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, July 10, 2011

Swimming Against The Tide, Part II

So, in my last post I spent most of my time complaining about why I don’t fit in and how isolating it can be. I still feel it very keenly, but today I want to focus on hope.

Feeling like no one “gets you” can be difficult and painful, no doubt about it. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it. My last post was written after DH and I had spent a few days away from each other, and I was feeling lost. As much as I hate to be so reliant on another person (hey, my nickname has always been “Miss Independence,” and my tagline is, “I can do it myself!”), he is my greatest ally -- the one who makes me feel “normal,” the one who understands my opinions and preferences, the one who swims against the tide with me. When I am with him, I am different but I am safe and supported.

When I said in my last post that I felt that I don’t even belong on this planet, I realize that feeling is not new-to-the-world either. In Hebrews, Paul* described people of faith as being “strangers and foreigners on the earth” who “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Heb. 11:13-16 NRSV). Regardless of who we are or what characteristics we possess (or don’t), we believers are all aliens here. My hope is that someday we will find ourselves in a place where we do belong and that those elements that once isolated us will no longer matter.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis describes this in a way that moves me every time:
Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.

I don’t fit in here, but that’s OK. I’m not meant to.

*I know there is some dispute about the authorship of the letter to the Hebrews. Here I am following the tradition I was taught in my theology classes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swimming Against The Tide, Part I

I know that a lot of childfree feel at least a small sense of alienation from the rest of the world because of our counter-culture decision not to breed. I have encountered many of us (myself included) whose unconventional attitudes extend beyond family to many other areas of life. In a few of my posts about religion, marriage, and left-handedness, I have described or alluded to feelings of not fitting in. Recently, events have occurred in my life making me feel that not only do I not fit in with a certain group of people, but that I don’t even belong on this friggin’ planet.

While I will probably wait until some other time to blog about those specific events, right now I feel compelled to reflect on why these events hit me so hard and to share a small bit of camaraderie (ironically) with anyone else who feels as alien as I do.

Some of this is in my core personality. Laura Carroll and others have noticed anecdotally that many childfree are introverts. In the article “Revenge of the Introvert,” we read that the style of an introvert is in contrast to “noisy” American culture. We are misunderstood by the extraverts who dominate the culture, sometimes accusing us of poor communications skills, of holding back ideas, or of social awkwardness / shyness. Worse for me, in many settings I actually am socially awkward. All of this makes it hard for me to connect with most people. (I highly recommend that introverts and extraverts alike read this article. For introverts, it might help you verbalize what you already know about yourself; for the extraverts, it might help you understand what goes on in the heads of us introverts. One warning though – unfortunately for me, it also dredged up some old hurts that I have suffered at the hands of extraverts.)

My belief system also plays a role in my isolation. While most of the country seems happy to put themselves in the box of a mainstream political party, of course I have to identify as a Libertarian, putting me at odds with both Democrats and Republicans. Indeed, shortly after President Obama took office, Libertarians were pretty much placed on a Homeland Security watch list as potential terrorists (never mind that Libertarians tend to be pacifists…).  I suppose it’s no wonder that a recent study found that Libertarians tend to be more unhappy than Republicans and Democrats (perhaps also because we are the ones whose eyes are wide open to government trampling on freedom under the guise of “being for the common/collective good” or “upholding America’s moral values”).

And when a patriotic holiday rolls around and I go to the house of God where I am asked to pledge my allegiance to the Republic, and everyone around me is all “yay America,” I wonder if I am the only one who has an issue with the “worship” of the U.S. government? (One of these days on this blog maybe we’ll have a chance to talk about separation of church and state. For now, I have to give a shout out to a Mennonite brother who does a beautiful job articulating his church’s stance on this: “Why I Don’t Sing the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’”)

Even when I’m not trying to be different, I always end up doing my own thing, the opposite of what everyone else is doing. I don’t mean to be so contrary. I don’t want to be all alone. Of course, each of us is unique, and when I feel that I’m the only childfree-Christian-introvert-southpaw-Libertarian-X-Y-Z, someone else could easily say that she is the only Buddhist-Democrat-dermatologist-iguana owner-A-B-C. In that sense, I suppose we are all alone.

And though I like who I am and wouldn’t change a thing -- and I believe that God has sculpted me into the person I am -- I still cannot help but think that life would be so much easier, possibly even happier, if I were just like everyone else.