I have an odd relationship with people who have kids. I live a childfree lifestyle and that’s not changing anytime soon. In fact, I was voluntarily sterilized at 27. However, I’d never admit this to most people in person—here’s why:
- It raises a lot more questions than I feel comfortable answering. I have a whole backstory, including one based on how I got sterilized and how I already have a kid who I see via open adoption. It’s a long story but it’s one that frankly, I don’t want to tell. It’s a private matter. There are a lot of painful memories surrounding it and things I still haven’t healed from.
- I almost always get some kind of backlash. I can never say that I’m childfree without negative comments from others. At times, people seem to think that I need to explain myself, so they ask why. I don’t want to raise a kid full-time—that should be reason enough. Other times, I’ll hear about how I’ll “change my mind”—and trust me when I say people look at me like a monster when I tell them I already gave birth and stuck by my choice. It’s not fun.
- People also seem to think that my lifestyle choice is an attack on them. Being angry at someone because they don’t want kids is a lot like getting pissed at someone for eating an ice cream cone while you’re on a diet. It’s ridiculous, and the fact that people get so offended just shows that they probably regret their decision. That being said, I don’t want to hear them get all pissy.
- People don’t seem to understand how rude it is to really talk about reproductive choices like that. Could you imagine what would happen if I were to walk up to someone and ask them when was the last time they barebacked their partner? I’d probably get slapped. When you’re telling people that they need to have kids, you’re basically asking them to have unprotected sex. Think about how creepy that is and then you’ll understand why I want to avoid it.
- Unintentional or not, a lot of people really seem to base a female’s worth on her reproducing. It’s sad. I don’t even identify as female, but since I was so unfortunate as to be born with a uterus, I’m automatically expected to have kids. When people hear I want to be childfree, they often look at me like a freak of nature. I’ve had guys tell me straight to my face that I’m “worthless as a wife” if I don’t want to give a man kids. Do you have any idea how much that hurts?
- Most people who are childfree also are viewed as sociopathic or immature. Okay, maybe I’ll cop to being immature. I love cartoons too much to be an old fogey like everyone else. But, there’s this whole idea floating around that if you don’t want kids, you hate them. I don’t hate kids—I just don’t want to raise any of my own, and I definitely don’t want to be called a sociopath by someone who just doesn’t understand me.
- The stigma isn’t just from men, it’s from women too. I’d go so far as to say that women are way, way harsher critics of childfree people than men are. That judgment some women gave me when I found out I was seven months pregnant ruined friendships that I thought would last for years. Even thinking about those bridges that got burned hurts, and frankly, I don’t want to open up that wound again.
- I’m sick and tired of explaining to people why not having kids isn’t selfish. I really don’t understand why so many people think it’s selfish to not have kids. Our Earth is dying out, healthcare is down the toilet, and frankly, it’s not getting any better. Many of the problems our world is facing, including global warming, are due to overpopulation. It’s not wise to have kids knowing what a terrible world we’re living in. I wouldn’t willingly bring anyone into this dystopian world. In my eyes, that’s a horrible thing to do.
- The way people react says a lot about mainstream American society—and none of it is good. Since when did other people’s reproductive choices become a perfectly legitimate reason to attack them? Are we really that messed up as a society that we can no longer seek validation from within ourselves but must see everyone else around us make the same choices we do? Are we really at the point where conformity matters more than common sense? Moreover, the scarier question remains—are women really not people to others out there? If we’re at that point, I don’t think I’d want to stay in America anymore.