What a fantastic article. It's almost funny the amount of negative comments she receives stem from pure jealousy. It almost seems as if those with children impose their views on the childless in a selfish and sad attempt to justify their own decisions. As if to say, "Well, if I can make this childless person's life seem empty and useless, then it must mean my bad decisions are worthwhile. Yes, that's it. I'll make as many venomous and pitying comments to them as I can. Eventually, I'm sure my life will feel satisfying." But the truth of the matter is: the childless can always add to their lives. Those with children are stuck with their decision forever.
The comments to this article are amusing as well; especially this misguided soul, "It's sad to see that so many women choose not to have children in favour of advancing their career. To me this is a sign of a being very detached from your natural instincs and being emotionally insecure. Instead of having children you prefer to spend your life on some abstract meaningless job to earn money that you probably don't need. Also, most mothers (including those on benefits) get infiitely more satisfaction raising children or as you put it "shuttling children between ballet classes, swimming club, football practice and sleepovers" than you will ever have playing golf while your rich old husband prants around with his big boy's toys.
How about this gem:
In Darwin's bicentenary year, the key question to ask the childless (unless they have religious or medical reasons) is "What part of natural selection did you fail to understand?"
What part of "world population 7 billion" does this person fail to understand?
Excellent article! I have always felt that the people who feel they must reproduce their DNA, no matter how damaged it may be, are the selfish ones. This really gets me ranting when I read about couples who spend thousands of dollars on various fertility treatments (and end up with two or more babies from a single pregnancy...often born prematurely, with serious physical and mental problems) so they can have their "own" children instead of adopting some who are in desperate need of loving homes.
I've mentioned before in here that by the time I was in my mid-teens I knew that I didn't have the patience and whatever else it takes to raise sane children. I also had a bad habit of dating Catholic men...a lot of short romances. Heh. This was long before The Pill and Roe v. Wade, so I shied away from marriage until all the "good ones" were taken.
But so what? I also ended up taking care of my parents full time during the last years of their lives. It wasn't easy; I've lost count of the number of times I found myself taking one or the other to the ER in the middle of the night. But I feel better for having done it. Not smug or proud, I just did what I had to do, and Mom and Dad lived in their own home instead of being warehoused with a bunch of strangers.
I also remember posting in another "Childless" discussion that "Dear Abby" once asked her readers to write and tell her if they would have children if they had it to do all over again, and at least 50% said "No way!" That tells me that at least half the people who go on and on about the joys of parenthood are lying. Whether they know it or not.
Many parents try to put the Childless by Choice on the defensive because deep down they feel trapped. They didn't think it through, the kids are here, and they can't just abandon them...although I believe that all these organized after-school activities are a form of abandonment. I took dance lessons because I wanted to, and then when I fell in love with ice skating (NOT a common activity in Southern California) I was allowed to switch. And fulfilled my modest dreams of skating in a professional show for a few years.
My only mistake was that I thought Social Insecurity would be enough to support me when I retired...from bookkeeping and tax work...I never put any money away because I didn't believe I'd live this long, nor was I ever paid enough to have anything to put in any kind of retirement fund, or be forced to take early retirement beause my body started falling apart. For "company," I adopt kittehs...I like "cattitude," never wanted to be worshipped by dogs, although I do love large dogs. I just don't have the stamina to take proper care of them anymore. (I was a professional "sitter" for more than 30 years; I charged double for little yappy dogs.)
No real regrets, srsly. I think I'm more content than most of my classmates who felt obligated to have children, whether they were ready for them or not. (In my day, there were NO alternatives; I went to my first "had to" wedding when we were sophomores. It was pathetic, and so was the marriage.)
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. ;>)