Blogmaster’s note: This is not the place for shitting on every parent or CBC in the world. This is for shitting on folks with shitty opinions. Please keep that in mind.
Okay, so confession time: I used to a frothing at the mouth, sprog-detesting, childfree-by-choice personlady. I grew up as an older female child in a pack of six, so you can just imaging how much gruntwork childcare I had to do for kids that were not my own (it wasn’t all bad, I got to teach at least two of my sibs how to walk, and that was cool). Of course, being the loner introverted mess I was and still am, the thought of having a baby that I couldn’t give back to mom sent me into fits. I visited bulletin boards and forums and Livejournal pages dedicated to those like me who never wanted children at all. Ever.
They were varying levels of hostility, of course, from just annoyed with parents asking for grandkids to full out frothing kidhate. And I ran the gamut, depending on mood and mental status and whether I was home or back at the college dorm. This was back in the early 2000s, betedub.
Now, I’m still childfree, but a lot less hostile about it. My issue with children isn’t that they’re children, it’s that they’re loud and have the exact pitch in voice that pings my misophonia something fierce. Not their fault. My discomfort with anything growing inside me and the pain of childbirth is all on me. I also tend to be more annoyed at their parents for doing things that most people would facepalm about. No, Junior doesn’t need to run around a restaurant where servers are holding trays of hot food. No, it’s really not cute with Precious tugs at my hair while we’re on the bus. You know, those things.
Today, we’re gonna have a little chat with one of “those” parents. The ones that make even my parent friends want to throttle. The, as a friend put it so nicely, “self absorbed martyr complex” parent who believes that the choice to not have children is selfish.
Oh dear, where do I even start?
How about that title. At first read, I was like:
I’m really hoping someone else came up with that, because seriously, deteriorating society? Lay of the dramatics, please.
Next up, nice picture. Cute kids, happy mom. Wish it would have ended there.
Your life is not a possession that children will destroy, ladies.
The childless by choice movement has taken thirty-somethings by storm and is now trickling down to women in their 20s, single or otherwise, as soon as they see their life as a possession that children destroy.
I can’t even count the number of articles I’ve seen on this topic, most recently this one, in which the author names a few basic reasons why she is confident she’ll never want kids, with the grand conclusion that her personal happiness is most important — and that children put that happiness in dire danger. The piece went viral, and it’s far from the first proud declaration against procreation.
Firstly, where the hell have you been? CBC has been a thing since I was, again, in my early 20s. I’m glad it’s picking up steam with more articles and more spotlight, but this ain’t new. Fuck, Scalzi was trolling a group back in 2002.
But these are the child-hating, “breeder” dissing folks you’re discussing. It’s young women making their choice out loud, and some finally being heard and getting the sterilizations they need.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled women are able to separate their feminine worth from their desire and ability to bear children.
Good. Another spot where you could have stopped and been fine. Mostly. This is a great moment for feminism.
And then you had to start fucking up.
That’s a huge step for social progress. But I’m afraid it’s taken us in the wrong direction. The reasons these women are touting — sacrificing sleep, money and time, to name a few — don’t defend a woman’s right to be childless, they defend a woman’s right to be selfish.
Oh noes, women being aware of what raising a tiny human entails and deciding not to take that up are SELFISH? And deciding that in a world with 7 billion people, that you must add to it isn’t?
Surprise, we get to be selfish. And we all do. Would you consider someone refusing to take the time and training to become an astronaut or a doctor selfish?
And this push for preserving “self” above all else takes us down a dangerous path — one that’s not particularly safe for the individual and one that will surely lead to deterioration for society as a whole. We live in a culture where personal freedom and comfort have gone from privileges to our top priorities. We’ve long lost the beauty of sacrifice.
Jesus Christ on a unicycle, lady. Tone it the fuck down.
As another dear friend on Facebook posted upon reading this mess:
…our crime rates are at historic lows, we’re seeing real progress among the young people on issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and classism, our economy’s improving, the youth of today read more and write more than their parents or grandparents ever did, knowledge is widely and freely available, and in general we’re making good progress on many issues that were thought intractable just ten years ago.
There is that whole climate change thing, of course, but that’s not something that having more children would fix.
So by what metric is society deteriorating?
Is it the gays? I bet it’s the gays. Or maybe birth control. AND the gays.
And seriously, are you American (apologies if you’re not)? Personal freedom and comfort are two of the things we crow about this here country running on.
And the beauty of sacrifice? I can’t roll my eyes any harder without them falling into my head. Are you seriously implying that having and raising children is the only way women can sacrifice? Because that’s some sexist bullshit. We, and those with uteruses who do not ID as women, have been dependent on the whims of our wombs for long enough. The freedom of birth control severed that link so we could, if we wanted to, do other things with our lives. That is a good thing.
I can’t promise that you’ll be happier if you have children, but I can promise you this: if you only live a life of self, if you continue to cherish personal freedom and protect everything you “deserve” over giving of yourself to others, you won’t thrive. The sacrifices you make when you have children are things you need to exercise to be a person of value — from a quality employee to a reliable friend, and especially a loving spouse.
You’re damned right you can promise happiness with children, and for fuck’s sake, STOP EQUATING NOT HAVING CHILDREN WITH LIVING A SELFISH LIFE. I hate to burst your little bubble here, but people are capable of being reliable friends, quality employees, and loving spouses sans giving birth. No, really. And there are plenty of shitty friends, worthless employees, and hateful spouses who have made use of their reproductive systems. I can’t believe I have to say this to another human being.
Seriously, I’m not surprised if folks who are infertile haven’t started with pitchforks and torches. Are they incapable of being decent humans, too?
Thinking only about what’s good for you won’t lead to a happy life.
Why? Because that life lacks love and true love requires selflessness and sacrifice. Giving of your own life for the flourishing of another isn’t subservient, backward thinking. It isn’t “toxic” as pop-psychology often calls it.
How do you know?
Seriously. How do you know that a life where someone considers their wants first won’t lead to a happy life? And really, deciding to have a kid isn’t thinking of yourself in some way? Especially the way you’re framing is as “suuuch a sacrifice”.
No, it’s more like heroism. It’s Harry Potter, the Iron Giant, Frodo Baggins… a glimpse of Jesus Christ on the cross. We love these characters because their complete personal sacrifice is so exceptional. Reflections of that type of sacrifice toward your colleagues, community, friends, and family are part of a life full of love.
Oh my gosh, if you could only see how your own examples prove your entire premise to be so fucked up. Let’s see:
- Harry Potter was a child during all of his grand “save the world” adventures, and at the time, had no kids of his own
- I’m pretty sure the Iron Giant didn’t have kids either.
- Frodo Baggins also didn’t have kids during his grand adventures.
- Jesus Christ. JESUS CHRIST. Jesus Christ. The man whose sacrifice supposedly saved all of humanity, also, according to the canon most Christians accept, did not have children. Ever.
Gee whiz, it’s like you don’t have to have children in order to be selfless, or give a shit about your family, community, friends, blah, blah, blah.
And the fact that your examples are all male is really telling. No one tells men that not being a father means that they’re selfish people destined to live a me-focused terrible life. You should think on that shit.
No, women don’t need to have kids. But I argue that for a fulfilled life, you do need to participate in something that requires the curtailing of your freedom, desire and personal needs. Giving birth is the most tangible way to do this but it’s by no means the only way. It’s absolutely within your realm of choice and privilege to not literally give birth to life. But if it’s not through procreation, then please, for the sake of the world my children will live in, please find other ways to give life to others.
Oh, now, several paragraphs in, you propose other ways to give to the world. Pity you’re still hung up on giving birth as being the best way. Oh, I’m sorry, most tangible. Because those folks building houses for Habitat for Humanity or serving up food at homeless shelters or organizing protests aren’t doing ANYTHING tangible. Nope, carrying a fetus and pushing it out of your womb is the MOST tangible way.
Fuck you. Oh and worry about your own kids. It’s not our job.
At this point I skipped some paragraphs because it’s most “Oh, look at all the work that goes into children and wasn’t the 50s nice when (mostly white, mostly middle class and up) women were regulated to the household”. And then she goes in on another contributor, who volunteered for sterilization at 28 (lucky her):
This rant illustrates my point exactly. Yes, she has every right to not have children, but there are good reasons to not have children and these simply aren’t them. She’s giving, self-admittedly, a spoiled and selfish explanation of why she won’t have kids and disguising it as social progress.
It makes surface sense to apply this author’s “I don’t want to get out of my comfort zone” feelings toward children because no one wants to see children with a mother who’s not willing to nurture them, and so we cheer her on. But truth be told she’s going to have to confront these issues any time she wants something worth hard work.
And we’re reached the crux of this whole “rant” (see, I can be a condescending jerk too). Look, you may be A mother, but you are not OUR mother. You are certainly not this writer’s mother, which makes this sound like some kind of finger wagging advice no one fucking asked for. Given that you’re one of those bullshit surrendered wives, I shouldn’t be all that surprised that your backwards ass ‘advice’ comes off like the overly concerned preacher’s wife who can’t get out of everyone’s business. You don’t know what her deal is. You don’t know her struggles, and you damn sure don’t know what issues she’s facing, or what “hard work” she has to endure. Fucking hell.
I can’t finish this shit, but here’s two more bits that’re facepalmy:
It’s so very 28 of us to want what we want when we want it.
You sound bold and brazen at 28 but what about 82?
You know, if you bothered doing just a bit more research than reading one essay and digging into your own ass, you’d find that question is so common and boring and answered 20 bajillion times already by people who are happy to give their reasons. Here’s mine:
I refuse to live my life thinking about what I’ll regret in my dotage.
But what you’re really saying is that you’re an island, the only one worth serving, that your offspring are not worth your blood, sweat and tears. Which is your call to make. Just make sure you find something that is worth it. Because blood, sweat and tears? That’s what life is all about.
No one is saying “you’re an island, the only one worth serving.” YOU ARE, you horrible excuse for a carbon-based organism. And stop it with the two-faced, “Do what you want, but make sure blah blah blah.” You are not okay with our choice. You are so not okay with it, so stop being so damn triffling and wishywashy about it.
Also, “blood, sweat, and tears”? This may surprise you, because it would require pulling your head out of your ass long enough to take a clean breath, but that can mean a lot of things to everyone. For you, it’s raising kids. For me, it’s living with my disabilities and trying to entertain. For someone else, it could be training guide dogs, or fighting fires, or working as a nurse in a maternity ward, or being a writer. That’s the entire point of living for one’s self, not this “one man’s an island, I’m selfish all the time, mememememe” bullshit you’re trying to push.
So, in short, fuck this article and fuck this writer. Fuck her for being condescending, fuck her for on one side of her neck praising social progress, and on the other side, pining for a time where a women’s place was in the home (women meaning, of course, white and middle-class or higher). Fuck her for trying to come off as some kind of martyr for doing what millions of people do every fucking day (raise their children). Fuck her for defining what sacrifice is, and then attempting to backtrack with some weaksauce “now you don’t HAVE to have children” after hammering that shit for paragraphs.
Climb off the cross. We need the wood. Or is that not ‘tangible’ enough for you?