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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Immense Gratitude

One aspect of my life for which I am immensely grateful is the knowledge and understanding I have had of myself, even as a child. This has allowed me great clarity in my major life choices, such as selecting a college, finding a mate, and choosing a career (much of which I described in an earlier post). But what has been impressed upon me most heavily lately is the blessing of being an “early articulator” of my childfree life.

As I participate in online discussion forums, read the blogs of others, and peruse articles and editorials throughout the web, my heart breaks for all of the people who have struggled with being childfree. From spouses who change their minds, to people who are still on the fence but worrying that time is running out, to people who have only recently realized they are childfree and now wonder how to tell their parents that they will never be grandparents… there seems to be plenty of pain to go around.

I am grateful that at about 15 years of age I didn’t know any better than to tell people I would never have children. It was just a fact of my life, no surprise to my parents, my husband, my friends, my other family members. I recall one of my aunts (who must have missed that memo) sitting me down a few years after I married and asking me when I was going to have children. I responded very matter-of-factly that I would not be, sort of in a “how-could-you-not-already-know-this?” kind of tone. Perhaps to satiate her, I did express my passion for adoption, and she was quite accepting of that. Really, I have received very little hassle from friends and family, and I credit my years of pointed, pragmatic childfree declarations for this. Mind you, I was never “in your face” about it, but when it came up, it was as nonconfrontational and logical as saying, “No, I will not be moving to Minnesota.”

I am also grateful that, because of my openness, my husband knew I was childfree even before we officially started dating, and he shared the same feelings. Further, when I was ready for a tubal ligation, he fully supported me. I can hardly express the relief I have, knowing that even if one of us did change our mind someday, it is too late. Neither of us can ever be forced to choose between having a baby or ending the marriage over it.

I am grateful for the confidence I had to be sterilized. Nearly five years later, I’m grateful again every day. I have no fear that I will ever regret it, and that surety, that peace, is a blessing. I wish there were a way I could bestow that clarity upon everyone else.

If I were to offer anyone else advice on this, I would encourage two things. First, speak freely and early about not having children, even if you are still unsure. Don’t wait and agonize until you feel you need to blindside someone with this. There is nothing wrong with saying, “I might not want to have children,” or, “I’m pretty certain I don’t want children,” or, “I know I don’t want children.” Of course some people will try to convince you otherwise; listen to them and learn from them, but also listen to the other side and listen to what you believe God is telling you. What’s important is that the discussion has begun, and you don’t need to keep this bottled up inside, worrying about what others might think.

Secondly, make a decision to live your life with no regrets. We all make mistakes, and we all attempt to make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time. All of us will look back at our lives and wish that such-and-such had been done differently. But always remember, you did the best you could with the resources you had, and those decisions you made have shaped you into the person you are today. And if you look back on a choice and decide it was wrong, forgive yourself and allow yourself to learn from the experience. The fact that I am simply not a regretful kind of person is perhaps the main reason that I have had no fear of sterilization and of being childfree. Making careful, prayerful, informed decisions and standing by them can be very liberating. I wish the same for all of you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Childfree Confessions, #7 (nieces/nephews)

I dread the day that either of my siblings has a child.

I consider my brother and sister to be two of my dearest friends, not necessarily because I am related to them but because they are genuinely wonderful and interesting people. Though my sister lives about 450 miles west of me and my brother lives about 450 miles east of me, we make the effort to see each other several times a year and keep up regularly through facebook.

My brother, unmarried and in his thirties, seems to be on the fence about children. At one point he told me that he thought he was now too old to become a father; but his girlfriend is in her late twenties, and she might have the power to convince him otherwise. My younger sister, on the other hand, has long talked about someday having a baby. She is willing to wait for the right man and the right time, but her desire for a child is strong.

Those of you who have read enough of my blog have picked up on the fact that I don’t particularly like children in general, although I would never harm them or wish any harm to come upon them. I cry for the orphans when anyone insists upon having “their own” child, I mourn the loss of relationships, I am saddened by the negative effect parenthood has had on most people I know, and I am disgusted by the idolatrous obsession people have with children. When I imagine either of my siblings having a child, these concerns and feelings become even more poignant, if not frightening. I wonder if I could bear the loss of the friendships we have, and I worry about whether or not I could bond with nieces and nephews.

Over the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I caught a glimpse of what could come. My brother adopted a puppy from a rescue organization, and this puppy is the cutest, sweetest, funniest little guy so full of personality. (Don’t even get me started on animals!) My mother, sister, brother, and brother’s girlfriend, and the puppy gathered at my home shortly before Thanksgiving. The puppy needed a great deal of attention as he was still being trained and still needed frequent trips outside; this meant that someone had to have an eye on him at every moment. And with him being so adorable and hilarious, we all wanted to play with him and watch what he would do. An entire evening revolved around watching the puppy bound around the living room, talking about the puppy, listening to the puppy, and thinking about the puppy. After a few hours, I did start to bore of it, and it struck me, “This is what life would be like if one of us brought a child into the picture.” The only difference is that I love animals, but I find children annoying. I could imagine the entire family sitting around the room obsessing about the child while I yawned and wished to be somewhere else.

Selfishly, I hold out some hope that neither of my siblings will have children. My brother loves his dog but has acknowledged the unexpected amount of work involved in caring for him; maybe that will cause my brother to lean further toward the childfree side of the fence. With her career, her world travels, and her lack of interest in dating, I could imagine my sister ending up childless by circumstance, running out of time because her life was so full of other amazing things. Of course, I feel quite conflicted about this. I love her dearly and want the best for her. I would be deeply saddened if she were childless and regretful of it.

I suppose that all I can do for now is cherish the relationships I have with my brother and sister and hope for the best in the future. Their lives do not revolve around my desires, nor should they, and I love them too much to begrudge them any happiness.