As someone who’s more than happy living a child-free life, I, along with anyone else with the same mindset, are perpetually subjected to the world’s absolute certainty that “it’s just a phase” or “you’ll regret it.” Regardless of your gender, though women tend to be subjected to it more, it’s one of those ABSOLUTE EXPECTATIONS that you must have some babies with your significant other along with your career job, house, and RRSPs. I call BS.
We’re at a point in the world where we have plenty of choice, from the food supply at the grocery stores, medicines for just about everything, hell there’s even a plethora of choice for what kind of paper you use to wipe your butt! Add on that women are more prevalent in the workforce than ever before, to the point where it’s expected to see ladies alongside men wherever you work and couples can choose whether one, or the other, or both, are working to maintain their lifestyle. So with all this choice available (and accepted by the world), why are babies still such a huge expectation?
1) You got the goods, therefore you should
One painfully obvious “reason” people expect everyone to have babies is because we’re built for it. There’s no denying that men have sperm and a way to share it, and women have eggs and a means to accept said sperm, but does that mean we “have” to have babies? Hardly!
For starters, sex has to exist and be happening for these “tools” to be used effectively in order to have a child, yet much of society still denies that sex happens. How can you expect babies to appear yet deny that people have sex? That’s like expecting to have miraculously completed a best-selling book without having written a single word, it just doesn’t work like that.
Secondly, just because you CAN do it doesn’t mean you SHOULD. All our limbs and parts are capable of doing lots of things, like growing food, making furniture, painting portraits, but they can also hurt people, destroy things, do crimes. Does that mean we SHOULD go out and rob a bank since our hands can hold a gun? Is it expected that we burn down the asshole neighbour’s house because they’re an asshole and our hands are able to light those matches? Should we plot some terrorist act using our evolved brainpower and use our voices and actions to make it happen? No way! It’s your choice which path you take, yet if we all followed the logic of “you have the goods therefore you should” we’d be popping out babies alongside our bullets and crime sprees while trying to fit in our careers.
I have a fist, but I CHOOSE not to use it when someone like you tries to DENY me my CHOICES in life.”
2) Your biological clock is ticking
For whatever reason people tend to believe there’s this timepiece hidden in your vagina/penis just waiting to ring it’s shrill alarm, forever alerting you it’s time for BABIESBABIESBABIES with no snooze or off button to be found. Last I checked, no one has found such a device embedded in those folds of skin, yet people insist this thing exists.
To some degree they’re right, because we ARE born with our penises and vaginas and their accompanying organs since it’s how us humans procreate, and it’s true that you can only use them to make babies for a portion of your life. It’s been like that since, well, ever, so of course it’ll continue to be that way for a while yet. But people tend to forget that we’re at a part in our evolution where we don’t NEED to procreate and as such feel no rush to do it, if at all; there are so damn many of us on this planet, including kids already in existence who need a home, that you could say we’re infesting Earth and could afford to stop having new babies for a while to reset the balance. Our bodies, however, did not get that memo and as such we still develop our sexual organs because it’s simply a part of what humans are. Unless we develop the ability to swap/share genitals as needed the way hermaphrodite creatures do, there’s no way for our evolution process to selectively de-genital a portion of humans at birth to ensure we stop saturating the planet with the fruit of our loins at an ungodly rate “while we can.”
In turn, instead of denying us our genitals, perhaps some of our “clocks” have shut off on their own or, for those of us who’ve realized we really don’t NEED to populate more, we unconsciously turned it off.
I know, it’s bad, I’ll have to keep listening to people like you giving me shit about my CHOICE until my organs shut down and I die.
3) Sex only feels good so that you’ll have babies
Though it’s definitely a perk to the act, just because it feels good doesn’t mean that’s what it’s meant for. And besides, not everyone enjoys having sex! (Which defeats this whole argument!) But for those who do find it pleasurable, don’t worry, enjoyment does not equal parenthood.
If it feels good to dry-hump some random piece of furniture, how in the world can that be interpreted as your wanting kids? What about being treated like crap for your pleasure thanks to a dominatrix? Does masturbation mean you want to impregnate yourself? Everyone likes different things (including masturbation, for it’s still different strokes for different folks), and it’s not always the actual “typical” penis-in-vagina action since many a person has proved you don’t need the human parts to get your pleasure.
Plus it’s been proven that monkeys, a species very similar to our own, will use sex and sexual acts to reduce tension, like rubbing the shoulder of a stressed group member with their genitals. For all we know we’re built the same, though in our case our society ensures we don’t go around rubbing each other with our nethers to calm ourselves down. Think about it, it’s hard to find someone who gets more stressed post-orgasm! And there’s no denying there are plenty of health benefits from doing the deed.
Welp, then I guess I’ll be having a crapton of funny-looking babies from chronically masturbating since my hands evidently want to have kids with me.
4) Children are a joy to have
True they can be little darlings, but they can also be little hellions that suck the life out of you. Though many parents I know seem quite happy in the world, there’s a hint of misery behind those bloodshot eyes and the way their tired bodies sway with no breeze to be found.
Child-rearing is hard. No question. The hours behind this extremely full-time job can break you. And while yes, there are times when kids will make their parents beam with pride, that pride came at extreme costs. Parents will never be able to express the pain of months of sleepless nights with a newborn, of eardrums near-bleeding at the screeching of a wee-one’s lungs, the humiliation (that is then turned into “expectation and acceptance”) of regularly being peed, vomited or diarrhea-pooped on, the destruction of all the nice things they own like great-great-great gramma’s prize-winning antique furniture now covered in marker and chew marks. Their minds have shut out all memories of the pain and left all the pretty flower-bordered ones instead.
There’s no denying that parents go through their own form of hell that they brought on themselves by their own little spawn, yet parents and people in general always seem to ignore these wonderful facts of life (and reality) when talking about how wonderful having kids is. Again, there’s no denying the great things that happen when you have kids, but if you can’t deny the good, then you also can’t deny the bad!
Ten-alarm crazy hot chicken wings are great to have too, but not at the cost of shitting fire for hours afterward!
5) You’ll grow up miserable and alone
That might be the case, and that also might not. Remember that concept of having the ability to CHOOSE? Well you can choose how happy or miserable you’ll end up through what you do, and who you know. You don’t need kids to make that decision for you.
Kids themselves can make you grow up miserable and alone. Aside from the misery we merely glimpsed in point #4, as kids grow into adults there’s no guarantee they’ll stick around. They become their own person, and as their own person they choose to do things however they want and are out of the parent’s control. One kid can grow up to be a scholar who has the best friendship with their parents and always keeps in touch, while another could become a drug addict who brings shame to the family and disappears without a trace. You cannot predict how kids will turn out, you can only hope, so people who assume they won’t be miserable and alone if they have kids are extremely ignorant as they’re not considering that that’s not always the case.
Besides, when child-free we don’t HAVE the numerous responsibilities parents do. We can go traveling at a moment’s notice and not need to pack twenty-thousand things to do so. We can maintain our friendships without the stress and strain of having kids, no threat of plans being canceled or cut short because of babysitter issues, no worry of your nice things being destroyed by a Sharpie pen. We can do whatever the hell we want, as often as we want, anytime we want! And if you don’t know a lot of people, it’s easier than ever to not be alone nowadays with websites like Meetup.com, which enable people to meet like-minded people to do things they all love to do together. There are even sites where you can find travel groups at the click of a button.
And you can BUY ALL THE THINGS with the money you never had to spend on a child!
Oh yeah, it’ll be miserable finding things to spend my surplus of money on as I meet interesting people during my impromptu travels around the world for the rest of my life.
6) You don’t know / you don’t understand / you’re too young / you’ll change your mind
Apparently, when it comes to babies, we child-free by choice folk are derps. As in, we don’t understand what we’re talking about, what we’re missing, blahblahblah. Though yes we’re different in that we’re going against the grain by not having kids, that doesn’t mean we don’t understand anything.
Sometimes being child-free is just a part of who you are. There was no conscious decision, it just IS. You want to be with a man? Or a woman? “You don’t understand!” You like chocolate? “You don’t!” You do the things you do because you like it? “You’ll change your mind!” This logic makes absolutely no sense when it comes to everything else we like and love, so why is our decision toward children exempt? If you asked anybody why they chose to like men/women, they wouldn’t necessarily have a reason because it’s just the way it is, much like our need or non-existent need to have kids. True we’re raised expecting to each go through the same motions of go to school, go to College/University, get a career, get married, get a house, have kids, have RRSPs, then retire, but that doesn’t mean that will or should happen! It goes back to point #1; just because the potential is there doesn’t mean it has to be that way.
Sometimes child-free folk will have reasons behind their decision, and regardless of their reasoning, it’s ultimately THEIR CHOICE to do what they do. We respect that parents chose to be parents for whatever reason, that in some cases it simply happened, yet we’re not respected for having a different choice. I don’t hear people saying “you’ll regret having kids” or “you’ll change your mind” whenever they encounter a parent, yet child-free people always endure those who say crap like that all the time.
I definitely know I won’t miss this rude conversation you’re pushing on me.
Ultimately, all child-free people will endure countless badgerings from those who refuse to think there’s another way; we’ll be subjected to those who misunderstand, who assume our having a contradictory opinion means we all hate children and have issues with their parents, and all we can do is be happy with our choice and maybe pity the ignorance of these people who’re giving us shit. Besides, it’s not any of their business how we live our lives anyway, so why must they stick their nose in and make it theirs? We respect your lifestyle choice, you respect ours.