About this Blog

After banging my head in frustration over the obsession everyone around me had with procreation, I went online to find a community of people who were more like me. I have met some fascinating people along the way, but I have also found that many in the childfree community are quite hostile toward Christianity and a Christian world view. I understand that, unfortunately, many of my Christian sisters and brothers have given them a lot of ammunition (undoubtedly, I have been guilty of this at times too). Not wanting to be perceived as "trolling" for expressing my Christian perspective on other people's forums and blogs, I use my own blog to share my musings on childfree life while at the same time expressing my faith.

My intention is to show support to childfree people, both Christian and non-Christian, but from my own Christian perspective. Questions and constructive comments are welcome; negativity and intolerance are not.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

On the Upswing

Near the end of The Magician's Nephew, C.S. Lewis wrote, "When things go wrong, you'll find they usually go on getting worse for some time; but when things once start going right they often go on getting better and better."  This seems to sum up the past several months for my husband and me!

I hesitate to divulge too much about our situation lest I "out" myself, but suffice it to say that months dragged on in a downward spiral, but by the grace of God and the help of some amazing doctors, suddenly things began to improve.  I am sure I will never understand why God allows life-threatening illness in the first place, but he has definitely shown us great compassion throughout the ordeal.

And throughout this time, we have had several people finally acknowledge what a blessing it is for us to not have children... "My gosh, you must be especially glad right now that you don't have kids," or "It must be a relief that you don't also have children to worry about."  Yes, yes it is.  This may also influenced by the fact that, while there is no clear evidence that the issue we face is hereditary in our case, this condition tends to run in families.  When I consider that we could have condemned another person to suffer what we have been through, I am grateful that I will never have to carry that burden of guilt.

For now, we continue to enjoy things going right and getting better and better.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thankfulness Continued

I have said (in some form or another) on many occasions in the blog that I believe God intended for me to not have children, and I find it a blessing, something for which I am abundantly grateful.

It's been a couple of months since my last post, and part of the reason for that (aside from sometimes simply running out of things to say!) is that some of the health issues that were going on back then in our household have escalated in unexpected ways.

As we have been facing doctors offices and hospitals, tests, medical bills, and the stress over health and finances, hardly a day has gone by when I haven't breathed a prayer of gratitude for being childfree.  There have been a few days when I felt pushed to the edge of my sanity, and I thought, "How would I have possibly been able to handle this if I also had children to look after?!"  Perhaps that makes me weaker than those who have to care for children while enduring similar trials, but I do believe that God knows my weaknesses and has spared me from an added emotional and financial burden that might have crushed me.

Life has fundamentally changed for us, and I expect that things are going to get worse before they get better, but we do find some comfort in the ways God has been demonstrating his care and faithfulness.

I am also grateful for those of you with whom I have had the pleasure of interacting on this blog.  Even though most of us don't actually know each other, I am touched by your stories, struggles, and words of encouragement, and I do pray for you folks.  Whenever God might bring us to your mind, I would be thankful for your prayers too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's That Time of Year

It's the time of year when an abundance of people in my facebook newsfeed are posting daily updates on what they are thankful for.  Though I try to avoid facebook trends, I have nothing against it, and in fact, it has given me pause for thought about what makes me thankful.

It is also the time of year when everyone around here has been ill with one thing or another.  One of my colleagues K has not only fought illness herself, but she has had to contend with the sickness of several children... dragging kids to the doctor, having to leave work early to pick up sick kids from school, missing work herself, and on and on it goes.

I finally lost my battle with one of the bugs going around.  I was never quite sick enough to stay home from work, but it did take all the strength I could muster to get through the day and then drag myself home to collapse into bed.  Each day for several days, as I allowed myself to rest and recuperate, I thought about how fortunate I was to simply be able to do so.  I considered how different my situation was from K's, and all I could think was, "Thank God I don't have kids."  When my husband fell sick, I could leave him at home to take care of himself so that I did not fall behind at work.

So while I won't post it on facebook (no need to open myself to the negativity that would undoubtedly ensue), I can share with you here:  today I am thankful that I don't have children... that I want to not have children... and that I have the freedom and the capability to make the choice not to have children.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

“I would be so bored.”

While engaged in a discussion on campus about paths in life and about how things might be different if one had chosen the other direction at some fork in life’s road, I was unsurprised that several women focused on their decision to have children.  Certainly, that is the most monumental decision in many people’s lives.  As they described the pros and cons of that choice, I was happy for them that their kids gave them satisfaction in life and motivation to return to (or begin) college, but I was perplexed at one theme that was repeated:  “If I didn’t have kids, I would be so bored.”

Now I will wholeheartedly agree that I have more leisure time than most parents I know, so I can understand how a parent might be so busy that she forgets what she used to do in her past free time.  But to remember it as boring, or to think that her current life would be boring if she weren’t running around after kids (especially when she is a college student and has plenty of studying to keep her occupied)?  I guess I don't get it.  I know I sometimes use my time frivolously on lazy grocery shopping trips or on watching TV, and other times I am productive through volunteerism or work around the house.  Either way, I have no difficulty finding something interesting -- and, more often than not, constructive -- to do.  In fact, I frequently find myself running out of time to do all the things I would fancy doing.  As such, it makes me wonder if some people simply lacked imagination pre-parenthood, as if they did not know what to do with themselves so they created another person who would dictate their daily activities.  To each her own, I suppose, but I prefer to be more proactive with my life.

On a bit of a tangent, it also reminds me of something an adult told me when I was an adolescent: “An intelligent mind is never bored.”  And let’s face it… when we say we’re bored, don’t we really mean that we don’t feel like doing any of the things we could or should be doing at the time, like cleaning the rain gutters?  (I have been guilty of that!)

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Sterilization Story

There has been a bit of a hubbub about women’s (and sometimes men’s) requests for sterilization to be granted.  Slate has run a series of articles on childfreedom during which the topic emerged, and it has also made this month’s issue of Vogue.  In turn, this seems to have prompted some of the bloggers I follow (and now me) to keep the discussion flowing.

By the time I discovered the word “childfree” and found out that there was an entire online community of people seeking relief from the baby-rabies surrounding them, I had already been sterile for a few years.  My experience – both the decision and the execution – was so easy that it never occurred to me that other women would have to fight to be sterilized.  As I consider my situation, I realize I had several factors going for me (plus a little bit of luck that my small-town doctor was supportive), and I hope that sharing those might assist anyone reading this who is considering a procedure.

Time (and maturity) was on my side.  In my early twenties, I brought up sterilization to my first gynecologist.  At the time, this woman had known me for only about half an hour, and she could see a lack of confidence in my demeanor.  She was very frank that my hesitancy, my age, and her lack of knowing me well made this a non-discussion.  I was not ready to put up a fight, and I really did not mind waiting.

In the meantime, I heard people saying things like, “By the time you are 30*, you know for sure,” and, “Once your friends start having kids, you will want them too.”  When I reached 30, I had observed enough close friends having children to make me even more certain that it wasn’t for me, and I’d had about 15 years to reflect on why I did not want children and what I did want for my life.  I now had a confidence and an ability to articulate myself that a reasonable doctor could not ignore.
*That “magic number” 30 also pops up in some research about which Laura Carroll blogged; in one study, about 20% of women who were sterilized before the age of 30 later regretted the decision, whereas only about 5% of women 30+ expressed regret.

I had “done my homework” and had a plan.  When I finally broached the subject with my nurse practitioner, I was able to explain to her in less than 3 minutes why I should be sterilized.  I explained that I always knew I didn’t want to bear children and played the “30” card so that she knew this decision had been carefully considered for years and that I had been willing to wait for as long as conventional wisdom demanded.  I also shared, with passion and conviction, my commitment to adoption should I ever decide that I wanted to add another person to my family.  She listened intently and agreed that whenever I was ready, she would have her office refer me to an M.D. who could perform the surgery.

I anticipated the doctor’s questions and reactions.  When I met with the M.D., I was again able to tell the story I had shared with my nurse practitioner.  I am sure it also did not hurt that I could tell the M.D. about my advanced degrees, my career, and my marriage too.  I know that some people do not appreciate doctors grilling sterilization candidates, but given that this woman had only just met me, it seemed perfectly reasonable that she would want to hear my story – and my ability to anticipate her concerns and articulate my story meant that she had relatively few questions for me.  Instead, I felt that she did a great deal of listening. At one point she said, “I wish your husband were here so that I could talk to him too.”  My response?  “I’ll bring him in from the waiting room!”  I know this is also anathema to many who feel like the doctor is asking them to obtain their husband’s permission, but I had anticipated that the doctor might be interested in our family dynamic.  Again, she had only just met me.  I see it as responsible of her to be sure that I was doing this without pressure and that my husband knew the risks to me.  In fact, one of the reasons she stated had to do with risk – she would prefer to know that he was at least willing to have a less-invasive vasectomy (this was when Essure was in its infancy and thus not an option in my little town).

Of course, I jumped in to make it clear that this was about me.  If, God forbid, anything ever happened to my husband or, God forbid, I were raped, I wanted to be sure I was taken care of.  Though I did not bring this up to the doctor, I was also influenced by the pressure one of my relatives had faced.  Her now-ex-husband had a vasectomy when they finished having children, so she was left unprotected in a sense.  When she remarried, her childless husband started pushing her to have a baby with him.  However, she had clearly already left that stage of her life behind.  Her children were older, and she did not want to start over with a baby, especially at her age.  Needless to say, things did not end well (though on a positive note, no new lives were destroyed in that tug-of-war).

Lastly, I was able to anticipate a time frame that worked for all of us.  I was uncertain how long it might take to schedule a surgery, so I purposely arranged for a consultation in the spring with the intention of surgery in the summer when I would be off work.  When the M.D. agreed to the surgery, she added, “I want to give you three more months to think about it, so we’ll schedule the surgery for summer.”  I replied, “Perfect!”  Waiting periods may raise the hackles of sterilization advocates, but because I had already built that into my plan, I still felt a sense of… I guess… control, that this was exactly what I wanted and I was not just at the whim of the medical establishment or whatever.

I am very healthy.  Speaking of risk, I had no health factors that might dissuade the doctor.  This made the surgery smooth and successful, and it assisted in a relatively easy recovery.

The only compelling argument I have heard against sterilization is that with the wealth of options available, some of which (i.e., IUD) are more effective than tubal ligation, people should be more resistant to take permanent and potentially dangerous measures.  However, my belief is that it is still up to the patient to decide what risks are most acceptable to her.  The doctor informs; the patient chooses based on that information.

Seven years and counting, and I still celebrate my sterility every day!

Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments or to offer advice to anyone considering a permanent procedure.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On Non-Parents Day, Whom Do You Appreciate?

Shortly after Mother’s Day, I wrote that while some childfree folk wish to be acknowledged on that day (or on their own special day) for their caretaking or mentoring roles, I would prefer to remain invisible.  I seek no day to make a fuss over whether or not I am a mother.  In my own perfect world, I would love for all people to be celebrated for their accomplishments and contributions, with no concern about their reproductive status.  Unfortunately, as we live in an imperfect world where people are still judged harshly for not replicating, a day may be warranted when we recognize those who did not need to procreate in order to make a positive impact on others.

On August 1, 1973, the National Organization for Non-Parents declared a “Non-Parents Day” to do just that.  In recognition of Non-Parents Day, I would like to take a moment to honor one of my first non-parent role models: my high school theology teacher.  She may have been given a “pass” because she was - and still is - unmarried (though it would not surprise me if she were subjected to marriage bingoes over the years), but I find that her lifestyle made her a strong, positive role model for young women especially.  She was amazing in her own right, not needing a man or a child to make her complete, fulfilled, or accomplished.  An excellent and knowledgeable teacher, she held us to high standards in the classroom and took on additional roles on campus to support us outside the classroom.  She was able to finish a doctoral degree while teaching full-time, and I remember the excitement of us students at being able to call her “Doctor” instead of “Miss” (“miss” always seemed like such a silly title for someone of her age and experience).  She continued teaching for several years after I graduated before heading to the mission field, where she may still be.  I have somewhat lost track of her; she may be approaching retirement now, but I have a hard time imagining someone like her retiring!

Which non-parent in your life has earned your respect or made a positive impact on you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Grocery Shopping, CF-Style

During a discussion with some mom-friends, the topic of grocery shopping arose and I described what inefficient grocery-shoppers DH and I are.  The gals paused, looked at each other, and nearly simultaneously blurted out laughingly, “You don’t have kids!”

Though I have frequently observed harried mothers plodding through the store as their children whined and fidgeted (while I wondered, “Where are these kids’ fathers to do the shopping or arrange for mom to shop in peace?!”), it was not until this conversation that I fully realized the luxury of being able to waste as much time as I please at the grocery store.  In fact, I began feeling a little smug about how much I enjoy my CF-style grocery shopping with DH… leisurely stopping by the sushi counter for a sample, wandering through the exotic cheeses, dropping everything at 11pm to venture to the store because we suddenly really want to make ice cream sundaes, making trips three times a week because we are terrible at planning ahead (plus, the fresh produce, milk, etc. only keep for so long).  Bonus: no pressure to buy chicken nuggets or juice boxes.

It was certainly something that never entered my mind when I decided not to have children, but it’s a nice perk and apparently not to be taken for granted!