A few moments on my soap box


I was recently driving to the Post Office, listening to the local NPR station which was running the show BBC World Have Your Say. Today's topic was about whether or not it's selfish to forgo having children if you are able to have them.

Stop now if you don't want to hear any strong opinions on this topic or if you can't play nice on the interwebs. Feel free to leave your 2ยข, though if you have some thoughtful feedback.

To spare those of you who prefer puppy pics and yarn, I'll finish this entry, after the bump.

First off, let me say that I am neither religious nor interested in having kids. I remember being a kid and knowing I didn't want to have kids. I knew this was contradictory, but I never related to kids and always got along better with adults, most likely because they seemed to find my quirkiness endearing.

At times in my life, I considered having kids, often because the person I was with seemed set on having kids, but I was never motivated because of a personal internal drive. I have no doubt that if I DID have kids, I would love them and would not be able to imagine my life without them. If having dogs is any small bit like having kids, I can understand the desire to protect and care for something that needs your protection and care.

I'm sure it's obvious where I stand on this topic, so again, you are forewarned if you want to stop reading, by all means, do so.

Here are some of the arguments posed for why it is selfish not to have children, and my responses.

  • Having children makes you a better person
  • Prove it. One might argue that this makes, by default, all priests and nuns worse people than they could be. I would hope that anyone who has found themselves unable to conceive would find this argument offensive.
  • You are depriving your parents of being grandparents
  • Firstly, this presumes that your parents want to be grandparents, but lets say they do, how, is this really a reason to take on a life altering decision? Having a child should not be a decision made based on the input of people who probably will not be responsible for the child's upbringing.
  • You will have no one to care for you when you are old
  • Firstly, I'd argue this is a selfish reason TO have a child. Secondly, there is no guarantee that you your child will be willing and able to care for you. While one can hope that this will be the case, life doesn't always work out that way. Your child shouldn't be born as a Long Term Care insurance policy.
  • You are depriving yourself of this magnificent experience and the love of a child.
  • Once again, this sounds oddly selfish for an argument against being selfish.
  • It is selfish to choose your job over a child
  • It is also selfish to bring a child into the world for which you do not have the means to provide proper care. While I'm as bleeding heart a liberal as they come and happily pay into the welfare system, I wouldn't want to be someone who relied on welfare because of poor planning
  • It is selfish to choose your quality of life over a child
  • If you genuinely feel someone is so selfish that they are only driven by their quality of life, would you trust that person to raise a child well? I suppose this really could be a question I ask for each and every one of these points.
  • People who don't have children live lavish (ergo environmentally irresponsible) lifestyles that they would not if they had a child.
  • This was an argument made on the BBC show, rather hastily. Perhaps this woman is the only person proclaiming this but it seems beyond absurd to even make this claim. Firstly, is there any evidence to suggest that an individual or couple with a child uses fewer natural resources than an individual or couple without a child? I don't know how one would measure this but I declare shenanigans.
  • Without children there is no future for humanity.
  • As long as people are fertile and horny, there's really no risk of an imminent end to human existence by lack of offspring. If some small percentage of the population can't or doesn't have children, the human species will go on reproducing at large. Luckily, biology has us covered there.

The reasons why I don't current wish to have children, continues...

  • I don't want children. Shouldn't that be enough? Those of us who don't want children aren't saying that children are bad or that you cannot have them yourself (at least, I'm not saying that). Why should anyone be dictating what is best for me in this manner?

  • There are far too many people on this earth. Considering the many people who have a half dozen children (or more), I like to think I'm doing my part to balance things out a bit.

  • I'm not sure that I'd be a great mother. I'm not fishing for encouragment here. I think I'm a loving and kind person, but there's is definitely some mental illness in my family and health issues that I might not want to pass along to another generation. Additionally, I find myself plagued by enough anxiety with my current life. I can only imagine how having a child would exacerbate it, and I could see myself becoming rather overbearing.

  • I feel happy with my life as it is now and I feel no emptiness or longing for something more. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • If I might be a bit curmudgeonly for a moment, I don't like the way many kids are raised today. In a great deal of homes, kids become little kings and queens in a way that I feel short changes the child and brings undo stress on the family as a whole. Even if my child were not raised this way, there's no escaping the culture of this mentality. I have met a lot of great children and know this doesn't extend to all of them, but this mentality has definitely seeped out and become a relative norm.

Listening to the woman representing the "no children is selfish" platform, I just couldn't get over how one argument after another was aimed at what a horrible person one must be to not have children, with no real evidence to substantiate her claims. I guess I can't fathom why anyone would feel they need to dictate such an important part of anyone's life. Really, why does she care if I have children. Someday I may decide that I do want kids, great, but I certainly don't feel its anyone's place to make me feel bad about my decision, if I don't.

Ok, rant over, back to our regularly scheduled yarny/doggy goodness.


Currently I only have a fur-child. I haven't ruled out having kids but I have a LOT of friends who don't want kids. I don't have a burning need for a child - I think my biological clock is either broken or on mute because I hear no ticking.

However, one of my friends makes this arguement for having a child. We smart folks need to have kids to balance out all the dumb people breeding like rabbits. That kind of thinking seems elitist to me, but after a day at a local fair I kind of get her point. I know my kids won't be guaranteed smart just because I am but it does seem like maybe the smart folks are all the ones choosing to forgo childbearing.

Sometimes I wonder what that means for our world....

Dumb people can have smart children, so it's okay if smart people decide not to have kids. We should all just make sure to support a good system of education, and we won't have to worry about dumb people outbreeding smart ones...

You've stated pretty much all the same reasons I've had through my life for not wanting kids. One of the big ones is the physical/mental health issue. My family is shot through with cancer, depression and just plain old shyness. I wouldn't want to bring up a child who might be as miserable as I have been at various times of my life. (I'm pretty happy right now, thank Og.)

The one thing I can say that I feel these days is this: as you get older, it feels a bit lonely and sterile to know that your line ends with you. I think of some future descendant of some branch of the family looking for old relatives and seeing this branch of the tree just... taper off and end. Of me, my brother, and my sister, only one of us has reproduced, and he (my bro) only produced one.

But even knowing this, I wouldn't have changed my mind about kids. I had the opportunity once, and turned it down without regrets.

I want kids. But I'm going to go ahead and declare that woman and her argument both completely absurd.

If selfish, bad people refrained from having children, in theory we'd have evolved into a better society without a need to guilt people into childbearing with short-sighted, speculative arguments.

It's not whether you bear the children, it's what you do with them that counts.

I love children, and I don't plan on having any of my own. I enjoy being the eccentric spinster aunt!

I think you're protesting too much. Why? It's your life.

We have three children, and are in the middle of adopting our fourth, but I COMPLETELY agree with you! Parenting (the right way, at least) takes a lot of work. I'm appreciative of all the positive character traits that being a Mommy has brought out in me, but I would never, ever tell anyone they should have children. In fact, the ones who are unsure/ don't want kids/ want kids for the wrong reasons...should really wait. Those precious children need parents committed to their upbringing. *Our society* needs parents committed to their upbringing.

I don't think it's at all selfish to choose not to have children. In fact if all of the people who deep down knew that they didn't want kids were careful not to have any I think fewer children would be mistreated. I happen to have four children and the shock that I meet when I say that is surprising. I respect a persons right to choose not have kids but I think people think its okay to make smart comments about me having four. If we could all learn to respect each others decisions regardless of what we would do differently we would be a lot better off.

can't believe that they actually had a radio segment based on the above lame (imho) reasoning. If you don't want children you shouldn't have them. End of story. Yes, if a person who is against the idea did have a child it might change his/her mind, or they might resent the child, mistreat the child, ignore the child etc. There are far too many unwanted children as it is, why add one more?

And for the record, I've always wanted children and am about to have my first.

OK - I have 2 kids - unlike you, from the age of 16 I knew that I desperately wanted to have them at some point. However I have never been able to understand how not having children could be viewed as selfish. Having children was quite definitely a selfish choice on my part.

And addressing the first argument for having children - nope - I'd definitely say that having kids has not made me a better person. It has made me far more aware of some of my failings, and yes, I've had to grow up some. Maybe the self-awareness is a good thing, but I suspect that some of the negative characteristics are only really being displayed because I have children.

But I do love them both tremendously, and would act like a cornered alley cat if anyone tried to take them away from me.

TBH it seems that this is just one of those arguments that always seems to happen around parenting issues. It's kind of the first one. Once a baby has been conceived a whole new load arise - home-birth or hospital (complete with ranking based on which method of pain relief is used) breast-fed or bottle-fed, cloth diapers or disposables, etc etc. (And believe me, this battles are generally not at all pretty.)

Women could be such great support for each other on this sort of issue - all it takes is a little respect for people who have chosen a different path, but unfortunately on so many issues it doesn't work out that way.

How interesting. I had never heard that argument before. I always assumed that having children when I didn't have the means and support to raise them in the best, most supportive environment was the selfish act.

My Mom has tried to tell me that people who have kids are easier going, blah blah blah until I pointed out to her that perhaps the people who are uptight are not uptight because they didn't have kids but that they didn't have kids because they are uptight.

In the meantime, I'm the greatest Aunt on the planet. ;-)

At this point in my life I am not interested in having children, I have never really been interested in having or wanting children, but my husband really wants kids.

I feel that if I had a child before I wanted one, that I would not treat the child like I should no matter how much I love them. I want my children to be healthy and balanced.

My husband and I tend to participate in both the conservative and liberal circles. I appreciate that our liberal friends don't constantly ask about when we hope to have children, while our more conservative friends were warned off the subject early on. My dear friends never ask because they have known my feelings since high school.

Thankfully we have no outside pressures to have children. My parents aren't interested (if I had not been born, they probably would have not had children. so they understand.) His parents have grandchildren. His mom told us that we would miss an important factor of life, because of this we constantly told her that we got dogs so that she could hear the pitter patter of little feet. She came to love our dogs and loving them as her grandchildren up until her death. I brought our newest addition to her bedside so that she might be able to remember her.

We are happy with our fur children. They are a lot of work, but a great enjoyment. We don't have as much freedom as we had when we did not have them, but that doesn't bother us much. It is normally only a problem, when we start contemplating hiking one of the national parks where dogs are not allowed.

I agree 100%. I was raised in a family of 5 (including my parents) and I can absolutely assure you that 5 people, especially when 3 of them are kids, use up way more energy than one adult couple would. Theres more electricity use (dad was always yelling at us to turn the lights/tv/radio/fan off when we leave the room), more waste, higher food consumption, exct. There's a much bigger ecological foot print. Along the same lines, humans overpopulate the Earth as it is, and its leaving a dammaging effect on the ecosystem. I really feel that if our population is at stake, its beacause there are too many of us, not too few.

My answer for "You will have no one to care for you when you are old " is that I'm using all that orthodontist/dance school/soccer uniform/ crashed car/college/bail money on a kick-ass retirement home! :)

Honestly, all of those excuses are lame and it really is a non-issue, except for this woman with the wadded panties. Maybe she needs to make herself feel better about the decisions she's made. That's usually the case with those who consider you a bad person because you don't make the same choices they do.


I have two kids, but I completely agree with you on this. So many people seem to think that their way is the only right way. Especially when it comes to kids.

It reminds me of something my mother always told my brothers and I when we were kids, "You just worry about what you're doing and stop worrying about they're doing".

I cannot see how a family uses less resources when you consider diapers... for a start. I will never use enough paper towels/plastic bags or do enough laundry to equal what is used in diapering one child (depending on method of diapering said child).

I agree with you. I always knew that I had to be the last of my line because of how tainted my gene pool is. Although, I do get a kick out of how many boxes I get to check on medical forms.

I do not want a baby and do not plan on having any. Trying to be a good person and a responsible cat owner is more than enough, thanks. I don't really see the point in people arguing this. Babies are optional. Having them or not having them is no one else's concern.

Hear hear!

I too am someone who has chosen not to have kids, and don't feel it's a selfish decision, but rather a responsible one. I'd list my reasons, but you seem to have covered them nicely.

I have only once been called selfish in this decision, and it was by a male co-worker. And as I see it, he was wrong by default, as he had a child for which he wasn't paying child support.

I have encountered a few people who don't understand that I don't feel the "need" to have kids, but my response to that is, "that's ok, you don't have to understand it."

What a refreshing and thoughtful post! At every point, I was nodding, recognizing the same thoughts that have gone into my own decision-making. It's always great to hear other people repeating and legitimizing what you yourself think : )

But seriously, thank you for this thought-provoking response to that radio show.

I have two kids and I'm glad I am a parent but I totally admire women who know what they want from their lives and if it's not kids that's just fine!

I've heard arguments that having children is actually one of the most selfish things people can do. The idea similar to your arguments that no one can decide to have a child while being truly altruistic.

We always have children for our own desires. I'm due in 3 months. I never wanted children before. About 5 years into our marriage, I thought, "hey, I would like to be parents with this guy." And I must say, it did add an additional sense of purpose to my life, even though it didn't feel empty or drifting before. Of course, some people will never feel that way about the subject. But no matter what happy fuzy feelings I attach to it, it's still self-serving to decide to have kids :p

I totally agree with all of you that said that radio show was completely pointless! Couldn't they come up with something useful to argue about? That's one reason I try really hard to not listen to talk radio, but I digress.

I have 3 kids, all boys, and we're discussing #4. I love them all dearly, but I have wanted to be a mom since I was a little kid. That was my career goal. I know there are those out there who would criticize me for that, but that's just their opinion. My husband and I waited a few years to have kids, so that we'd be in a financial position to have me stay at home with them. That's what we wanted. On the other hand, our best friends just had their second, and they say often that they don't raise their kids, all the credit goes to the day-care. They tell us that they just do this parenting thing part time. Know what? That's their thing! We all are different, and who exactly is anyone to say that my way is right, and therefore, if you don't agree then by default your way is wrong? Different things work for different people.

My gosh, people, isn't it the individual's decision whether or not to procreate? Sure kids are great, and on some level, I think it'd be great if everyone could experience the joys I did while being pregnant and during labor and giving birth and nursing and all of that. But, I also love brussell sprouts. And I can't see forcing them on someone. Brussell sprouts or kids.

Wow. Possibly the most absurd thing I've ever heard.
I love kids, am guardian to two, and am having my own.
But there's no way on this earth I'd ever call someone selfish for *not* doing it.
I just wish we (as women and as people) could get past the 'mommy wars.'

I think at its very core, discussions about parenting are all about second-guessing women and not trusting them to make their own decisions. I'm sure there aren't nearly as many men who struggle with societal pressure to have kids. But if you DO go ahead and have kids, every other day you're going to hear about some new way in which you're being a bad mother or aren't doing enough to help your child succeed in life (at least I think that's the reasoning about supposed "mommy wars"). Again, not the same pressures for men. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I think society just wants to keep women as insecure as possible so they don't have the energy or sass to stand up for themselves. Ok, that's more like 5 cents, I'm done now :)

Funny the sort of posts that bring one out of lurkdom. I feel the same way. I've known for a long time that children are not in my future. I was at dinner with a group of ten or so overachieving undergraduates at a highly rated school, and I was the only one among them not interested in having children. They were gobsmacked. But kids are just not part of my future.

So I get this post. I'm with you.

I have three puppies babies. I don't really want at the moment (but am not against them in the future) but I totally agree that kids today need to be put in their place. And they need to be outside and exercising and reading... ok, well I won't keep going.

I totally understand though.

It's wonderful to read this part of the argument. I am single and 30, and have felt the pressure/comments from friends, family and strangers as to why I'm not married or interested in having children because of my age. I am undecided about children at this point, and although I work with children as a teacher, it is job where it does at times, put me off from being a mother. I feel like my life is very full and don't feel that I am ready for motherhood. It would be great if other people respected this decision because those not choosing to have kids have decided on an alternative path, one that is equally valid.

I forget whether or not you're married or not...but if you're single, do you get a lot of questions as to why you and Leo aren't married yet? This is def one I've had to learn to deal/fend off esp since I've been w/ my boyfriend for 2 years now.

What an interesting topic - I couldn't have kids, and I never truly felt the big urge to have children. For many years I thought something was, perhaps, very wrong with me to not want having children. I have learned over the years that there is nothing wrong with my decision to not have children (which turned out to be a good thing given I found out at age 38 that I couldn't have had any ANYWAY!) I firmly believe that things happen for a reason. And I have many good, dear friends who didn't have children.

I think it's silly to judge people like this. Celebrate the fact you have enough self-awareness and smarts to follow your heart! Great topic.

I wanted a child, definitely. I went through fertility treatment in order to have a child, nearly died in the process of having her, and was warned off trying to have another, lest I, duh, die trying. And the reality of one child with physical problems was overwhelming. So I cut off the baby factory. My then-husband accused me of tying the tubes to spite him. Needless to say, we divorced.

All of this was my choice, my life, my everything. I love my daughter, and yet there are days when I know that I might have had an easier life without her. Nothing in this mother/daughter equation is simple or straightforward except the fact that we love each other immensely. The rest is a day to day challenge.

My current husband did not want children, for the most part, though he has had little twinges of regret that I can no longer have one with him. And he's had little twinges of regret that he's got one already, because we came as a package deal. But he's risen to the challenge, though he did not originally choose to procreate. It ain't for everyone, this parenting gig. He's a remarkable human being for taking it on, though he had always thought he didn't want to and couldn't do it.

All of that said, anyone who tells you that you ought to have a child should shut the f*ck up and mind their own business. Like others, I can hardly believe that there's a show devoting time to telling people how, when, where, and why they should procreate. I really fail to see how anyone can think it's okay to tell another person what they should do in this matter.

For what ever reason I always knew I didn't want to have children and I have never been sorry..If others want to have children-let them, but please don't push your propaganda on me.. I thought we were all entitled to do what ever the hell we want when it comes to this, but it's like everyting--the majority never likes someone who is not like them (just like organized religion) another taboo subject...Four points:
1-Most children DO NOT take care of their elderly parents.
2- What kind of parents have children and have nannies raise them while they work to pay for them?
3-The divorce rate being what it is-how many children live in one parent homes.
4-What about the Population explosion never mind the environment. The diapers alone in out land fills is out of control,,,

While I've always thought that you HAD to be selfish to have a child, I think some of the arguments mentioned in the comments are just as belittling to those people who want/have children as those made in the program you heard.

Everyone's a critic.

this is just absurd.

i had someone recently tell me that they'd never heard of someone who freely chose not to have a child and implied that i must have a serious problem for feeling that way.

i have no problem with those who choose to have kids, but the lifestyle just isn't for me.

All I can say is amen sister.

i've had this argument a million times with my mother (whom i love dearly) about my feelings about children. i'm an only child, and my mother is divorced, and i think some of her loneliness is where a lot of the pressure comes from. she uses the "someone to take care of you when you're old," "i want to be a grandmother," "you're just being selfish to want a career" line all of the time.

then again, when i told the rest of the women that i got into a phd program, the inevitable response included, "when does marriage and children fit into this picture?," so i suppose her response is not shocking. i wonder how old the woman speaking was, as it seems, at least from some of my experiences, that generational expectations and family background can play a factor. we are working toward a time (finally) when a woman choosing something other than a traditional role is not as scourned, but some still cling to those old gender roles like a blanky.

sometimes i think i might want them, sometimes not, but i do resent people believing they have a say. it's incredibly infuriating, and it was nice to read a post and hear so many people sharing the same feelings.

I have had many biology courses (including philosophy of biology which discusses altruism and the like) and this is how reproduction tends to be viewed: 1) it is a selfish act because it puts more copies of your genes into the world. 2) it is instinctive and if you don't have that instinct, there is probably a reason that you should not reproduce. (and by you, i mean any organism that reproduces through sexual means, not just Marnie)
So you can probably tell how I feel on the subject. Also, talk radio annoys me. If I wanted to hear people argue about randomly chosen issues, I'd sit in on a philosophy class.

i didn't have time to read all the comments, but it looks like you've got a 95% concensus in your favor, lol.

being the mother of 4, i can say this. if you don't like kids, DON'T HAVE CHILDREN. i had a friend who wasn't particularly fond of children, and ended up having 2 (both were whoops, the older one has absolutely no contact with his father). while she did her best, i could always tell when it was or was not a good idea to bring my own (she would never tell me not to, but part of being her friend was knowing when). she always told me, however, that i was most definitely mommy material. i mother EVERYBODY. in fact, my daughter's roommate calls me mom, because i mother her more than her own mother does!

anyway, rambling away, the point is that it's your body, and your life. to hell with those who have contrary opinions (this is not logan's run, after all! (oh dear, i think i just dated myself))

Marnie, your blog today almost exactly refects my feelings on the subject too. So close it's scary.

I've been declared 'selfish' for not having children by people with kids and I don't get it either. The only argument that I've given a moment's thought to is that by having children you become less selfish as you will have to give your time to someone else, always. i.e. a parent is a person who is inherently less selfish than a non-parent but it's not the choice that is the selfish/selfless act. I counter that by saying I have elderly parents, a husband, friends, pets that mean I constantly give my time too. And I could point to one parent (not mine) who is the most selfish person I know.

I'm guessing a childless-by-choice woman is some how threating to others. Whatever.

given my age, i'm probably going to be childless and i'm a little sad about that. but my reasons for wanting to have a child are the selfish ones...sad that after me there won't be any more of us (i have a brother but he's currently single and while it's possible that he'll father a child, it's unlikely right now); i sometimes feel empty because i will never have the experience of being a parent (i have nieces and nephews through marriage, but that's just not the same), and finally, who will take care of me when i'm old. my reasons for not having children are much less selfish: i'm too old, is it fair to a child to have potentially elderly parents at a young age? i'm a bit crazy as is my family and i'm much more like my mother than i care to admit -- i don't want to end up fucking up a kid like i was fucked up. and if we did have a child, we couldn't afford to have one parent stay home and raise it. i do feel guilt about not giving my parents a grandchild, but it is what it is.

by the way, 10 years ago i didn't think about having kids. my yearning for kids has a lot to do with my getting older.

so i guess in summary, the woman on the BBC is full of shit.

In response to why the BBC even chatted about such a topic is evident by the reaction given here! It is a FUN (?) topic that most can have an opinion on. I am 42, no kids by choice, living in a small neighborhood overrun by small children. I am very happy with my decision and when others tell me 'it's not too late to change my mind', I laugh. Not for me.

I only found one entry that also reflected on my take on the selfish argument: those who insist that THEIR genes are better to give to the world rather than adopt any of the thousands of unwanted children everywhere - THAT is what I think is selfish. If you want children, why are your genes, your procreation better than the child on the other side of the tracks that is waiting for a home? But please don't think I mean for anyone who wants children that they have to adopt. IT's just my argument against the selfish comment. It really is fascinating to see your reflection in a new baby (my niece looks just like me and it is cool.)

And to conclude, read EAT,PRAY,LOVE for a great book on one woman's rx to the baby Q. by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Thank you. Fascinating, really.

KUDOS! All of your responses to the questions, as well as your own personal reasons for not having children, are very rational and well presented. I have four children myself and would gladly do it all again, but I believe that it is up to each individual to decide if having a child(ren) is the right thing for them. That being said, I just have to tell you that my best friend found out last fall, after 18 years of marriage, that she was pregnant. She delivered a beautiful baby girl 2 weeks ago and has fallen completely madly in love! Having a child WILL change your life, but only you can decide if you want your life changed. 'Nuff said.

That sounds like a really ridiculous segment. Last week I was listening to a segment on KPCC about women who work full time and how that affects their kids. I think people like to stick their noses into other people's lives when it's none of their business. So you really can't win.

Wow, I could have wrote that post myself (although not nearly as well). I have also been called selfish when I told someone that my choice to not have children was because I was "enjoying my life with my husband as it was."

AfricanKelli recently wrote a post on the amount of waste caused by diapers and recommended cloth diapers. I left a comment recommending just skipping the child process all together, then I held my breath. Surprisingly, there were no "spurned-woman" responses. The same in your comments... it's seems that women are coming to understand and support each others decisions (amen!) but maybe that is the just the readers of your blogs. Anyhow, I am personally grateful for their support.

The only two things that I pondered before I made my decision was 1)I love the idea of being pregnant and had dreams of living a whole foods life and natural birth (but the rest of the child rearing wasn't nearly so appealing to me) and 2) I won't have any children to care for me when I am old - when I say "care for me" I mean, visit me. I know how selfish this is but I have to admit that it is scary. My husband is 13 years older than me and I'm sure I will be on my own.

None the less, I am childless and happy with my decisions.

When I was growing up I always thought I'd have children, lots of them. But for various reasons that didn't happen. And it has never bothered me at all. And when I turned thirty I realised that I didn't want children after all. I was really quite happy with where my life was.

It annoys me when people have to validate their decision (ie to have a child) by insulting others (and I am insulted by being called selfish). Surely these are just decisions we make in our lives that suit us, and they aren't right or wrong - they just are....

What a bizarre topic for the BBC to cover. Aren't there more important problems to solve, like why we can't stop killing one another?

Anyway, your responses are on the money, and I don't have much to add there. I can sort of understand what might prompt a person to *wonder* why others don't have children--Jacob has been a powerful force for good in my own life--but ultimately taking a position like "remaining childless is selfish" shows a profound lack of empathy for others. And that's exactly the sort of example that I *don't* want set for my own children.

Maybe Britney Spears should have your attitude (slightly flippant, but you get the point I'm sure)?

I heard the same show and thought it was strange. I didn't think I wanted kids but then one day surprise. I have found true love but I had lots of friends without children. I love your knitting and spirit.

Wow. I could've written this entry. I don't want kids, much to my mother's chagrin. But she had 5 kids (of which I'm the oldest) and I'm pretty sure one of the others will give her grandkids.

I spent my 'childhood' (from age 7 on) caring for my brothers. I knew when I was really young that I didn't want to be a "mommy". But I loved my brothers and helped take care of them (my oldest brother is 7 years younger than I, my youngest is 16 years younger).

When I met my (now) husband, I told him I had no desire to have kids, and he was somewhat relieved. He also came from a family of 5, and didn't want kids.

We have 2 cats and a dog instead, and hobbies, and a lifestyle we couldn't have if we had to worry about day care, and all of that.

I agree with your 'kings and queens' observation; today's kids are in for a world of hurt when they grow up and not everyone gets a trophy, not everyone becomes a CEO, and not everyone is the unique and beautiful flower that their parents always said they were.

Some of those kids will flip burgers or wait tables. Some of them will have to actually work for a living, and it's not going to be an easy transition from mommy and daddy's house to the big bad world.

I don't think it's selfish to not procreate. I know for a fact that I've got genes I don't want to pass on. Between the two of us, we'd have an autistic child, probably more severe than my brother, who's 'functional', but on several drugs to help him be that way... and that was a long row to hoe. Temper tantrums, shrieking, night terrors, etc. He was difficult from the get-go, and I was the one who stayed up with him nights, because my parents both worked. It was ~3 years before a diagnosis, and ~15 to get the right therapy and meds. I couldn't go through with that. I know I couldn't. I don't have the patience.

I'm not saying my mother was a saint. I know she was selfish, and foolish to have so many of us -- and 5, count 'em, 5 C-sections -- but I love my brothers, and she had the procreative drive. She, from a young age, wanted lots and lots of children. I... don't.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having or not having children, but the concept that it's selfish to not procreate is generally only looked at from the procreator's stance.

When I was little I thought it was strange my favourite aunt didn't have children. My mom said "Well, if she had children of her own, would she have the energy to be such fun company for you?" I think the world needs those nice aunties too. ;)

I always wanted children (and have two of my own now), but I must say I understand the arguments of those who say having children is selfish much better than the ones of those who say not having any is...

I *heart* you.

I didn't want kids. The husband didn't want kids. We considered the possibility but weren't ready. He died. I'm thankful I didn't have a 2-year-old to care for at the time.


I have two children (daughters) that are in their 20's. I will admit that I am glad that I have them, but I would never want to be told that I was selfish for not having any.

I think that you hit the nail squarely on the head!

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This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on July 16, 2007 11:28 AM.

The piece I never posted about was the previous entry in this blog.

(Janel + Sachi) x Jenny = New Handspun is the next entry in this blog.

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