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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Childfree Quotes

I like to collect quotes on a wide variety of topics, and I thought it would be fun to start a quote page on my blog. I’ll continue adding as I find more, and I hope my readers will add too.

Some of these quotes are from people/organizations with whom I don’t share much philosophy (such as VHEMT) but are nonetheless spot on. Please don’t read more into those quotes than is intended. And while some quotes are serious, others are intended to be funny – so please keep a sense of humor about you! :)

If the act of procreation were neither the outcome of a desire nor accompanied by feelings of pleasure, but a matter to be decided on the basis of purely rational considerations, is it likely the human race would still exist? Would each of us not rather have felt so much pity for the coming generation as to prefer to spare it the burden of existence, or at least not wish to take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?
-Schopenhauer (1788-1860), in his essay On the Suffering of the World

It goes beyond elitism for us to create replicas of ourselves while tens of thousands of Others' children die from lack of care each day.

I have never even idly thought for a single passing second that it might make my life nicer to have a small, rude, incontinent person follow me around screaming and making me buy them stuff for the rest of my life.
-Tim Kreider, “The Referendum” (NY Times, 9/18/09)

Oh, I sacrificed my beautiful body for nothing; this must be what it's like to a have a baby.
-C. Montgomery Burns (“The Simpsons”)

'It takes a village.' That's just a saying. Us other villagers are busy, okay? I have other things to do in the village.
-Bill Maher ("Be More Cynical" on HBO)

It’s strange to have a creation out there, a deeply mutated version of yourself, running loose and screwing everything up. I wonder if this is how parents feel?
-Dexter Morgan (“Dexter,” season 2, episode 12, “British Invasion”)

I am old and have lived a long time but I will never understand why people agree to become parents so casually. I do more research when I choose a vacuum cleaner.
-Jane, The Childfree Life

…all this droning on about baby and toddler world is not, in the long run, doing any of us any good. For me, and many other women, it's boring and selfish, and it implicitly casts judgment on the way we choose to live our lives. For men, it just confirms what many of them secretly think, which is that women, bottom line, are only really interested in one thing, and that is making babies, and why should they be promoted or taken seriously or paid well?
- Rachel Cooke (guardian.co.uk, 2/8/09)

Most of my married friends now have children, the rewards of which appear to be exclusively intangible and, like the mysteries of some gnostic sect, incommunicable to outsiders. In fact it seems from the outside as if these people have joined a dubious cult: they claim to be much happier and more fulfilled than ever before, even though they live in conditions of appalling filth and degradation, deprived of the most basic freedoms and dignity, and owe unquestioning obedience to a capricious and demented master.
-Tim Kreider, “The Referendum” (NY Times, 9/18/09)

Reason #6,437 why I'm happily childfree: the satisfaction of knowing that I'll never become a walking septic tank.
-Dar1a, The Childfree Life, in response to the fact that "by the 36th week of pregnancy, amniotic fluid is comprised of primarily urine and dead skin cells."

Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
-King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 4:1-3

Parenthood is not a Caribbean cruise, it's a big, expensive, loud, smelly, irritating and thankless job.
-Gibson, The Childfree Life

They had assumed human form in order to visit Earth, I suppose for amusement. But in vulgar human fashion they proceeded to conceive a child. And then like mawkish humans, they became attached to it. What is it about those squirming little infants that you find so appealing?
-Q (Star Trek The Next Generation, "True Q")

Children are an expensive hobby.
-a facebook acquaintance, regarding her child

The choice to have children calls for more careful justification and thought than the choice not to have children because procreation creates a dependent, needy, and vulnerable human being whose future may be at risk. The individual who chooses childlessness takes the ethically less risky path. After all, nonexistent people can’t suffer from not being created.
-Christine Overall, "Think Before You Breed" (NY Times, 6/17/12)

[I]t’s not simply that a baby puts a whole person-ful of problems into the world. It takes a useful person out of the world as well. Minimum. Often two. When you have young children, you are useless to the forces of revolution and righteousness for years.
-Caitlin Moran, How to be a Woman (quote is based on her experience having children)

I love her in that way that isn’t a friend or a lover or anything besides a child. Even though she’s not mine. And maybe for me that was the most important part of not having a child. Learning to love and not want to possess.
-Beth Lapides, "I Just Don't Want a Child" (from time.com, 8/1/13)

Lisa: Who says we're going to have kids of our own?
Bart: Not me man, this cycle of jerks has to end!
-Lisa and Bart Simpson ("The Simpsons")

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What’s In It For The Kid?

“Don’t read the comments… don’t read the comments… don’t read the comments…”
I say it over and over to myself whenever an online source opens a piece of text to the public for comments, whether it be the local newspaper, a major news outlet like CNN or FoxNews, or even just a thread in a facebook newsfeed.

But when Laura Carroll invited her readers to comment on her response piece to Caplan’s “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids,” both published in the Wall Street Journal, I considered leaving a supportive comment for Laura. Instead, I found myself wading through a sea of negativity and bingoes, interspersed with a few intelligent observations from those who took the time to think about what Laura had to say.

My mind was a flurry of activity, and I soon realized that all of the things I felt would take up far more space than would be appropriate for a comment, so I decided to post here instead. I have no desire that most of the aforementioned commenters would read my blog, so what I have to say is mostly a catharsis for me.

When it comes to how many children someone should have (including 0), one of the things that is seldom discussed is what is in it for the child. For everyone, reproducer or not, the choice ultimately boils down to one selfish reason: it’s what I want (or don’t want) to do. There may be addenda to this reason (…because I want someone to take care of me when I’m old, because I want to experience unconditional love, because I like children, because I don’t like children, because I don’t want the responsibility, because I want to nurture the relationships I already have, etc.), but it is still about me and my desires. From the title of his piece, Caplan clearly does not dispute this; in fact, he quite encourages everyone to follow their own desires to have children.

People sometimes object to the word “selfish,” but I’m not trying to imply that it is necessarily wrong to follow your heart’s desire when deciding whether or not to reproduce. However, in response to Caplan’s encouragement for people to have more children, I would like to say wait -- what about the children? Shouldn’t we think a little harder about this?

Laura tackled several relevant issues in her piece, so I want to zero in on the one that has been weighing on me lately: what is in it for the child. My view, of course, is colored by my being a highly introverted, somewhat misanthropic, quasi-antinatalist, depressive realist who wonders why anyone would want to bring a child into this suffering world in the first place. None of these would-be children asked to be born, and each time one of us has a child, we force that child into a harsh and tumultuous world to experience a lifetime of pain. Personally, I think that if my parents had taken the time to consider that, they could have saved me a hell of a lot of grief. Yes, I would have missed out on all of the amazing things my life has had to offer, but by not existing in the first place, I would have been none the wiser.

And going back to the impetus for this post… reading the comments to Laura’s article only served to reinforce that I would not want to impose a world of such nasty people onto my potential offspring.

Now I realize that God may have a plan for each of us, blah, blah, blah, and so I cannot bring myself to believe that no one should have children simply for the reasons I described above. What I must believe is that we ought not be so flippant about procreating; it should be done with thoughtful and prayerful consideration. We should also carefully consider the effects of bringing additional children into this troubled world -- children who are more likely to just be entitled consumers who gobble up resources and cause more trouble than to actually solve any problems -- rather than focusing our financial and emotional resources to something that is likely to make the world a better place… say, adoption of any of the 140,000,000 orphans who are already out there?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Childfree Stereotypes: Travel (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas)

Another stereotype that I have often encountered about the childfree is that we are really into traveling. This is a stereotype that I do not find to be negative, although it is usually stated by someone who is clearly envious of the mobility that comes with not having children, and so there is often a jab associated with it like, “Look at how much money you are selfishly wasting on all this travel,” or, “Your life must be so empty so you need to fill it with all of this travel.”

I’ve met enough childfree people now to realize that plenty of them are homebodies and feel no urge to travel; others cannot afford it. Personally, I fit the travel-loving stereotype perfectly, but it’s not to fill any sort of void. In fact, it is my parents who instilled a love of traveling in me. They taught me to be curious about new places, to love learning, to seek adventure. By the time I was a teenager, I had logged thousands of miles in cross-country trips with my family. The travel budget could not accommodate airfare for the five of us -- mom, dad, and three kids -- so I grew up with a solid appreciation of The Road Trip. That appreciation has thrived to this day, but I must say that the road trips I have taken alone or with a friend have been far more peaceful and have often generated happier memories than those childhood trips filled with sibling rivalry. (How and why my parents tolerated traveling with us kids will forever remain a mystery to me.)

A couple of years ago, I realized that this lifetime of road trips had landed me in about forty of the fifty states, and I made it my mission to visit all fifty states. Some of the decisions were easy: a conference in New Orleans, Louisiana? Why, of course I’ll attend! Others, not so much…
Me: I guess I would like to go to Connecticut and Rhode Island this summer.
Husband: What’s in Connecticut and Rhode Island?
Me: I don’t know; I’ve just never been there.
Husband: Well, OK, if that’s what you really want.
Me: “REALLY want” might be too strong. But I need to cross them off my list.

However, I have been pleasantly surprised at what each state has to offer.

Some states really are destinations. If you must fly there, fine. There will be plenty to do once you get there. Other places provide all kinds of enjoyment, but you are better off road-tripping it so that you can see all of the little details – the things that might not be worth planning an entire trip around. I’d like to take a few posts to offer what I have enjoyed about the states I have traveled to and through.

We’ll start with the As:
Alabama: I only ever drove through this state, but as you near the Florida border, the landscape is quite beautiful. I suspect that border area would be a relatively inexpensive, warm, and lovely place to vacation.

Arizona: Phoenix is a big city like any other. Good for shopping, restaurants, airports, and the like. To see the “wild west,” get out of the city.
Jerome is an adorable little town for a short visit (good for a road trip around Arizona). It almost became a ghost town, but it retained a small population and some interesting historic sites. Cute shops there too.
Williams is the town that time forgot once I-40 drew traffic away from Route 66. But it’s a great place to have a big biker-dude at a cafĂ© grill you the best sandwich ever, and you can also take a train to the Grand Canyon from Williams.
Stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. It’s easy to make a quick stop as you drive to or from the Petrified Forest national park near Holbrook.
Flagstaff is the place to stay if you can’t afford the resorts at the Grand Canyon. It’s only about an hour drive between the two. Flag (as the locals call it) is the largest city in northern Arizona and will provide you all the amenities you need in that part of the state. If you head west from Flag on I-40 to California or Las Vegas and you see a sign that says, “No services for the next 60 miles,” take it very seriously. If you need gasoline, a bathroom, water, whatever, STOP IMMEDIATELY. They are NOT kidding. You won’t see another sign of civilization until you hit Kingman.
Sedona will blow you away with its beautiful rock formations, and you mustn’t miss the drive up (or down) 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff. There is also an exciting arts community there. And though the spiritual “vortex” and new age influence (plus the UFO sightings) might make a Christian expect spiritual conflict there, God’s presence is very strong in northern Arizona.
Finally, whatever the weather is like, whatever time of year you are there, I don’t care if it’s snowing in the mountains or you get a daily downpour in the “monsoon season” in August, bring lots of water. Always have it with you.

Arkansas: I want to tread lightly here so that I don’t offend potential readers from Arkansas. It’s been years since I visited a friend near Little Rock. Glad to be able to say I have been there, have no interest in going back.

Feel free to comment with your own travel advice for these places!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why Aren’t You Moving to Ohio?

I have been reflecting on some of the things I said about justifications in a previous post and about why I felt I needed to start justifying myself. Based on the comments I received about that post, I think that most of my readers understand. For anyone who doesn’t, I offer up an analogy - a composite of first-hand conversations, experiences of friends, or criticisms aimed at the childfree in general.

Q: So when are you moving to Ohio?

A: Wait - what? Ohio? Who said anything about moving to Ohio? I’m not moving to Ohio.

Q: Oh, I just assumed you would. Everyone else you know moved to Ohio when they finished college. Why don’t you want to move there?

A: I just don’t have any desire to. [This is where the conversation should end.]

Q: But moving to Ohio was the best decision I ever made. Surely if you tried it, you would like it there.

A: I drive through Ohio all the time, so it’s not as if I have no idea what it’s like. Plus, I’ve had friends who lived there. I enjoyed visiting them; it’s a nice enough place to travel, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Q: Well, yes, you have visited there, but it’s different when you actually live there.

A: Yes, I’m sure it is. But that still doesn’t make me want to move there. It’s a big country, and there are so many other places I would rather be if I were going to move. Besides, there are no jobs in my field there right now, and the cost of housing is far greater than what I am enjoying in my current location. What’s the incentive?

Q: There’s your problem. You just don’t have enough faith. If you moved to Ohio, God would provide you with a job, enough money for housing, and anything else you might need to live in Ohio. I think that you are just rebelling against God’s plan for your life.

A: I suspect that if God really wanted me to move to Ohio, he would have given me a clear path in that direction. Not everyone is meant to live in Ohio. There is much work to be done elsewhere. And what do you suppose my life would be like if I moved to Ohio against the will of God?

Catch my drift?