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.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Having a Child at All Costs

A recent Time magazine article reports on studies that link infertility treatments to autism. Apparently, women who have undergone infertility treatments have much higher rates of children with autism. While one study adjusted for the mother's age and ruled that out as the cause for autism, it is still unclear whether the fertility drugs are to blame, or the infertility itself, or other factors associated with fertility treatments, such as premature birth or multiple births.

And autism is not the only risk. IVF is also linked to birth defects and genetic defects, not to mention the physical and psychological toll that it can take on the mother.

It saddens me that our society idolizes motherhood and the passing on of our own genetic material to the point that we are willing to risk anything and everything to have a child. We are willing to create more children with a much higher risk of developmental disorders and birth defects while 140,000,000+ orphans -- many perfectly healthy -- cry for homes. We are willing to throw away thousands of dollars on this risk while children all over the world starve. We thumb our noses at nature and then react with surprise when nature strikes back.

And while I'm rambling... I wish our culture showed a little more compassion for people struggling with infertility. Instead of sweeping them away in the dogma of "you MUST have a child at all costs!", what if we showed them acceptance and alternatives? Maybe we could stop treating them as if they have no value unless their "disease" is cured, and focus on the other contributions they make to humanity.

I suppose I just don't understand the cult of procreation and the concept of risking it all to create a mini-me...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reason for Being Childfree, or Just a Fringe Benefit?

When I read articles and editorials, I generally try to avoid reading the “Comments” section because of the deluge of poorly written, misinformed, or otherwise ignorant drivel that many people post. However, at the end of an online article I read on childfreedom, I broke my rule and found this little gem (I need to paraphrase here, but I am not too far off from the original quote): “…people want to be selfish and not have children so that they can sleep in on the weekends...” Now, I know that some people leave comments that are intended to be sarcastic or ironic, but from the context, I believe that this comment was serious. Mind you, there was nothing in the article or in the nearby comments about sleeping in or about selfish reasons for not having children. It seemed that the author of this comment could think of no reason for childfreedom other than the ability to sleep in on weekends.

I began pondering (as I so frequently do) why people choose to be childfree, and more specifically, I asked myself, What is a reason for being childfree versus a fringe benefit?

Certainly there may be people out there who choose childfreedom for a reason as “frivolous” as wanting to sleep in. Personally, I have not encountered such people (and even so, we all have our own physical needs -- who am I to decide how important sleep and rest should be to someone else?). In addition, research has shown that people’s reasons for not having children tend to be unselfish, unlike the generally selfish reasons people give for pursuing parenthood.

Nevertheless, I think some of us childfree do tend to rave about the fringe benefits rather than our actual reasons for childfreedom, and that may be why some people get the impression that we are selfish. As an early articulator, I was quite unaware of some of the fringe benefits when I made my decision, so I can guarantee that I was not motivated by “selfish” reasons like wanting to sleep in, wanting to spend all of my money on myself, and not wanting stretch marks. I took the time to make a list of my reasons, a list that started with the simple “I just don’t want them” (my first reason from a very young age) and has grown as I have grown and as I have had my choices questioned.

While this is probably not a comprehensive list, I think it is a decent summary.
  • To my best recollection, knowing at such a young age that I did not want children was probably due to my general dislike of being around children (as a child myself, all I ever wanted to do was grow up) and to the horror I felt toward pregnancy and childbirth.
  • On a related note, I have no urge to reproduce. No biological clock ticking.
  • As I have stated before, I felt a call to take care of the world’s orphans instead of bearing children. I used to think adoption was in my future, but I’ve begun thinking that other things are my mission, like child sponsorship and support of other people’s adoptions.
  • I don’t like being around many people, even my own relatives. I’m somewhat of a loner, and I like to spend time by myself. No, I need to spend time by myself to maintain my sanity.
  • I love my husband and I cannot bear the thought of anyone coming between us. A child would divert my attention from him.
  • I already feel complete. I don’t need motherhood to make me feel better about myself, and I don’t have a void in my life that I need to fill.
  • I adore my career, and I have been career-minded ever since I chose my profession when I was 12 years old. And as a perfectionist, I want to be the best I can in my career. A child could only make me less of a professor/colleague and would distract me from my ministry to my students.
  • I need a significant amount of peace and quiet. I could not abide the commotion that comes with children.
  • I am independent, and I avoid relationships with anyone who is too needy. This is why I have cats instead of dogs; this is why the few friends I have are educated and talented people who are self-sufficient; this is why I fell in love with a free-thinking and free-spirited artist.
Don’t get me wrong about the fringe benefits -- they are fantastic. I love that I have not wracked my body with a pregnancy; I am happy that I avoided all of the pain, discomfort, and distortion that my friends have rued. I love my extra disposable income, income that I can use to sponsor children, support Show Hope (adoption) and other charitable causes, pay off my house, save for retirement, or travel. I love the flexibility of my schedule which allows me to work more if I want the extra money. I love my free time, which I use to volunteer at the animal shelter, relax with my husband, work on my garden, exercise, and even occasionally waste. I love being the center of my husband’s attention. No need for “date nights” for us, since we are always spending time together.

And, yes, I love being able to sleep in!

But just remember, the reasons came long before the fringe benefits, and the reasons are good.

Do you distinguish between reasons and fringe benefits? What are your reasons for being childfree? What are your fringe benefits?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Condolences

My cousin just announced a pregnancy. While the rest of my family gushed with congratulations and other words of excitement, I could not be less enthusiastic.

Because she has been married for several years now and I had never heard any talk of children, I suppose I was holding out a little hope that she and her husband were childfree. Because she is an avid runner (I think she has averaged something like 1-2 marathons a year for the past 10 years), I suppose I am worried that she will trade in her running shorts for a pair of "mom jeans." Because she has always been so interesting to me, I suppose I am concerned that her facebook updates will become as monotonous and mommy-centered as her sister's have (yeah, I had to hide her sister on my newsfeed because I couldn't take it anymore). I don't want to see my cousin go from "cool" to "mom."

In fact, all I wanted to say to her was, "My condolences!"

But I realize that some of those condolences are for me... and for the 140,000,000 orphans out there. Perhaps I should sponsor another child so that I can pick up my cousin's slack.