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, July 22, 2010

Insights on Being Childfree and Christian: Part II

Part II of my interview with Laura Carroll, author of Families of Two.
Continuing my interview with childfree Christian blogger I.Am.Free:

Laura: Many childfree Christians have a hard time reconciling not having kids with their faith--you have. How?

Quite simply, during my formative years no one ever told me that such a thing was wrong! I attended church regularly from the time I was born, both of my grandfathers were ministers, my parents read me Bible stories and devotionals before bed every night, I went to a Christian school where I rigorously studied the entire Bible… I was completely immersed in Christianity, and yet I never saw anything in my Bible nor heard anything from the pulpit to convince me that there was something immoral about not having children.

I should probably add that while I attended churches that some might describe as conservative and fundamentalist, they were fairly mainstream Protestant churches. Individual opinions might have varied about birth control or family size, for example, but there was never a church mandate against birth control or a mandate to have children. As such, my personal experience with mainstream Protestantism is undoubtedly vastly different from the experiences of my Roman Catholic sisters and brothers who hear the opposite message from their pope.

Even now that I have been exposed to Christians who believe there is something evil or rebellious about purposeful childlessness, I have still heard no compelling spiritual argument against it. No one has been able to present to me clear, Biblical evidence that every (married) person must bear children. Even “be fruitful and multiply” is considered by some scholars to be a blessing to humanity and not a command; but if it were a command… well, humanity has been fruitful and multiplied to the tune of about 6.7 billion. I think we have fulfilled that directive.

Laura: How have you dealt with pressure from family, friends, and the church to have children?

I.Am.Free: I have always been a woman of my own mind, and I have been well-known for bucking societal trends in many areas, including my career, my marriage relationship, my gender role, my financial decisions, and so on. Though some of my family and friends have given me a little flack about not having children, they have come to realize that I think carefully about everything I do and that I will do what I know is right, regardless of what anyone else has to say.

Between that and about twenty years of me being matter-of-fact about not having children, most of my family and friends have seen no point in trying to change my mind. As for the church, I have experienced no direct pressure to have children. Whenever I do feel any indirect pressure, I focus on the relationship I have with God and the confidence I have that I am following the right path. I also seek out churches that welcome people from all walks of life, and I would not hesitate to leave a church if I found it to be intolerant.

Laura: What advice would you give to other Christians who are struggling with being Christian and childfree (or who are wanting to be childfree)?

I.Am.Free: The first piece of advice I would give is to know what you believe and why. Some of what is taught in church is not based on Scripture or even church history, but is completely the invention of some person who misinterpreted or added to the Bible. Read the Bible for yourself. Look at the historical and cultural context of what you read. Question your church leaders. Determine which aspects of your church’s teaching are from God, and which are nothing more than human tradition.

The second piece of advice is to listen to what God is telling you. I do not want to sound as if God is some sort of crystal ball or the great vending-machine-in-the-sky, but I do believe that when we are open and receptive, earnestly seeking God, and prayerful, that God does give us direction and a peace about what we should do.

Lastly, stand strong. Doing the right thing is not always easy and often does not please others. For heaven’s sake, I have even heard of Christian parents who tried to discourage their children from becoming missionaries! But I think it will be difficult to be content unless you live the life to which you were called.


Thanks so much for your thoughts and insights. This topic needs to be talked about more to help those who may be struggling with being childfree and Christian.

So to you out there: Let’s hear your thoughts.

From I.Am.Free re: online discussion: In my experience with the childfree community online, many are quick to criticize religious viewpoints. I am certain that to the nonbeliever, much of what I have said about my faith will sound absolutely ridiculous, and I can appreciate that. While I am happy to answer any follow-up questions or make clarifications, I am not interested in defending my faith to anyone who is merely attempting to make me feel foolish.

As some of my dear friends are atheists or agnostics, I have had plenty of time to engage in challenging philosophical discussions on the spiritual and to analyze my beliefs in the presence of great skepticism. I welcome this, but I have found that it does not translate well into the online world. I hope that discussion will not deteriorate into a debate about religion.

Laura Carroll: I'm especially interested in sharing with others your stories about being childfree and Christian!
Dear readers, feel free to comment here or to share with Laura at http://lauracarroll.com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Insights on Being Childfree and Christian

My interview with Laura Carroll, author of Families of Two.

Laura and I collaborated on the following piece, which is also available at her website, http://lauracarroll.com/. Here is what Laura had to say...

I recently connected with blogger I.Am.Free at her blog--Childfree Christian: Thoughts on the intersection of Christianity and childfreedom. She has some great thoughts and insights on being childfree and Christian. I hear from Lots of Christians who struggle with this, so I asked if she’d co-post an interview, and I am happy she agreed!

First a few words from I.Am.Free:

I want to thank Laura for inviting me to “co-blog” with her. I have a great deal of respect for her, and I am grateful for her support of people who wish to be true to their faith while living a life without children.

What I have to share is coming from the perspective of a married Christian woman. Unmarried people in the church certainly have their own challenges (such as being single in a pro-marriage environment!), but I do not feel qualified to address those. And I may be wrong about this, but my observation is that unmarried Christians are given a “pass” for not having children (yet). No one in the church seems to have a problem with singles, nuns, Jesus Christ, etc., not having children, but in the church -- and the culture at large -- there is an expectation that marriage leads to babies. As such, much of what I am about to say pertains to married people who have chosen not to have children.

Laura: How did you come to decide you did not want children?

I.Am.Free: I do not know if it was as much a decision as it was a realization. I do not ever recall wanting to have children, but when I was a child I assumed it was just somet
hing that happened when a person grew up. However, as I entered my teenage years, I began to dread the possibility of someday having children…the idea of pregnancy and childbirth, the thought of being around babies and small children. But I remember my mother being quite open about how she used the Pill until she was ready to have me, and one day it struck me: if you could use birth control to delay having children, why not keep using it so that you never had to have children at all? This realization brought tremendous relief and clarity to me. I simply knew that I would not have children.

Laura: What factors did you consider that relate to your faith in making this decision?

I.Am.Free: Because I was such an early articulator, I cannot say that my faith had any bearing on my initial decision. At that time, it never crossed my mind that th
ese things might be considered inconsistent or mutually exclusive.

However, as time passed, I discovered that not bearing children might actually be an expression of my faith. The Bible is full of commands and reminders to care for the poor, the suffering, and the orphans. Upon being deeply moved by stories of orphans and adoption, I began to feel as if God were calling me to be a voice for discarded young people, especially the older children who are less adoptable. I felt compelled that IF I were ever to have children, it would be through the adoption of an older child. I also realized that the cares of bearing my own children would only detract from my compassion, my drive, and my financial resources to care for others. I set to work on sponsoring a couple of adolescent girls in other countries, offering financial and moral support for other people’s adoptions, and mentoring young adults through my profession.

Stay tuned for Part II right around the corner~

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Childfree Confessions, #8 (no grandkids)

I truly do feel badly about not giving my mother grandchildren. While she can still hold out hope that my younger siblings will do so, I’m the only one who is married right now… and in the meantime, she has to watch her peers and family members become grandparents time and again. It is painful for me to watch her congratulate them year after year, knowing that she wishes she could be the one receiving the congratulations.

Mom came from a large family, and she and all of her brothers and sisters each had three or more children. Most of the children are grown now, and so my uncle has nine grandchildren and a tenth on the way. Mom’s sister (younger sister, to add insult to injury) has six grandchildren and a seventh on the way. With the way she oohs and aahs about her grand-nieces and -nephews and the way she dotes on any small child she meets, I know Mom would be a wonderful grandmother. She has told me herself how badly she wants a "grandbaby." Unfortunately, all I could do was firmly tell her that it was not going to happen with me. Don’t think for a moment that I enjoyed looking into the face of someone I love and telling her that I couldn’t be what she wants.

Unfortunately, no matter how badly I feel about it, I need to live the life to which I was called. I have disappointed my family over and over again in other areas of my life as I followed that path God laid out for me, so this is just one more disappointment for them to accept. My dad would have loved for me to follow in his footsteps in the business world; instead I was called to education. My sister wanted me to stay in our home state, but I was called across the country for graduate school. All of my family (parents, aunts, cousins, etc.) wanted me to come home after grad school, yet I was called elsewhere. And as I feel the leading for another cross-country move, I wonder how they will react to that when the time comes. (And with this thought, I note that even if I did have a baby just for mom, she would only see the child about 2-3 times a year. She would miss out on most of the kid’s childhood anyway…)

As time has passed, everyone seems to have grown accustomed to my ways. The questions of “when are moving back home?” and “do you still like your job?” and “why aren’t you having children?” have become few and far between. Even my mom has relented, but I still see that wistfulness in her demeanor whenever she sees a baby.

In the meantime, I’ll keep following the apostle Paul’s advice regarding family ties and ministry… Let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned. (I Corinthians 7:17)