplating a childfree life. Perhaps then, in the event you DO end up having children, you will have given the decision and its ramifications a whole lot more thought.