Going Childfree

We've heard from happily child-free people on this blog in No Kids For Me. We've gotten stories about people going to extreme measures to have children in Ladies, Freeze Your Eggs. I've tackled my own mixed feelings about having kids in Can Freedom and Kids Co-Exist?.

Now there's a large-scale study exploring the subject: Dr. Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, a University of Florida sociologist, and colleague Gretchen Pendell anaylzed two surveys of 11,043 adults 25 and older to assess attitudes about childlessness in America by asking such questions as whether "it is better to have a child than to remain childless" and whether "the main purpose of marriage these days is to have children."

The results, announced last week by a University of Florida press release, are published in the November issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. Acceptance of childlessness by both men and women has clearly been gaining ground in our society since the 1970s. Americans are waiting longer to become parents, with the average age of first-time mothers now over 25, with more than a quarter of adults remaining childless into their 30s. Interestingly, despite the passion that most mothers have towards their children, the study shows that women view childlessness much more favorably than men do. The survey author hypothesizes that this view is likely because parenting places greater demands on mothers, especially those juggling work and family responsibilities.

"The costs that women experience related to childbearing are greater the higher their level of education in terms of potentially lost income, promotions and opportunities for career advancement," Koropeckyj-Cox said. "For men, however, fatherhood generally brings enhanced status and emotional benefits, with few if any costs in the labor market."

The study found that white women were most accepting of childlessness, followed by black women. Men, regardless of race, were least accepting. Among whites, women were twice as likely as men to look favorably upon not having children. Positive attitudes toward childlessness also were greater among young and middle-aged adults. Within this age group, women were nearly 80 percent more likely than men to view a child-free lifestyles positively, the study found.

So what are your views on not having children? What if your husband or religion or parents pressure you to have kids -- and you don't want them? What are the pros and cons of this trend towards greater acceptance of parenthood as a choice?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  October 29, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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Fantastic. If you don't want them, don't have them. I love being a mom, love having kids, wouldn't trade it for anything, but it is not for everyone. Greater acceptance of childlessness would be good for children, in that hopefully, fewer children who aren't really, truly wanted will be born.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 29, 2007 7:38 AM

Don't have them if you don't want them. It wouldn't be fair to the kids if you did.

Posted by: dennis5 | October 29, 2007 7:51 AM

Who was first today?


I wanted to be childless. But Mrs. Mako pointed out to me that because of the insane demands by mankind for Shark Fin Soup and the general fear of us, our numbers are shrinking.

All of us sharks must reproduce to try to maintain our decreasing population.

Posted by: nonamehere | October 29, 2007 8:04 AM

"What are the pros and cons of this trend towards greater acceptance of parenthood as a choice?"

I'm hard pressed to find a "con" side to this. Isn't the goal of a free society the availability of options and the greater acceptance of those options?

I count myself lucky that I haven't experienced greater pressure to have kids. I bet there are some people who have been pressured, and that must be a very difficult situation. My mom divorced her first husband because he didn't want kids (I know, something they should have discussed before marriage).

My husband and I want to remain childfree, but we might change our minds as we get older. We view it exactly as it should be viewed: as one of many options in our future.

Posted by: Meesh | October 29, 2007 8:17 AM

I don't even really see a discussion here. Kids aren't for everyone, and it's perfectly valid to choose not to have children. What's the alternative? Forced birth?

Posted by: newsahm | October 29, 2007 8:19 AM

Ask Sue.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 8:24 AM

NewSAHM - There may not be a discussion for you (which is great for you) but ask women who don't want kids and you will see how they are often, sadly, treated as strange, unnatural creatures. There is a ton of pressure on women in particular to become mothers. Just think of our language -- how often have you heard, "It's the best thing I've ever done" or "I didn't grow up until I had children" or other similar meant-to-be-wonderful statements that inadvertently insult women who can biologically have kids but make a conscious choice not to. These women are often called selfish, "unmaternal" and far worse. In some countries, women who cannot have children are abandoned by their husbands and biological families; they are considered inferior, unfeminine, and useless.

That's why it's significant that going childfree, whether due to medical reasons or pure choice, is increasingly accepted in our society.

Posted by: leslie4 | October 29, 2007 8:35 AM

Or, Leslie, the best one: you just won't know until you have them.

What if it doesn't go so well, someone didn't really want them, is pressured - then can yu give them back?

Yeah, I hear people say things like: well, that's what you do, you have kids. It really disgusts me. As if that's what society has laid out, so I must obey. How awful for those kids. Or, I do know women who just married whoever they could find cause they wanted kids, darnit - no matter who the dad was or how the kids were treated once they got here. It's quite tragic.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 8:44 AM

I have a child 100% because my husband wanted one. I would have been very happy to be "child-free", although I love her dearly, of course, now that I have her.

Posted by: shandavegh | October 29, 2007 8:45 AM

If you are unwilling to accept a child into your life, you shouldn't be having sex. Period!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 29, 2007 8:49 AM

About Gutless Coward's comment: Is Gutless male or female? Just curious...Or maybe this was a facetious comment?

Posted by: skylark1 | October 29, 2007 8:55 AM

When I was in my mid-20s, one of my colleagues said she and her fiance had decided not to have children. At the time, I thought it was either (a) her just saying it because her husband-to-be hated kids (confirmed), (b) her saying it because she physically couldn't have kids (suspected but not confirmed), or (c) her saying it because she was at heart an anticonformist. I also thought it was weird to decide such a think and state it so unequivocally at such a young age. Flash forward 15 years, and she and her husband have been married for 10 years but are divorcing because she decided 2 years ago she wanted a child. It is heartbreaking to watch. I realize that there are women out there who know they don't want children and perhaps have always known they don't want children, but watching what my colleague went through really drove it home for me that you "never say never".

Beyond that story, I think that whatever people want to do (have kids or not) is fine by me, as long as they don't try to convert me to their way of thinking. Here's another potential topic: I have two friends whose marriages are in trouble. Each has one child. Both are trying to get pregnant again even though they know the marriage has no hope, because they want their child to have a sibling to "get through the divorce with". Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | October 29, 2007 8:59 AM

What's there to discuss on this issue? If you want children, go ahead and have them. If you don't want them, then take precautions to avoid having them.

As for marriage being "in order to have children", someone needs to tell that to a lot of today's young women, because many do not feel that marriage is a prerequisite to having children any longer. I'm not talking about the ones with surprises, but the ones who make a conscious decision to have a child before (or in lieu of) being married.

Posted by: johnl | October 29, 2007 9:00 AM

workingmomx: well, my sister knew that there were 'issues' with her husband, she married him anyway, and proceeded to have not one, not two but THREE children with him, anyway.

My SIL married someone who masquerades as a rug. NOW, after TWO CHILDREN, she's complaining that he doesn't help out, etc. Um, he is doing EXACTLY what he did before, SHE wanted the kids. In this case (there aren't many)I would defend him, as he is acting exactly like anyone with a brain would have suspected.

Actually, DH's aunt did what you describe - her and her husband had a kid - then things were going horribly in the marriage and she decided to have number 2. Who is the darling, while number one is pretty much discarded. No. 2 has always been given whatever he wants - he's actually come out of it all pretty well, considering, I think (I don't know him that well, tho).

I do have a friend who has a miserable marriage and she has one kid who is out of control - and just had another one. A mutual friend of ours was telling me when they were trying (I *SO* didn't want to know) - and said: well, at least the kid will have a sibling to get through all of this. Such a sad state of affairs.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 9:10 AM

Land, there is only so much land to live on. Food, there is only so much food to eat. Water, there is only so much clean water under the oasis. Votes, there are only so many votes to decide power, who gets power. One child each, if you and eleven friends have one child each and Ibrahim and Zaynab have twelve children, the land, the food, the water, the power, Ibrahim's and Zaynab's children, they have to share it with the children of you and your friends. Childfree, if you and eleven friends choose childfree, that leaves twice as much land, food, clean water and political power for Ibrahim and Zaynab's children. Go childfree, already more boys named Muhammad are born in United Kingdom than named John, keep going childfree, we love it, soon England will have King Muhammad the way Morocco has King Muhammad.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | October 29, 2007 9:14 AM

Two words: ILLEGALS AnchorBabies

Posted by: richierichsr | October 29, 2007 9:14 AM

Working Mom X - I think it's horrible that your friends would be trying to conceive children into failing marriages just so their other children will have a sibling. Sounds like a sick case of "misery loves company."

I used to work in an office where my boss and his wife were childless by choice, another co-worker and his wife were also childless by choice, and my third co-worker was not married. Imagine how awkward it was for me to announce my pregnancy! If anyone was on the receiving end of the negative comments it was me, as I was subjected to several years of backhanded comments about how miserable children were and how awful your life would be if they were part of it. Thankfully this (mostly) ended once I became a mother.

I have no trouble with anyone else's choices - it is absolutely not for everyone and even though most people perceive it to be a selfish decision (and in some cases it is) I don't see what's wrong with being a bit selfish anyway. My husband and I have delayed having a second child so we can take advantage of some travel and job opportunities and yes, it's a bit selfish, but it's also a decision I feel we are entitled to make for ourselves.

Last anecdote - a good friend of mine met and married her husband as they were in their very late 30s. When they met and were dating they were agreed that they would not have children - they were to used to their lives as they were. Well, not long after they were married both (thankfully!) decided that they did desperately want to have children. Now in their early 40s, they struggled but finally with help of IVF gave birth to healthy twins. Another couple we know who married in their 20s also stated from the beginning they were not interested in children. Again, within a few years of marrying, we learned they were expecting. Apparently they also changed their minds (and they had another after that!) So another "never say never."

Posted by: viennamom | October 29, 2007 9:15 AM

Eh, so if you don't want kids people may make snarky comments to you. People have made snarky comments about my decision to have children, too. There are jerks of all stripes.

Posted by: floof | October 29, 2007 9:19 AM

I think you have to be very tough to make the choice not to have kids in our country today. You deal with a lot of intentional and unintentional pressure.

The worst case I've seen was a woman whose husband and religion pressured her immensely to have kids. She was severely anorexic, I believe in response to the pressure. This did solve the problem -- she couldn't conceive since she weighed about 80 pounds. But a very sad way to respond to the accusation that she was a bad person for not wanting children.

I find that people who don't have kids do not make the same kind of judgmental comments about people who have children. They don't say things like, "Don't you regret having kids because it's hurt your career so much?" or other things that certainly have a grain of truth.

Perhaps the childfree among us are the most accepting of individual choices when it comes to having or not having kids.

Posted by: leslie4 | October 29, 2007 9:25 AM

My husband and I are asked on almost a daily basis when we are going to have kids. We dont think its right for us on many different levels however we have been told various things from "you're young and will change your mind" to "well thats what God intended" (too bad we're athiests) and someone in my family is even knitting a blanket just in case.

What I don't understand is why our choice is open for discussion - it should be a private matter but since its the business of people around us to know, its a personal choice and it should be respected.

Posted by: mhseminole | October 29, 2007 9:27 AM

With childfree couples, no one knows if they made a decision to not have children for personal reasons, physically cannot have children, or are trying to have them and it's just not working out.

Do strangers come up to couples with children and ask if they were planned or not? Asking a couple without children when (if) they are going to reproduce can be just as rude and insensitive.

Posted by: johnl | October 29, 2007 9:32 AM

WorkingMomX - So, are these women who KNOW that their marriages are destined for divorce or is it more that their marriages just don't seem to be working (from your perspective)?

I would find it really hard to justify having a second child if I knew my marriage was over. I don't see the benefit for the first child either. Getting a new sibling and then having mom and dad get divorced - that can't be easy for any child.

I guess I just wonder who has decided that your friends marriages are in trouble - you or the friends? This isn't meant to be snarky, it is just that I really can't imagine a person KNOWING the marriage is over and still getting pregnant. That just seems so completely illogical to me. Seems more likely (or at least, more logical) that your friends probably still think that their marriages will last.

Posted by: londonmom | October 29, 2007 9:34 AM

Since I'm only 23, the only thing I can say is that I don't want (nor do I have) children right now. My feelings may change as I get older, and become more financially stable. I can see myself with or without children.

Posted by: Strawberry23 | October 29, 2007 9:36 AM

Do strangers come up to couples with children and ask if they were planned or not?
========================================

yes, Johnl, people do ask this, espically if a couple has more than the "perfect" number of children.

As you say, rude!

Posted by: anonthistime | October 29, 2007 9:36 AM

I know only a few women who are childless "by choice". This choice was not made by them but made for them the way their lives turned out. One never got married (she is GREAT with kids and would have made a wonderful mother); another married a divorced man with already two grown children, another due to infertility. They are happy well adjusted people and APPEAR happy about their situation but who really knows what they feel inside? The only "militant" child free woman I met was a colleague in her 20's who made snide remarks to me about "renting some children so she can justify leaving early" and before anybody sais anything about placing undue burden on co-workers, our jobs were completely separate. Personally, I never ask people if they have/don't have children, unless they volunteer. It is a touchy subject. When my husband and I were trying and failing, every single comment about why we don't have children yet nearly brought me to tears. Infertility is a desease, but people are ashamed of talking about it...

Posted by: tsm | October 29, 2007 9:39 AM

Is anyone participating in this forum the child of parents who didn't really want children? I am. When they married, my parents agreed not to have children and changed their minds 7 years later. I was born when they had been married (and pretty set in their ways) for 8 years.

My mom was (and is) a great mom but my father always resented the many ways in which my sister and I took all her time and attention. It was palpable in the house all the time. Things finally eased when I graduated from college and we have a great relationship now.

It's funny, there are all these pictures of my father playing with my sister and I when we were small. Since it never happened, anytime he did play with us, my mother ran and grabbed the camera. To a stranger those pictures show a very involved father. To those who were there, those pictures simply captured fleeting moments. There are no pictures of my mom playing with us -- that happened all the time.

Suffice it to say that this has dramatically impacted my choice about having children. Sure, it's a nice idea but what if I dislike the reality as much as my father did?

Posted by: emmlehr | October 29, 2007 9:53 AM

The question at the end of the column asking about the pros and cons of this trend to parenthood as a choice is a bit off the mark, in my opinion. Parenthood is a personal choice, and one that isn't meant to be questioned by anyone except the couple involved. If you want children or not, it's your decision.

I think a lot of people questioning the decisions of the childfree lose sight of the fact that there is another life involved here: the possible child's. They angle their arguments towards the people they see as potential parents, without considering why they might not want kids. And there's nothing worse for a child to know that they're not wanted. That doesn't take into account all the people who want kids, but can't have them, for whom those questions are going to be very painful.

As someone who's decided not to have children, I've heard most of the questions and arguments over why I should have kids. While I'm a firm believer in knowing that things can change, there's some decisions that won't, because the reasons why they were made will not change. That reply usually is sufficient for family, and if it's someone I don't know, well... it doesn't bother me if I don't change someone's mind. Still, if more acceptance brings respect for the choices of all- whether you decide to have a dozen kids or none at all- then I'd say if there is a pro in all of this, more acceptance would be it.

Posted by: Sitka1 | October 29, 2007 10:00 AM

such a poignant story about your mom taking all those pictures of the few times your dad played with you. i feel kind of the same way about the pictures i have of my dad and me.

Posted by: leslie4 | October 29, 2007 10:00 AM

How many people have children, though, thinking it will make them happy, or that the world tells them that's what they are supposed to do, or that they think that's what they're obligated to do, or whatever?
MIL is just overwhelmingly just so happy cause her kids are married with kids. My SIL was even engaged her first week in college (!) - and engaged something like 10 times before marrying her now husband. All because her mom imparted on her that getting married and having kids was the most important thing anyone could ever do. Even if it's the wrong thing, apparently.

I think plenty of people have kids for various reasons. I never really wanted kids/had the desire, whatever, until I was in a stable relationship where we were headed for the altar, etc. So when I meet/met women who talk about how they always wanted kids, or how they do want kids, so they want to get married, I don't understand those feelings (I believe them, I just don't understand them).

It's such a complicated thing - cause really, in the best of circumstances, there should be 2 parents, a support system, etc. There should also be people who really want the kids. AND then, no matter how much you WANT it or work for it or whatever, you may not be able to have them. It's not about how hard you work or anything (although, with most the rest of our lives, that's what we're told: work hard, you'll achieve success) - and you can do all you want, sometimes 'success' (i.e., a child) just won't come - the 'natural' way, anyway. And I think that's part of the frustration of some couples. The difficulty in accepting that no matter how hard you work - or whatever - it might not happen.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 10:01 AM

"My SIL was even engaged her first week in college (!) - and engaged something like 10 times before marrying her now husband."

WOW! She must be some looker! What did she do with the 10 engagement rings?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 10:08 AM

not at all. Someone who is not very sure of herself, actually (you should see a couple of the guys! - she needed the engagements as validation and as her series of drama queen moments she has quite a bit). She gave them back, I guess - if she really even got any. The one she got from the guy who married her she went out and bought herself.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 10:10 AM

"...how often have you heard, "It's the best thing I've ever done" or "I didn't grow up until I had children" or other similar meant-to-be-wonderful statements..."

Leslie is right. This happens a lot. I've read similar statements on this blog. The trick to not taking offense is knowing that people are flawed. The person saying this might be (a) happy with kids and trying to influence your decision, (b) unhappy with kids and trying to validate her choice (c) unhappy with life and trying to make herself seem important, or any number of strange reasons. Who knows what compels a person to comment on your decisions? Just like the rude people we talked about in Brian's last blog, it's best to to ignore the people who say these little tidbits.

Posted by: Meesh | October 29, 2007 10:15 AM

"her series of drama queen moments"

Logical.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 10:16 AM

We have a rocky marriage that's gotten even worse due to the stresses of raising our newborn, who we both love deeply. I'm angry because I thought things would somehow get easier if I waited till I got my career in order before marrying and children. Now I feel trapped with a woman who does not want to adapt and grow in our relationship and our son just makes it even worse. My take, don't fall into any conformist traps. Make sure you are going to be happy with the path you choose before you go down it. And if you are not sure, DON'T DO IT.

Posted by: bobh1967 | October 29, 2007 10:18 AM

I know this 'debate' all too well, although I'm now on the other side of the fence. When my husband and I got married over 10 years ago, I absolutely did not want children. I wanted nothing to DO with children -- I was just not a 'kid' person. I married a man who felt the same.

10 plus years later, I'm now pregnant with our first child, and we couldn't be more excited.

I've lived through all of the meaningless, stupid comments people have said (anyone who's childfree by choice can probably recite them with me). I still, to this day, cannot understand why another human being felt they had all the answers for me. Of course, the people who gave us the most grief were the ones who looked the most miserable with their kids.

Our decision to have kids (well, we're starting with one...) is a combination of our age, finishing school, and getting to a comfortable place in our careers. Luckily, we both came to the same conclusion about having kids (I know some have not been so lucky).

One thing that bugs me about being a 'late child bloomer' is some people's insinuation that because we waited so long, we're going to have a hard time adapting to a kid. Excuse me, but our marriage is so strong BECAUSE we can adapt. We adapted through a cross-country moves, we've adapted to grad school (even both attending at the same time), etc.

Regardless, we're really looking forward to this next chapter in our life.

Posted by: Corvette1975 | October 29, 2007 10:28 AM

"...how often have you heard, "It's the best thing I've ever done" or "I didn't grow up until I had children" or other similar meant-to-be-wonderful statements..."

Leslie is right. This happens a lot. I've read similar statements on this blog. The trick to not taking offense is knowing that people are flawed. The person saying this might be (a) happy with kids and trying to influence your decision, (b) unhappy with kids and trying to validate her choice (c) unhappy with life and trying to make herself seem important, or any number of strange reasons. Who knows what compels a person to comment on your decisions? Just like the rude people we talked about in Brian's last blog, it's best to to ignore the people who say these little tidbits.

__________________
Or Meesh, maybe it is truly the best thing they've ever done? I don't see how saying wonderful things about having children is any different than someone without kids talking about how wonderful their life is without children and the different benefits they have. As long as everyone is happy with their choice then why not share your opinion? I think sometimes, women especailly, get this message that it is not o.k. to say good things about yourself and your life. It is o.k. to like your life and say good things about it when asked.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 29, 2007 10:32 AM

Londonmom, you're asking "So, are these women who KNOW that their marriages are destined for divorce or is it more that their marriages just don't seem to be working (from your perspective)?"

Both women have told me outright that their marriage is doomed, and in one case, she even made plans to leave, but stopped because of her son. I think they ask me about this because my husband and his first wife had one child before splitting, and they wanted my take on whether I felt that it impacted her that she didn't have a full sibling (she's got several half-siblings). I think it definitely has. No matter how much I've tried, she has always felt that she doesn't quite belong completely in either of her families. Her mother has been married twice, has a child with her second husband, and stepkids with the third. Her father and I have two children. I think if she had a sibling, she would at least have someone she felt she really belonged with. (This has come out of years of therapy, FYI.) So do I fault my friends for thinking of having another baby for the sake of their other child? No. But it's not a decision I'm incredibly comfortable with, either.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | October 29, 2007 10:32 AM

Corvette1975,

I understand what you're going through. My wife and I decided about a year ago to try and start a family, but we heard for years before all the comments about why we should have kids, etc, etc. No one seemed to realize if we did decide to start a family, it would be for our own reasons, on our own timeline, and no amount of argument from them would change that. My MIL especially had to have a talk from my wife to back off on the grandchild speeches, and she finally stopped.

Posted by: johnl | October 29, 2007 10:38 AM

"It is o.k. to like your life and say good things about it when asked"

Sure sure sure. I agree. But the key phrase here is "when asked." In my case, these little gems are always offered after the person finds out you don't want kids. I've never asked how people like their children, but I've heard these phrases multiple times. When they're offered without provocation, they seem less like "I love my life!" and more like "my life is the right choice and everyone should have my life!"

Posted by: Meesh | October 29, 2007 10:41 AM

My in laws have five grandsons. My MIL is campaigning for one of us (DH is one of three) to have another, so we can have a girl (really, half teasing...). None of us is budging...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 10:42 AM

It is amazing to me, really, if someone doesn't want kids - then someone else is trying to convince them *to* have kids? That's a little screwed up, I think - I mean, doesn't anyone consider the kid? You should just have kids cause society says so? That's so bizarre.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 10:43 AM

"what are your views on not having children?" -- these people are selfish narcissists who should be denied social security benefits. Why should my children pay taxes to support these parasites in their old age?

Posted by: mucus99 | October 29, 2007 10:45 AM

mucus: what a way to start a fight! ;)

Everyone for themselves! Let's just have kids to take care of us in our old age...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 10:46 AM

I think it's great if couples decide NOT to have children.

I think IVF is playing God and is unnatural, and I believe there is a reason why many people cannot have children.People claim to believe in God, but do not want to accept that maybe God had a different plan for their lives than having an army of children.

I also believe that many people having children, have no business having them.

Men are more reluctant to go childfree because it affects their ego, their machismo. Women are more often the parent raising them and the ONLY ones giving birth to them. If more men actually had to give birth and actually do the caregiving, they would think twice more often.

If you decide you want to have kids later on in life---ADOPT.

Posted by: morningglory51 | October 29, 2007 10:48 AM

Or Meesh, maybe it is truly the best thing they've ever done? I don't see how saying wonderful things about having children is any different than someone without kids talking about how wonderful their life is without children and the different benefits they have. As long as everyone is happy with their choice then why not share your opinion? I think sometimes, women especailly, get this message that it is not o.k. to say good things about yourself and your life. It is o.k. to like your life and say good things about it when asked.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 29, 2007 10:32 AM

But I don't know too many women who've decided not to have children and then extole how awesome it is not to have children and how it's the best thing they've ever done. I think it's just out of the norm, in the same way a single woman doesn't go off on how wonderful it is to be single and how she's never going to marry. Anything against the norm people will be less hesitant to publicly proclaim.

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 10:51 AM

Certainly if you have a troubled marriage to start with having kids will NOT make it better and usually exacerbates the problems. My late father-in-law's second marriage was in trouble. They already had one child and the advice from a marriage counselor (in the early 1960's) was to have another child. They did and you can see where that leads too... I am glad they don't give THAT advice anymore!

There is nothing wrong with being child-free. Some people shouldn't be parents.

Posted by: mosere | October 29, 2007 10:52 AM

"If more men actually had to give birth and actually do the caregiving, they would think twice more often."

A lot more than twice!!!!!!!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 10:55 AM

Posted by: morningglory51 | October 29, 2007 10:48 AM

Maybe, I also think part of it is some biological urge to "spread the seed" by men. My sister is uncomfortable with the idea of giving birth(for various reasons physical and psychological), though she wants kids. So at first they discussed adoption, but brother-in-law (who is NOT a machismo kind of guy) put his foot down and said if she's able, he wants kids that are biologically his own. Just a thought.

I also thing that for a Mom, giving birth can change all your reluctant feelings of mothering completely. My Mom didn't really want to have kids, but she did so because my father wanted us. And of course, after giving birth to her first child, she was in love and wanted a second and has never regretted the decision. So when someone tells me I will "change my mind" or that "it's different when it's your kids" I agree with them. However, that doesn't mean that I WANT that biological change to kick in!

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 10:59 AM

There are a lot of kids already in the world that need a good home. Adopt!
W

Posted by: George20 | October 29, 2007 11:03 AM

"I have two friends whose marriages are in trouble. Each has one child. Both are trying to get pregnant again even though they know the marriage has no hope, because they want their child to have a sibling to "get through the divorce with". Anyone have any thoughts on this?"

Dang. This would never even occur to me -- I would have trouble picking my jaw up off the floor if someone said that to me. Babies and toddlers are stressful under even the best circumstances; I can't imagine adding that stress into an already troubled marriage.

And what about the kids? Making your existing child adjust to both a new baby and a divorce at the same time is thoughtless at best. One or the other is a big enough deal for a kid to deal with.

Posted by: laura33 | October 29, 2007 11:04 AM

"If more men actually had to give birth and actually do the caregiving, they would think twice more often."

Isn't it great the men have 2 head to think twice with. Maybe that's the problem. Ha!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 29, 2007 11:15 AM

The religion I was raised with teaches that marriage and sex are for childbearing, which is why I didn't get married in that church and now consider myself a member of another religion. My husband and I made a conscious decision not to have children - even before we were married over 10 years ago.

When I explain that I don't think I'm capable of handling the lifetime responsibility in the manner I would expect of myself, I've been told that understanding the commitment involved would make me a perfect parent. We love the children of our friends and family, and we're happy to lend a hand (or buy presents!), but we know that raising a child is not for us. We're just thankful these are the people who are raising the next generation.

Nevertheless, I have stopped saying that we're "never" having children because I don't feel like explaining the rationale anymore. Sometimes I just mention that we have our two dogs, so we don't come off as totally selfish....

Posted by: mcljphillips | October 29, 2007 11:18 AM

John-I think complete strangers asking if you have kids or do you want kids is just a way of making conversation. I really don't think they care about the answer. Why would they care? But when a friend or close relative asks, I think because they either think you should have kids or they want you to have kids. I know this is a very sensitive subject to infertile couples, but I think the correct response is I don't care to talk about that. And I am sure 99% of the people will not go further or if your happily child free, why don't you just say we don't plan on having kids because we are happily child free. If your happy about your decision, why does the question bother you. I chock up that question the same as what do you do for a living? Do you really think a complete stranger cares if your a statistician, artist, or an engineeer? I am guessing not really.
WorkingmomX-I agree with Laura. Having a new baby or multiple children for a single parent adds to the stress. I can't imagine having an overworked, over stressed single parent is better just because you have a sibling, who may or may not live with you. Yuck. Plus my DH has two half siblings. Although everyone loves each other, there is still all sorts of issues with only sharing one parent in common when the other parent is still in the picture.
Meesh-I think having my daughter is the best thing in the world that happend to ME. Doesn't mean I think it would or is for anyone else. I know a lot of childless and childfree people who think what they have done is the best thing in the world for them. I don't take their accomplishments to be less worthy because they are not mine.
Leslie, I actually think this is a pro all the way. If childfree and childless couples gain more acceptance, it will weed out the people who really don't want to be parents. Good for the parents and the would be kids. For childless, maybe social acceptance without kids, helps to ease the painful burden they carry during the time they are deciding how to proceed with their families.
To the antiIVF poster- you may want to reread what you wrote. Because it is quite cruel to people who make the choice to use IVF. I am very PRO adoption but recognize it is a choice and not for everyone. The worst thing is to be adopted child who feels they were only second best or worse, just a status symbol for the parents.
I think most people feel a little indifferent to parenting before they have kids. But most people (more then 51%) enjoy parenting after it happens. Doesn't mean all will and you never know which camp you will fall into. Life is a lottery to a certain extent. But whether you fall in love with it, I hope all parents continue to fulfill their obligation because after all it was their choice not the kids to take the plunge.

Posted by: foamgnome | October 29, 2007 11:18 AM

Meesh, fair enough. I do not know what it is like on the other side of the fence.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 29, 2007 11:20 AM

I am a 40-year-old male, and I have three kids. Despite the implications of this article, there has been an undeniable negative impact on my careeer from the time commitment of being an 'involved' father. (My wife works as a tenure-track professor, so we share the load of income and child-rearing fairly equitably.) But I made the choice to have this life, and I have no regrets for it.

I have many friends who have kids, and many who don't (and won't ever). In some cases, the lack of kids--for biological reasons or by pure choice--has led to the splitting of couples. In other, the presence of the additional stresses imposed by kids has had the same effect. I see little social stigma attached to any of these situations in this day and age, which is generally good.

But I do take issue with the use of the term "childfree" and the movements that have arisen to lobby for its supposed 'rights'. Go watch "Children of Men" a few times. Don't want kids? Fine, don't have them. But do recognize that continuation of the species is generally regarded as a good thing.

Posted by: micron26 | October 29, 2007 11:33 AM

Having a kid is the hugest, highest stakes gamble two people can ever make. People in the First World assume that when they do produce a kid, he/she will 1.) come out with all parts intact and 2.) grow into a successful, sane, decent person as long as they provide a loving home, good education, the right parenting techniques, etc.

My son's ADD, which is a relatively mild neurological impairment, is the reason I had one and only one. When he was younger he was very difficult to parent. The usual parenting techniques just didn't work. I remember telling my therapist, in tears, that no one should ever expect to obtain any self-esteem from being a parent. I still believe that. Now he's twelve and shows promise of growing into a decent human being, but I'll never forget that it is ultimately a matter of luck that he responded to our interventions. We worked hard but our efforts may not have paid off (and still may not. Ask me again in 6-8 years).

I also work in public schools and I see plenty of kids with enormous problems, behavioral, physical, neurological, you name it. Contrary to the stereotype, many of the troubled kids have parents who are working tremendously hard with little or no result. Some kids are born with problems that show, like cerebral palsy. No one would think to blame these parents. And many kids are born with problems that don't--kids with autism, asperger's, ODD, PDD, bipolar, stuff neurologists haven't even identified yet--and the popular assumption is that the kid is acting up or acting weird because the parents are lazy or cruel or feed them Twizzlers for breakfast or plump them in front of the TV all day long. A comforting thought, and a wrong one.

Just my 2 cents. Anybody who wants to conceive or adopt needs to think long and hard about the things that go wrong on a regular basis. Anybody who is a parent and can't relate to this post needs to be thanking their lucky stars.

Posted by: floomby | October 29, 2007 11:34 AM

Floomby, everything you say is a reason to have MANY more than one child! One child could have any number of mental or physical problems, or die in an accident, or suffer the living death of the loss of will to strive and succeed. One needs to have two, if not more, children to ensure that at least one will grow up healthy and successful.

Posted by: mucus99 | October 29, 2007 11:43 AM

Mucus99, many of my friends we telling me the same thing back when we were in the thick of our tough times with the Floombito. I used to ask them if they could provide a written guarantee from the Big Momma upstairs that the next one would be the "easy" one.

Some of the problems that happen to kids--ADD being one, autism spectrum disorders being another--have a genetic component. I read on BBC once that kids with ADD have a 70% to 80% chance of having at least one parent with same. I was diagnosed when my son was, which to me explained a lot. Ultimately I decided not to have another because between the Floombito and full-time work, I had reached my capacity as a competent parent. It's like drinking--know when you've had enough, was my philosophy.

That being said, I really wonder sometimes...

Posted by: floomby | October 29, 2007 11:52 AM

floomby - hats off to you!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 29, 2007 11:54 AM

"One needs to have two, if not more, children to ensure that at least one will grow up healthy and successful."

Did you tell your "insurance policy" kids why they were born?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 11:57 AM

Apparently, mucus fell asleep under a tree in 1810 and has only just woken up. In the alternative, perhaps is plan for healthcare is to raise extra kids to serve as organ donors in the event his first child needs a transplant.

We've addressed this before but, to restate, having kids doesn't guarantee anyone will take care of you when you are old, or that the attrition rate will leave you with the appropriate number of progeny. Reproduction is not a game to be played in order to ensure the best life outcome for the parents.

Meesh - we heard the same number of astoundingly nosy Parker comments when we had one child and wouldn't commit to two - always characterized out of concern. Right. "Aren't you worried X will be self-centered and spoiled?" "You are such great parents of one, you should have more," etc. There's no diverting them with humor, either. They persist in questioning your choices. The need of certain folks to have everyone else validate their choices by duplicating those choices defies rational explanation.

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 12:09 PM

"Apparently, mucus fell asleep under a tree in 1810 and has only just woken up. In the alternative, perhaps is plan for healthcare is to raise extra kids to serve as organ donors in the event his first child needs a transplant."

Maybe we will clone the "good" kids to reduce risks. Would mucus approve?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 12:16 PM

"having kids doesn't guarantee anyone will take care of you when you are old..."

But you have a lot better chance if you have kids, and having someone to take care of you in old age is a valid reason to have kids.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 29, 2007 12:20 PM

I have two children. I tell all of my childless friends how much work it is and how much my life has changed....for the worse. I was pressured into having childrden and thought I would want children. Even though my children are killer cuties, I could really take it or leave it. If I didn't have children, I know I would always wonder if I was missing something. I wish I could go back into a time machine and tell the 28 year old me what was in store for the future. So, I just settle for warning my friends. I don't sugar coat the truth....child rearing is hard work and you should prepare for it like any other life changing responsibility. I'm specific about the ups (her first word was "mommy") and the downs (not having a moment alone just to THINK for years....no longer having a disposible income problem....having to pay someone perfectly good money to do something you could do yourself b/c you don't have the TIME or enough quiet time to concentrate on doing it yourself,,etc). I wish I had gotten that reality check advice. If I had to do it over, I would have waited until at least three years after I was married to have kids. At least by then, I would have discovered that my husband has ADD and that I would have to do literally everything. Heck, he even forgot to feed me even though I had gestational diabetes and I was on bed rest. I might have waited a little longer so that I could afford to hire help.

Posted by: changingfaces | October 29, 2007 12:21 PM

First off, I think the term "child-free" is perfect in my case. I'd always hated the term "child-less" since it insinuated that there was something missing in my life. There isn't. People assumed that I have dogs as a replacement for children, when I explain to them that I have never wanted children, but have always want dogs, their chins practically hit the floor.

When I first made the realization that I didn't want to have children, I kept it to myself. When I did start to tell people most of the negative comments came from men. They assume that because of my age (40), I am looking to get married and have children (before my biological clock runs out) but when I tell them I do not want children, then all of a sudden, it is inconcievable (no pun intended) that I wouldn't want children.

As for the poster who think we want special privilages/rights, what would those be? I have more vacation time at the end of the year because I don't have to leave work to pick up a sick kid, I have more more at the end of the month because my health insurance is a third of what my parented co-workers pay. If I have to take my dogs to the vet, my co-workers have to pick up the slack just as I would if they had to take their kid to the doctor.

Posted by: milesdy | October 29, 2007 12:21 PM

"But you have a lot better chance if you have kids, and having someone to take care of you in old age is a valid reason to have kids."

How many old people are cared for by their children?

Old people with MONEY do better than any other group of old people.

Will you be able to take care of your parents in their old age?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 12:23 PM

Funny. The most annoying of all the posts here is the insistance that people should adopt rather than have their own children. I'll be the first to admit I don't want an older (major can of worms) or disabled child, nor do I want to spend $20K+ and untold years waiting for a baby. If I have a disabled child, I'll be more than happy to raise him/her. I truly believe that if God wants me to have a special needs child, it's my duty and responsibility to step up to that challenge. Others feel called to adopt. Others don't want children at all. Others can't have children. As long as we do the best we can and raise them with love, we're doing well.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 12:26 PM

when I explain to them that I have never wanted children, but have always want dogs

_____________________________

My sil is just like you. She has a groovy life and is a terrific aunt. One of the many upsides to dogs is that you can legally put them in a crate. No so with kids - learned that one the hard way!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 29, 2007 12:28 PM

But you have a lot better chance if you have kids, and having someone to take care of you in old age is a valid reason to have kids.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 29, 2007 12:20 PM

What makes it valid?

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 12:29 PM

"One of the many upsides to dogs is that you can legally put them in a crate."

And you can sell their children when they become pregnant!!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 12:30 PM

changingfaces- I appreciate where you're coming from. I'm much more at peace with the chaos than my husband, but we're both really thankful to have our daughter. For us it's worth it. For you it may be worth it once they're in college! Adult kids are great, if they're functioning. If your husband actually has ADD, he needs to get treatment and he needs a PDA phone. It will change both of your lives. My husband off ritalin is virtually useless. The organizer helps him with task lists.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 12:35 PM

I read what Mucus wrote, and had to chuckle a bit. I've heard the social security arguments before, and they don't hold water. Saying that those of us who are childless (whether by choice or for some other reason) are parasites because we don't have kids to pay into social security is a bit asinine.

All of us pay taxes, including school taxes, income taxes, property taxes, etc. to support the society we live in. And yes, that includes the money they take out of our paychecks for Social Security. I see many folks out there contributing to the benefit of society by volunteering their time and money to various causes. There are many ways to contribute to society.

And to avoid being a parasite or totally dependant on another human being, I've made darn sure that when I'm old, I will have the means to support myself. As Chitty said, Old people with money do better.

Ultimately, you are responsible for yourself. Don't expect family or children to take care of you. If they do, it's great, but it's not guaranteed.

Posted by: Sitka1 | October 29, 2007 12:37 PM

To not have children is the most selfish act a couple can do. The truth of the universe is that true love wants to expand its communion.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 12:37 PM

What atb2 said. Better living through drugs, and I'm not being facetious. We ADD-ers deserve the pleasure of working our backsides off to be adequate just like everybody else!

Posted by: floomby | October 29, 2007 12:38 PM

But you have a lot better chance if you have kids, and having someone to take care of you in old age is a valid reason to have kids.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 29, 2007 12:20 PM

Um, no it doesn't. My grandmother lived for about 40 years either with or next door to two of her sisters. One of them has a son, the other never had children. The three of them were like my three grandmothers. My mother and her sister (and then, ultimately the grandkids) take/took care of the three of them as if they were all our grandparents - cause they are all three family.

My great aunt's kid never did anything. NOTHING. Various reasons for this, but suffice it to say, she had a kid, and he did nothing -but her nieces/nephew did all for her.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 12:40 PM

To not have children is the most selfish act a couple can do. The truth of the universe is that true love wants to expand its communion.

What a load of crap.

To have children just because society tells us "we're supposed to" is selfish.

Posted by: milesdy | October 29, 2007 12:40 PM

"We ADD-ers deserve the pleasure of working our backsides off to be adequate just like everybody else!"

That makes me so sad because it reminds me that I get on my husband's back about things that are so easy for me and so hard for him. I'm going to try to do better.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 12:43 PM

"To not have children is the most selfish act a couple can do. The truth of the universe is that true love wants to expand its communion."

Sez who? Jesus didn't have children.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 12:46 PM

If your husband actually has ADD, he needs to get treatment and he needs a PDA phone. It will change both of your lives. My husband off ritalin is virtually useless. The organizer helps him with task lists.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 12:35 PM

Ha! I'm glad the pda works for you, atb. DH can't locate his, or forgets to charge it, or forgets to put things IN his task list, or forgets to delete items FROM his task list, then gets overwhelmed. Also, meds aren't 24-7. His workplace gets the benefit; his homelife and personal relationships do not.

Had we known about my husband's ADD before having kids, we might have made a different decision about having a second child. We would have had the first no matter what (to the extent we could control this call). Our house and life is like watching the all-drama channel, all the time -- drama of our own creation and 95% attributable to ADD. Fortunately, our kids get why things function the way they do in our family, and we operate as a team to deal address what we can and accept everything else as "the way things are". floomby - I can relate.

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 12:48 PM

"What makes it valid?"

I think most people would rather have a child that they raised and taught to love to be with them in their old age to help take care of them.

But if you think you are better off with a paid laborer that you may not be able to communicate with because of a language barrier or some other reason, go ahead, take your chances.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 29, 2007 12:49 PM

My boys have a number of wonderful "Aunties" and "Uncles" who aren't blood relations at all. Dear friends who have chosen not to have children. I understand and accept that their decision is right for them, just as they accept that my decision was the right one for me. Too each his own.

Chitty, I couldn't figure out what you wanted to ask me at 8:24?

Posted by: sue | October 29, 2007 12:51 PM

"But if you think you are better off with a paid laborer that you may not be able to communicate with because of a language barrier or some other reason, go ahead, take your chances."

How are you going to take care of your aged parents?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 12:53 PM

"What makes it valid?"

I think most people would rather have a child that they raised and taught to love to be with them in their old age to help take care of them.

But if you think you are better off with a paid laborer that you may not be able to communicate with because of a language barrier or some other reason, go ahead, take your chances.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 29, 2007 12:49 PM

DandyLion, You take your chances either way. In fact, raising a child is sufficiently expensive that if you saved the money you spent raising a child to adulthood, it's highly likely that you'd be able to afford high-quality home healthcare delivered by a skilled nurse communicating in whatever language you'd most care to hear.

I guess we'll agree to disagree that reproducing for this entirely self-serving reason is valid. I'm sure most people would rather have a child care for them, but then most people would rather be financially well-off, gifted, beautiful, smart, thin and die peacefully in their sleep with no pain. Their preferences are not like magic wishes granted by a genie.

One-third of people aged 70 and older with physical limitations receive regular help from their children with basic personal care, such as eating, bathing, dressing, or maneuvering around their home, although only 7 percent receive help most of the time. About 11 percent receive both personal care and help with shopping and chores, according to a new study. If you think that raising a child to be your caregiver is a better investment in ensuring the care you want than saving, I think you're kidding yourself.

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 12:56 PM

p.s. Many adult children talk to their parents as though the parents are children.

Perhaps instead of imagining what we'll want when we get there, we should ask some actual senior citizens whether or not they'd rather be the person in charge paying for in-home nursing care, otherwise known as The Customer, or whether they enjoy having their adult children boss them around and control their diet and recreational time as though their opinions and preferences are of no account. Maybe for the 33% who have that option, having your children care for you is not as rosy as we imagine.

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 1:00 PM

"To not have children is the most selfish act a couple can do. The truth of the universe is that true love wants to expand its communion."

Sez who? Jesus didn't have children.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 12:46 PM

Heh heh, guess God didn't push the grandchildren issue that much...

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 1:02 PM

"Heh heh, guess God didn't push the grandchildren issue that much..."

Or Mary! Can you imagine Mary as your MIL????

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 1:04 PM

Or Mary! Can you imagine Mary as your MIL????

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 01:04 PM

Talk about not living up to your husband's standards of what a woman should be by comparing to his mother...sainted mother indeed!

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 1:08 PM

Or Mary! Can you imagine Mary as your MIL????

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 01:04 PM

Talk about not living up to your husband's standards of what a woman should be by comparing to his mother...sainted mother indeed!

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 01:08 PM

Listening to Jesus, himself, would be enough for me: "Why do you always have to be like Martha? Sit down for awhile and wash my feet with your hair. You'll have plenty of time to unload the dishwasher and do 6 loads of laundry at 1 a.m. when I'm asleep."

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 1:14 PM

Jesus' wife: Here he comes, God's gift to women.

Jesus' wife: How about you figuring out how to stretch this week's food budget? I head about your fishes and loaves trick last weekend.

Jesus' wife: I don't care if he is your best friend, I don't want that Judas in my house!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 1:20 PM

Jesus' wife: Here he comes, God's gift to women.

Jesus' wife: How about you figuring out how to stretch this week's food budget? I head about your fishes and loaves trick last weekend.

Jesus' wife: I don't care if he is your best friend, I don't want that Judas in my house!

Heeeeeeelarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: milesdy | October 29, 2007 1:22 PM


True love wants to expand its communion.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 1:22 PM

"If you think that raising a child to be your caregiver is a better investment in ensuring the care
you want than saving, I think you're kidding yourself."

I already get my lawn mowed, trash taken out, laundry and dishes washed, gutters cleaned, leaves raked, meals cooked, toilet scrubbed and in a few months, I'll have a live-in gopher and chaufer.

Having kids is paying off, and I don't have to get old to appreciate it.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 29, 2007 1:23 PM

"Having kids is paying off, and I don't have to get old to appreciate it."

You are middle-aged.

What's to stop your kids from dumping you in a nursing home or worse?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 1:28 PM

"I'm sure most people would rather have a child care for them, but then most people would rather be financially well-off, gifted, beautiful, smart, thin and die peacefully in their sleep with no pain. Their preferences are not like magic wishes granted by a genie."

Dang, so much for that rusty old lamp I planned to polish this weekend. . . .

Posted by: laura33 | October 29, 2007 1:31 PM

Sez who? Jesus didn't have children.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 12:46 PM

Clearly someone hasn't been buying into the Davinci Code/San Greal/Sang Real stories.

As far as true love wanting to eat lots of communion wafers ;-) what does that even mean??

dboc_991 If you are saying we need more love in the world, there are easier paths than childrearing. We could use more lobe in the world amongst the people here right now! Hug the next person you see today. Let us know how that goes.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 29, 2007 1:36 PM

To not have children is the most selfish act a couple can do. The truth of the universe is that true love wants to expand its communion.
Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 12:37 PM

True love wants to expand its communion.
Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 01:22 PM


Have you posted this on so many blogs that you forgot you communicated this trite adage once already today?

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 1:37 PM

"Having kids is paying off, and I don't have to get old to appreciate it."

Wait 'til your kids are catching your drool, wiping your a$s & changing your diapers. That's the biggest payoff!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 1:39 PM

"I'm sure most people would rather have a child care for them, but then most people would rather be financially well-off, gifted, beautiful, smart, thin and die peacefully in their sleep with no pain. Their preferences are not like magic wishes granted by a genie."

Dang, so much for that rusty old lamp I planned to polish this weekend. . . .


Posted by: laura | October 29, 2007 01:31 PM

laura, say your lamp works. Pick any three - which three do you pick, LOL??

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 1:39 PM

"Clearly someone hasn't been buying into the Davinci Code/San Greal/Sang Real stories."

Nope. The Da Vinci Code movie put me to sleep.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 1:41 PM

"Saying that those of us who are childless (whether by choice or for some other reason) are parasites because we don't have kids to pay into social security is a bit asinine.

All of us pay taxes, including school taxes, income taxes, property taxes, etc. to support the society we live in."

Well, duuh, you are paying taxes NOW to support society NOW (and to support an ever-increasing group of old geezers). When you retire you will become a net tax recipient, not tax payer, and you will depend on - guess what! - OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN who will be paying taxes to support society at that time.

Bottom line, if you don't have children, you don't have a society, period, much less one that can support the kind of "society" we pride ourselves on living in. Ultimately, then, the childless are irresponsible parasites, as I said.

"And to avoid being a parasite or totally dependant on another human being, I've made darn sure that when I'm old, I will have the means to support myself."

Oh, so you are going to get NOTHING from society when you are old? You will not use ANYTHING - not even your humble local roads - that requires an expenditure of public resources? The very idea that you could do so is laughable. The fact is, you WILL depend on other young people to pay taxes and keep society afloat when you are old.

"Jesus didn't have children."

That's because he was yet another selfish careerist too absorbed in his work to do the right thing and reproduce!

Posted by: mucus99 | October 29, 2007 1:43 PM

"I already get my lawn mowed, trash taken out, laundry and dishes washed, gutters cleaned, leaves raked, meals cooked, toilet scrubbed and in a few months, I'll have a live-in gopher and chaufer."

Sounds to me like a really good way to chase your kid out of the house and to some far away place, or even worse, into an early and possibly inappropriate marriage, just to get away from you.

Posted by: Emily | October 29, 2007 1:43 PM

I already get my lawn mowed, trash taken out, laundry and dishes washed, gutters cleaned, leaves raked, meals cooked, toilet scrubbed and in a few months, I'll have a live-in gopher and chaufer.

Having kids is paying off, and I don't have to get old to appreciate it.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 29, 2007 01:23 PM

They have to now. It's your house. You make the rules. When you get old, they will have their own goals, their own families, and other commitments. Some kids who'd like to offer care are unable - because of other life commitments or resources - to do so.

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 1:44 PM

Totally with you that the trend towards acceptance of being childfree is a pro all around, Foamgnome. Recognize that some people and religions and political parties feel differently...but I think they are, of course, wrong.

LOVE the answer that "I didn't want kids because I knew I'd rather have dogs" or horses or cats or iguanas or whatever is totally hilarious, wonderful, and true. A very snappy comeback. Wish I had one like that for all the other obnoxious questions people ask!

Posted by: leslie4 | October 29, 2007 1:50 PM

"Ultimately, then, the childless are irresponsible parasites, as I said."


Such as George Washington. What a sponger!


Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 1:51 PM

"I think IVF is playing God and is unnatural, and I believe there is a reason why many people cannot have children.People claim to believe in God, but do not want to accept that maybe God had a different plan for their lives than having an army of children."

Or maybe people believe that, to the extent there is a divine being, it also planned for the invention of IVF to allow some people who want children to be able to have them.

And by the way, have you ever actually had to deal with infertility? Something tells me you'd have a lot more compassion if you'd ever lost a pregnancy and/or been told you wouldn't ever be able to conceive without help.

Posted by: newsahm | October 29, 2007 1:54 PM

really, again, this is partially like last week's what do we say to rude people?

Like when I was younger and my sister (always there with a rude comment) would say: I think you should date more. And I would answer: I agree with you. Okay, now what? *smile*

Or, when she wanted to know why I wanted to go to my choice of college, when it wasn't one that people typically went to from my high school - and that a lot of people thought of it as a 'safe' school. She said: why would you want to go to a 'safe' school? And I told her *her* alma mater was *my* safe school (she didn't get into the school I went to).
Shut her up then too.

Oh, wait, I have a zillion of these.
Maybe we can play: what other thing atlmom's sister said that was so ridiculous as to warrant a really slick comeback (cause I don't always have them).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 1:55 PM

"The fact is, you WILL depend on other young people to pay taxes and keep society afloat when you are old."

No, I WON'T! I'm getting financial planning advice from pATRICK!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 2:00 PM

"Sounds to me like a really good way to chase your kid out of the house and to some far away place, or even worse, into an early and possibly inappropriate
marriage, just to get away from you."

Awe Emily, your comment hurt my feelings. Now I feel bad.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 29, 2007 2:00 PM

No, I WON'T! I'm getting financial planning advice from pATRICK!

One word Chitty- Plastics

Posted by: pATRICK | October 29, 2007 2:10 PM


Christ wouldn't have had children because Christ didn't marry. Or are you one of the ignorant Da Vinci load cultists?

I can gaurantee one thing, Christ upheld jewish law regarding openess to children in the marital act because it was good.

Some may not have children because of physiological issues. The morality is not in having children but in the act of "being open to having children."

Nothing in the world is more loving than a couple expanding their love to a new life. Anyone playing games with snappy, cynical come-backs or trying to change the subject by setting up scarecrows is foooling themselves, but they aren't fooling me.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 2:10 PM

Wait. So God wants some people to be infertile, but other people to have babies out of wedlock that they don't want and possibly abuse? Really? Or is his hand in the FERTILITY POTENTIAL only and not directly in the pregnancy/child? Thankfully I have all-knowing blog posters to give me the answers.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 2:16 PM

"I can gaurantee one thing, Christ upheld jewish law regarding openess to children in the marital act because it was good."

1. I can spell guarantee.
2. Where?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 2:17 PM

openness to children? In the marital act? Because it was good?

That really makes it all sound quite icky.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 2:22 PM

I'm childfree and happy. And I'm another one who never wanted children but always wanted dogs (and cats and birds and every other animal).

Stop calling me selfish or a parasite. Every time you have a child, you pay less in taxes but use more of the services paid for by tax dollars. If I ask one of these "you're selfish" types why they had children, all their answers start with "I want". Our planet does not have the resources to provide for all the people who are already here. But it's unselfish to add more people?

Posted by: washpo | October 29, 2007 2:28 PM

washpo: you are not correct. We definitely DO have plenty of resources - most of the earth (like most of the US) is uninhabited.

Whether we choose or not to actually provide for the people here is the debate, I suppose - but there certainly are enough resources for all of us. And then some.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 2:32 PM

As someone currently dealing with infertility, I am between the rock and the hard place. I can neither have children at the moment, nor can I decide that I want to be child-free. The pressure to have children and to be validated as a person and a woman by giving birth is enormous and even more frustrating considering that at the present, I'm having difficulty doing so. It's also very hard to drown out the message everywhere that my "purpose" in this world is to procreate. I feel like a total failure in that regard.

That being said, I greatly respect those who decide to be child-free, if only because of the enormous pressure there is to do otherwise. To be happy with that decision to me seems like nirvana.

Posted by: estubbesq | October 29, 2007 2:46 PM

"Bottom line, if you don't have children, you don't have a society, period"

Given that the United States alone has hit the 300 million mark, I'm not too worried about civilization folding in on itself because some people don't have kids.

Posted by: Corvette1975 | October 29, 2007 2:49 PM

est: how heartbreaking. Having children, however, will validate nothing, FYI. You are still a person and a woman and whether you can perform a biological function changes nothing in that regard. It's how you are as a person, how you are with others, that is what validates you.

My mom had some surgery, and it included a hysterectomy (exploratory for cancer - they did it cause once they got in there, they realized more of what was going on). What was heartbreaking was the story she told of the woman she was sharing a room with, who was there with her DH and of the doctor having to tell them (they were child free at the time) that *she* had had a hysterectomy (unplanned) while she was in surgery, to save her life (it was the cancer ward, but I don't know what this woman had). Every time I think of that story I try not to cry.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 2:51 PM

Hey Emm-

I'm not a very frequent poster here, but both myself and my partner were definitely unplanned surprise mistakes for our parents who did not want to have any more children.

It's nice to see more "balance" this time around on the child free topic. I've actually gotten more pressure to get married than to have a child, but I think that's because my sister and cousins all have lots of babies and taken care of that pesky descendants issue.

I am child free and take active steps to stay that way, including an abortion. While it's not often that I get confronted about it (I can't decide if it's better or worse that it's because "I'd make such a graet mom") it's always annoying. But that's just part of life that wants most people to conform in most ways.

Posted by: EmeraldEAD | October 29, 2007 2:54 PM

Wow. I have no idea what it feels like to not want children, but I have to admit it shocks me a bit to hear about a presumabley long-term, happy partnership (marriage?) that gets pregnant and aborts. But then, I don't -want- a disabled child, but I'd never abort one. Nor would I euthanize a litter of kittens were my (sterilized) cat to get pregnant. Very foreign to me.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 3:02 PM

Oh no! Someone thinks I'm selfish because I'm not having kids.

Yet, somehow, life will go on.

Posted by: Meesh | October 29, 2007 3:02 PM

My husband and I have decided, for a variety of reasons, not to have children. I am amazed when someone I barely know feels free to give me a lecture about having children. A woman on the subway told me I'd "better start popping them out." Talk about rude!

Now, when someone asks me if we have children, I reply, "No, we're thinking about getting a cat." That seems to get the point across without inviting further comments.

I don't begrudge other people's decisions to procreate, and I would never think to try to convince someone not to do it. Why do people with children feel entitled to give me a lecture about this very personal matter?

Posted by: Heron | October 29, 2007 3:05 PM

"To not have children is the most selfish act a couple can do."

Nah, the most selfish thing a couple can do is to bring children into an unhealthy relationship.

It's narrow-minded and cold to go around telling people they should do things the same way you did. Different people, different choices. Why does that bother you?

Posted by: Heron | October 29, 2007 3:12 PM

it's selfish to *not* have kids? Well, um, if these two alleged people are SO selfish in their worlds (according to you?), then why, oh, why, would you want horribly selfish people to become parents? Just because you said so? Sounds like not the best way to raise kids.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 3:16 PM

Nothing in the world is more loving than a couple expanding their love to a new life. Anyone playing games with snappy, cynical come-backs or trying to change the subject by setting up scarecrows is foooling themselves, but they aren't fooling me.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 02:10 PM


Translation: "I have a view which I cannot support by facts or even substantiate by citing scripture from commonly-held faiths. However, you're looney if you don't agree with me. Oh, and why I'm posting on a discussion forum when I'm not open to other ideas -- uh, who can say?"

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 29, 2007 3:17 PM


To the woman having trouble with conceiving.

Do not despair from the comments of the world. Despite the strawmen that liberals set up, the Catholic, Orthodox and other faiths do NOT see your purpose as a vessel for child bearing!!! Don't be deceived by their lies. Catholicism states the purpose of your body is to be a gift to others!!! You tried your human best. That you cannot conceive is not a failure!!

The truth is that your OPENESS to children makes you a resounding success in God's eyes!!! Your purpose on this earth is to be a gift to others and you are giving on your end to the best of your ability! I am proud of you and I wish for you the best. I know it must be difficult, but just be a gift to a child, your own or another. That is the Christian view of success. Believe me your Father in heaven knows your heart. God bless.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 3:20 PM

"I know it must be difficult, but just be a gift to a child, your own or another. That is the Christian view of success"


Christian view of success? If so, why didn't Jesus or Paul get married or attempt to have children?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 3:25 PM

"laura, say your lamp works. Pick any three - which three do you pick, LOL??"

Three? Whaddya mean, three? I refuse to be so constrained by convention -- I want it ALL!

Tho actually, I've gotten massively sentimental since (a) having kids, and (b) getting old and decrepit. Nowadays my first wish would be good health for us all; next wish would be a productive, happy life for my kids. (Man, seeing that in print looks even more boring than it sounded in my head!). Although, you know, I wouldn't really turn up my nose at fantastic wealth. . . . :-)

Posted by: laura33 | October 29, 2007 3:27 PM


Because Christ used his body as a gift already. Duh. And Paul used his body as a gift in speading the word and sacrificing himself for others. duh.

Come on, don't waste my time...

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 3:30 PM

Gee this is what the third or fourth time Leslie has trotted out this subject? Yawn. Have a nice day.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 29, 2007 3:33 PM

milesdy: There has been some talk of the 'childfree' getting the right to opt out of things like paying school taxes. More frequently, you hear of 'childfree' sections of airplanes or restaurants. That's the type of thing that should be avoided, in my view.

Posted by: micron26 | October 29, 2007 3:36 PM

ack! everyone should want an educated society - cause you pay for schools or jails.

So, just cause you're not USING the schools, doesn't mean you don't BENEFIT from them.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 3:38 PM

Did this study break things down by sexual orientation? I'd be interested in knowing what percentage of lesbians and gay men choose to go childfree, what percentage would choose children if they could, and what percentage have already chosen to have children.

Posted by: popslashgirl | October 29, 2007 3:40 PM

"'I can gaurantee one thing, Christ upheld jewish law regarding openess to children in the marital act because it was good.'"

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 02:10 PM

"1. I can spell guarantee.
2. Where?"

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 02:17 PM

Not only can I spell "guarantee," I can even spell "openness" with two "n's." And I learned in public elementary school that "Jewish," as a proper adjective, is spelled with a capital "J." Got that, dboc_991? Got that, Atlmom1234?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 29, 2007 3:40 PM

How about just responding honestly to those that ask: "Actually, I'm really not that fond of children."

If you put it like that, no one in their right mind would argue that you should still go forward with having kids (and if they do, you can certainly know that something is a little 'off' with them.)

And frankly, it's the truth. If you were so in love with children, you'd be having them, wouldn't you?

PS. I totally support being childfree but have one myself. Our world is certainly overpopulated and to argue that U.S. parents, with the world's biggest carbon footprint, "need" to procreate is laughable.

Posted by: goodhome631 | October 29, 2007 3:41 PM

"Awe Emily, your comment hurt my feelings. Now I feel bad."

Sorry, Dandylion, I did not mean to hurt your feelings. And maybe your kids are happy to take on all these responsibilities. But I have seen scenarios play out where parents put unreasonable expectations on their kids that ultimately drove them away. Of course, kids should help their parents out around the house. Of course they should also, assuming their parents were halfway decent, also try to help their parents out in old age. But for parents to aggressively EXPECT their children to take care of them in old age sounds to me like a disappointment waiting to happen. And expecting too much, even when the kids are young, can also backfire. Kids shouldn't be born with any mission to fulfill, other than growing up into themselves. Anything else they choose to do is frosting, really.

Posted by: Emily | October 29, 2007 3:41 PM

dboc_991, in all the seriousness that you deserve, I plan to donate my body to science when I die. I also donate blood every time I'm able. I'm open to donating bone marrow and eggs if I'm ever asked. In your opinion, am I making a good gift of my body?

Posted by: Meesh | October 29, 2007 3:44 PM

I have several friends who are childfree by choice, and it's perfectly within their right to make that choice. I may not have wanted the same for myself, but it's their choice to make. I don't consider them selfish in any way, shape, or form. They are just living the life they want to live.

At the same time, seems like we should acknowledge that there are implications for society -- for example, if EVERYONE suddenly decided not to have children. Or if only certain segments of society had children. Not saying whether those changes would be good or bad (depends upon what the changes were, of course). But it certainly can affect others -- just like deciding TO have children can have broader societal implications when many people are making the same decision.

Having said that, most people still decide they want to have children, so seems to me that we've got no impending crisis related to a shrinking next generation. So who's business is it if someone wants to go childless?

Some European countries, on the other hand, have really struggled with this issue over the past decade, since their citizens weren't having enough children to replace those that were dying off . . . Would it be our business in that case? Not sure what I think. . .But I think they've gone about addressing it the right way, by trying to make it easier to have kids for those who may want them, but cannot afford it. . .

Posted by: sciencemom | October 29, 2007 3:44 PM

wow, matt, sorry to get you so upset.
i try to rarely use caps. what's the big deal?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 3:46 PM

Goodhome: If that were true, then yes. I guess I don't love them enough to change my life to raise them over my own choices.

However, my nephews are the most important and wonderful things in my life and if something were to happen to their parents today, I'd take them in immediately and feel extremely blessed to have them. Again, the most often thing I hear in protest to not having children is "But you're so great with kids, you'd make a wonderful mother!"

So it's not about not being fond of them for me, it's much more simply not RIGHT for who I want to be and the life I want to have.

Posted by: EmeraldEAD | October 29, 2007 3:47 PM

This discussion was a real eye opener for me.

I am shocked that I could find no comments that even mention over-population, and the fact that the generation of children being born today will live in a world transformed by global climate change.

Are people really only concerned with their personal 'quality of life', earning power and personal freedom and no one is concerned about the fact that our lifestyle is leaving the environment less and less able to support quality life in the future?

Superbugs, spreading diseases like west nile, the honey bees colonies are collapsing--how will you tell your children about the birds and the bees when none are left? Will you buy them a cute stuffed Tiger when Tigers exist no longer in the wild? --and avoid mentioning to them that Tigers and other disappearing wildlife are any different than their stuffed Unicorn?

My wife decided not to have children because she realized she was the first generation of her family that ever even had the choice.

But the main reason we are choosing not to have kids is that we fear the coming decades will be so severe in the upheaval caused by global warming and the increased loss of personal freedom as our society moves away from democracy and towards an autocratic consumerist society without conscience--and because we don't want to live the day when we would have to face our children and explain why we didn't save the planet while there was still time.

Posted by: marc | October 29, 2007 3:48 PM

"because we don't want to live the day when we would have to face our children and explain why we didn't save the planet while there was still time."

My kids are too dumb to have for any explanations...

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 29, 2007 3:53 PM

Posted by: marc | October 29, 2007 03:48 PM

Marc doesn't get invited to too many parties. Wonder why?

Sorry I couldn't resist.;)

Posted by: pATRICK | October 29, 2007 3:59 PM

I think maybe in the short run, it's selfish to not have kids. Why? You get to focus your entire life on yourself (however, some parents do this as well). Good parents sacrifice anything it takes for their kids; you all know who you are.

But in the long run, as far as expenses go...as a taxpayer, I'm paying the same (or sometimes more) taxes as a parent, but my kids aren't going to public schools, aren't going to public universities, and aren't ever going to require any kind of public healthcare or social security. So for all those people calling the childless freeloaders merely because we'll retire at some point, I think it evens out in the long run (not to mention social security is likely not to be there when i retire, and I *will* pay taxes on my 401k).

I agree that yeah, if all of humankind suddenly lost the desire to reproduce, we'd be in a bad place. But as is, in western society, food is abundant, and infant mortality rates are low. Most households have children, and many have 2 or more, thereby increasing the population. Eventually, even if we pretend climate change isn't happening, there will be issues with fresh water, land, fuel, overpopulation, etc. Hopefully none of this will happen...but maybe if a few people who prefer not to reproduce don't, we can continue as we are going without famine or civil wars or anything of that nature should the population of earth get too big.

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 4:03 PM


Meesh, do you really think I should be the judge of your life? I will tell you that giving your body after you have no use for it, (after your dead) doesn't seem on the surface much of a sacrifice. But I'm sure you give more to others.

How about we engage this issue in context. The woman I addressed my comments to felt a failure. My purpose was to assure her that as long as she was open, she should not be considered a failure, rather she is a success.

In my Catholic view, a person should use their body as a gift to others. If one is fortunate enough to marry and is having sex they are the one's who should bring children into the world. They are using the gift of their bodies for a noble purpose-->bringing new life into the world. This is moral and good. My Catholic faith tells me this, but so does Natural Law.

Imagine another situation where a fellow is a wonderful musician and travels the world bringing joy to millions of people with his songs. He is not able to marry for various reasons and will not bring new life into the world. He however uses his body as a gift too.

Perhaps that gives some more insight into the "nuptial" meaning of the body. Peace,
dboc

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 4:03 PM

Speaking of Genies!

A man was walking along the beach and found a bottle. He looked around and didn't see anyone so he opened the bottle. A genie appeared and thanked the man for letting him out.

The genie said, "I am so grateful to get out of that bottle that I will grant you one wish. I can only grant one." The man thought for a while and finally said, "I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. I've never been able to go because I cannot fly. Airplanes are much too frightening for me. On a boat, I see all that water and I become very claustrophobic. So I wish for a road to be built from here to Hawaii."

The genie thought for a few minutes and then said, "No, I don't think I can do that. Just think of all the work involved. Consider all the pilings needed to hold up a highway and how deep they would have to go to reach the bottom of the ocean. Imagine all the pavement needed. No, that is just too much to ask."

The man thought for a few minutes and then told the genie, "There is one other thing I have always wanted. I would like to be able to understand women. What makes them laugh and cry, why are they temperamental, why are they so difficult to get along with. Basically, what makes them tick."

The genie considered for a few minutes and said, "So, do you want two lanes or four?"

Posted by: anonthistime | October 29, 2007 4:05 PM

oh, marc, do you really want to get into this discussion?

So, yes the planet is warming, and 30 years ago everyone was afraid it was cooling off. So - the climate changes periodically, we're not the cause, it is arrogant to think we are the cause, the planet will be here long after we are gone.

Nothing is that different from previous generations except the 24 hour news cycle and better sanitation. Really.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 4:08 PM

Oh my god, how horrible to be able to sit in a restaurant without my meal being disturbed by some crying whining kid or to be able to sit on a plane and actually be able to read a book without some kid kicking the back of my seat. Wow, we child-free are selfish.

Posted by: milesdy | October 29, 2007 4:10 PM


I'm always tempted to say liberals will simply contracept themselves out of existence, but that would be wrong to wish for that.

I hope Marc wakes up before he is the long term victim of these distortions of the truth. The devil always gilds every lie.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 4:20 PM

"how horrible to be able to sit in a restaurant without my meal being disturbed by some crying whining kid or to be able to sit on a plane and actually be able to read a book without some kid kicking the back of my seat."

I'll tell you the good news - as soon as you have a kid of your own, NONE OF THAT BOTHERS YOU ANY MORE! I spent two hours on a plane recently with a mom and her newborn that cried for food then threw up on itself afterwards. That would have driven me crazy 9 months ago, but now I have an 8-month old of my own, it didn't bother me in the slightest.

Posted by: mucus99 | October 29, 2007 4:22 PM

no joke, mucus. Really - I keep looking around, thinking to myself: hey, it's not my kid. I know what the mom's going thru, and I'm happy that *I'm* not going thru that! As in, the guilt and embarrassment...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 4:28 PM

Sure, there are natural climatic cycles, atlmom, but as you (in the math field, I recall) know we can use equations to describe natural systems and can come to some conclusions about the influence of greenhouse gasses, etc on climate. Now, unlike Marc, I don't see the environmental impact as a reason to not have children. With cooperation, conservation and innovation we can address these challenges.

Posted by: MaryL | October 29, 2007 4:28 PM

Oh, well, I definitely think we are horribly wasteful, and we should be using hydrogen, and we should be saving this beautiful planet - cause it's the right thing to do.

But there's not so much evidence that we did any of this. And those people who are proclaiming the end of the world have not actually read the reports. Heck, many people doing analysis don't know what they're doing and rely on a google search or whatever. And people are easily led with pretty graphs, without understanding what they're looking at.

So, the alarmists are just sounding silly - but we should not be dependent on others (whether they would want us dead or not) but we are, and that has to change.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 4:31 PM

"Some European countries, on the other hand, have really struggled with this issue over the past decade, since their citizens weren't having enough children to replace those that were dying off . . . "

Posted by: sciencemom | October 29, 2007 03:44 PM

"I am shocked that I could find no comments that even mention over-population, and the fact that the generation of children being born today will live in a world transformed by global climate change."

Posted by: marc | October 29, 2007 03:48 PM

An excellent book that makes the connection between these two posts is "The Cube and the Cathedral," by George Weigel. He believes that Europeans are not having enough children to replace those dying off because of "a failure of self-confidence" which he believes is "surely tied to a collapse of faith" in a benevolent Deity who will surely see to it that the future world will be worth bringing children into.

Marc is correct to this extent, namely, that if we knew for sure that the Earth would be destroyed -- by fire, flood, or ferocious jaguars -- on December 24, 2012, it would not be right to bring children into the world today only to be burned, drowned or eaten at age 5 years. The reason today's comments have not mentioned "a world transformed by global climate change" is that the participants in "On Balance" are an educated and sophisticated lot, far too smart to have been taken in by the Drive-by Media's hyping of Al Gore '69's global warming hoax, which is a trick to benefit the investors in Nucular (sic) electric power plants.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 29, 2007 4:38 PM

So, Americans shouldn't have kids because it causes global warming. I'm pretty sure the planet will be just fine, so no need to worry about Mother Earth. Humans and animals may have some tough times ahead of them, but Earth will pull through. And why is it that the educated have to cease reproducing? And really, I'm sure you recognize that our growing population isn't because MDs, PhDs, MPHs, and JDs are breeding. Perhaps you should start an organization that backs mandatory sterilization of immigrants, since they seem to be the US populators. That would be best for Earth.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 4:39 PM

mucus99, that's good for you and atlmom1234, but I don't plan on having children....ever.

Posted by: milesdy | October 29, 2007 4:40 PM

A couple of years ago I was pushing my daughter's stroller near the Dupont Circle subway and a uber cruncy woman passing me hissed "Breeder!" like it was a really big insult. Like I had no right to populate an overpopulated planet. It kinda hurt as any intended insult would but I also thought it was a funny, offbeat thing to say to a random stranger. This ever happen to anyone else?

Posted by: leslie4 | October 29, 2007 4:43 PM

"Oh my god, how horrible to be able to sit in a restaurant without my meal being disturbed by some crying whining kid or to be able to sit on a plane and actually be able to read a book without some kid kicking the back of my seat. Wow, we child-free are selfish."

This is why child-free people get a bad reputation. Hateful intolerance and extreme exageration. EVERY plane trip and EVERY meal is RIUNED by BRATS and ALL kids are BRATS who MISBEHAVE.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 4:47 PM

Breeder is a gay insult of non-gays. Perhaps she was a militant lesbian who only accepted same-sex partnerships.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 4:49 PM

"This ever happen to anyone else?"

Posted by: leslie4 | October 29, 2007 04:43 PM

Yeah, Leslie, a friend told me about a young Rabbi who was shopping in a Baltimore supermarket with his six little children. A woman came up and remarked, "Don't you people know when to stop?" His reply was, "When I get to six million, then I'll stop." That put her in her place!

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 29, 2007 4:51 PM

Leslie,

I've never had that happen to me, but I do experience others who talk about "Breeders" in a derogatory way. Many of our friends are single and have no concept of having children. One friend used to regularly speak ill of people who had children and of choices they would make for their family. She ALWAYS complained about "Breeders". Of course, she's now undergoing fertility treatment because she decided she wanted to join the ranks of the sleep-deprived.

I experience a remarkable amount of judgment many friends/colleagues who do not yet have children (and most even want to have them eventually). It ranges from the "diapers are destroying the planet" comments to more general snarky comments about decisions we've made to make family life easier (e.g., buying a house, moving out of the city, having "too much" stuff).
It's really quite frustrating and certainly puts a distance in those relationships.

Posted by: sciencemom | October 29, 2007 4:51 PM

The reason today's comments have not mentioned "a world transformed by global climate change" is that the participants in "On Balance" are an educated and sophisticated lot, far too smart to have been taken in by the Drive-by Media's hyping of Al Gore '69's global warming hoax, which is a trick to benefit the investors in Nucular (sic) electric power plants.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 29, 2007 04:38 PM

Hahahaha what a conspiracy theory. Nuclear power plants, never thought of that one. Let's keep polluting as is. At any rate, I'll be dead before it's clear whether climate change is a "hoax" or not. And as I don't plan on having kids, won't have to put them through that. Always excellent to pass the buck and not have to face the consequences.

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 4:51 PM

atb2, obviously being a parent has cause you to lose your ability to sense sarcasm. Yikes!

Posted by: milesdy | October 29, 2007 4:57 PM

So, Americans shouldn't have kids because it causes global warming. I'm pretty sure the planet will be just fine, so no need to worry about Mother Earth. Humans and animals may have some tough times ahead of them, but Earth will pull through. And why is it that the educated have to cease reproducing? And really, I'm sure you recognize that our growing population isn't because MDs, PhDs, MPHs, and JDs are breeding. Perhaps you should start an organization that backs mandatory sterilization of immigrants, since they seem to be the US populators. That would be best for Earth.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 04:39 PM

I find it amusing that this argument always pops up in these discussions. Like white, educated people NEED to reproduce so that MY GOD, the Hispanics don't overtake us!! Cause omg, what will happen then?! Nooooooooo!

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 5:00 PM


This board is full of losers. I'm leaving to go make a baby.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 5:01 PM

Breeder is a gay insult of non-gays. Perhaps she was a militant lesbian who only accepted same-sex partnerships.

If a butchy lesbian called me that, my response would be uncontrolled laughter. If she was particulary rude, i would make a comment about her being a bad softball player. That's ten times worse than breeder to a lesbian. ;0

Posted by: pATRICK | October 29, 2007 5:01 PM

All I'm saying is, don't buy your kids a lot of plush animal toys. It will be really embarrassing later when they find out those animals still existed when they were conceived, but you didn't help save them. If you don't understand that entire species like frogs and bees are disappearing, can't read the science, can't accept that human induced global warming is real, please don't have kids.

but then, having kids is not really about the children, is it?

Posted by: marc | October 29, 2007 5:48 PM

This board is full of losers. I'm leaving to go make a baby.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 05:01 PM

Talk about someone who shouldn't procreate.

Posted by: milesdy | October 29, 2007 5:51 PM

This board is full of losers. I'm leaving to go make a baby.

Posted by: dboc_991 | October 29, 2007 05:01 PM


Dear Lord,

Please help the rhythm method work to prevent dboc's procreation, if for no other reason than to limit the relentless sanctimony preached in your name under the heading of "Christianity" when it is, at best, the teachings of his particular denomination. And guide him to read more of St. Paul's teachings about it being better to burn than to marry.

Posted by: MN | October 29, 2007 7:21 PM

MN, if i may add:

"God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector". (or other bloggers)

Posted by: pATRICK | October 29, 2007 7:54 PM

Marc, real scientists candidly admit they have NO IDEA what the effects of greenhouse gases will be, or over what time period they will take effect. Therefore, for anyone to base any important life decisions on fear of "global warming" would be deeply stupid and - yes - unscientific.

I wonder how many climatologists are going childless because they know the planet is doomed? I bet not a lot.

Posted by: mucus99 | October 29, 2007 8:16 PM

marc, there is no real evidence to say that any of the warming is due to human interaction. After you sequester all that carbon, then the world starts to get cooler, are you then going to release it? Really - the BEST THING TO DO for all that carbon dioxide in the air is just to plant some trees. That's all. You don't need all this fancy stuff, or anything else.

I've seen the data, and there's no real evidence. We don't even have enough evidence of the temperatures - hey - what instrumentation do you think they were using 50-70 years ago? Do you think it's the same as today? There are so many questions about the data. And again, no proof that it's anything humans are doing - show me the data.

And, again - we should be conserving, we should be doing a lot of things - but human beings just don't do it.

All of this: no reason to stop having kids. I mean, really - are you that panicked? Any changes really wouldn't be for hundreds of years.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 29, 2007 8:48 PM

I am child-free - I've never wanted kids, and I don't have a maternal bone in my body. The pressure from my parents to have kids was relentless until I began menopause. Before, every visit and every phone call led to questions about when I would have kids. I was told that I was "such a natural" with my nieces and nephews. It was also made quite clear to me that my post-graduate degrees and successful career didn't measure up to the grandchildren they constantly discussed with me. They're not much interested in me and my life, and never have been, but at least now I don't have to respond to the questions about when I'm going to have kids. There are real benefits to menopause!

Posted by: babsy1 | October 29, 2007 9:07 PM

You miss the point. The point is zero or negative population growth. The problem isn't with educated couples having more than 2 kids, since they generally don't. If you're concerned, you should target those couples having more than 1-2 kids, the immigrants. Duh.

-----------------------------------------

So, Americans shouldn't have kids because it causes global warming. I'm pretty sure the planet will be just fine, so no need to worry about Mother Earth. Humans and animals may have some tough times ahead of them, but Earth will pull through. And why is it that the educated have to cease reproducing? And really, I'm sure you recognize that our growing population isn't because MDs, PhDs, MPHs, and JDs are breeding. Perhaps you should start an organization that backs mandatory sterilization of immigrants, since they seem to be the US populators. That would be best for Earth.

Posted by: atb2 | October 29, 2007 04:39 PM

I find it amusing that this argument always pops up in these discussions. Like white, educated people NEED to reproduce so that MY GOD, the Hispanics don't overtake us!! Cause omg, what will happen then?! Nooooooooo!

Posted by: _Miles | October 29, 2007 05:00 PM

Posted by: atb2 | October 30, 2007 10:20 AM

You're obviously new. This is a common complaint, and mostly not at all sarcastic.

--------------------------------------------

atb2, obviously being a parent has cause you to lose your ability to sense sarcasm. Yikes!

Posted by: milesdy | October 29, 2007 04:57 PM

Posted by: atb2 | October 30, 2007 10:21 AM

marc- There are ACTUAL scientists who blog here. Are you a scientist? I know sciencemom and I are. I'm not getting my science from press releases.

Posted by: atb2 | October 30, 2007 10:23 AM

Something you don't hear about very often is the results of when someone is talked in to having kids who really never wanted them. This was my mother and the result was a very abusive childhood for my sisters and me.

My dad talked her into having kids. He wanted them and liked them. Not my mom but she bowed to pressure from him and her family and had them. I won't go into the horrors of my childhood including being told constantly that my siblings and I weren't wanted by my her.

Suffice it to say that all those people who refuse to let those who want to be childfree make their choice without criticisms and treating them as pariahs, have never seen the downside of their self righteousness; unwanted and unloved children.

Children shouldn't be brought into the world because of pressure, conformism, religious beliefs or any reason other than that of being really and truly wanted.
If a person is honest enough to admit they do not want children, that choice should be respected but unfortunately it often is not.

Posted by: minervah | November 1, 2007 10:03 PM

Most of the people I know you do not have children by choice, have made the decision for selfish reasons like clothing, perfect week_ends, life style, career, savings. Still, I don't see that there are financially ahead of they friends with kids or that they are happier in their lifes. Personally, havinf a child made me realize that I can do everything a childless person can do. Bottom line, having more to do improves your productivity. Having nothing to do makes you laid there all the time doing almost nothing.

Posted by: siakasylvie | November 7, 2007 3:19 PM

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