Everywhere I turn anymore it seems I see a post about why being childfree is the best. Or why being a mother is the best. And I’m tired of it. It’s a fake battle that continues to pit women against each other. I’m approaching this whole topic as someone who is childfree, because that’s the experience I have. The typical “childfree and proud” argument follows this typical script.
- I’ve always known! Which isn’t true for me. I didn’t really think about it most of my life really. I couldn’t even get a date for most of high school so it’s not like I was planning my future children. When my relationship with my now husband got serious, I started realizing kids were something I didn’t want. He felt the same.
- Don’t assume I’m going to have kids. There seems to be a trend to get offended when someone asks “when are you having kids?” I just smile and say “We’re not planning on having children.” Most of the time people will move on to a new conversation topic. Unless they’re a mom, in which case they’ll voice their understanding. I do think you shouldn’t ask people when they’re going to have kids, but for a completely different reason. And that is because infertility is a real struggle and bringing up a sore spot for these couples is not cool. (This is portrayed in This Is Where I Leave You brilliantly.)
And now is when, once again according to the typical script, I’m supposed to say how much it sucks that my doctor wouldn’t let me get sterilized. But honestly, I haven’t tried. I decided long ago to make myself wait until 30. To wait until my friends had their kids and see if it changed my mind. Because people do sometimes change. (The couple featured on the Time Magazine child free issue did.) I went with a copper IUD instead. 10 years of protection without having to do anything other than the initial visit on my part. No hormones. One of the most effective birth control methods. But still reversible. And as for it being easier for young men to get vasectomies? Men don’t have as many birth control options they can control as we do. Also, vasectomies are often reversible.
And lastly, I’m supposed to go on and on about how much more valuable my work is, and how much time I spend volunteering. Well, I love what I do for a living but my work is not my life. And I don’t volunteer (outside helping out my local men’s roller derby league) because I fill my time with other things. I’m supposed to say how my friends with kids never call and hangout. But that’s not true either. I realize my time is more flexible than my friends who are parents and I work around their schedule.
I’m tired of this battle of childfree vs parents. It’s ridiculous. We need to stop this passive aggressive “life is better when” contest. It’s just pitting us against each other. In the end, everyone wants something different out of life. The choices someone else makes do not invalidate my own.