I’m not sure I’ve ever posted about E’s & my “Childless by Choice” (or Child”free,” as one of her colleagues puts it) existence, before, but it’s something I feel strongly about.
Not that I feel that everyone should be child-free, or even that I’m positive we should, but I certainly think it’s something that everyone should consider. The bottom line is that kids shouldn’t be the default; they should be a choice made by people who really want them.
That’s exactly why we announced my vasectomy in a Christmas card a few years ago (’99, I think):
But that’s [Slim, Atticus, WhoopyCat, Denali] enough of a family, we thinks;
A recent procedure insures we’ll stay DINKs.
Well, that announcement didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. Mom was pissed, not, according to her, at the decision to have the operation, but at the decision to “herald” it, never mind the fact that we didn’t send that announcement to too many folks. My mom had always been my partner in relative progressiveness, until then. Now she uses her apparent “liberalness” as a license to correct me on my shallowness as a thinker, such as about gay marriage.
Well, E & I talk about this a lot. I had my procedure at 29, when friends told me no doctor would do it if I didn’t have kids. I can say that I haven’t regretted it for a day. That’s not to say I don’t see the benefits of offspring, but I don’t think it’s worth it FOR ME.
Shortly, here’s why we didn’t do it:
For E: She raised her bro and sis (10 and 13 years younger) while her mom was doing “her own thing” and knows that’s it’s a 24-hour job she’s not into.
Pour Me’: There are enough people around, that I don’t need to add to the masses; plus, I likes my stuff.
So why am I bringing this up? Well, published an incredibly annoying piece this week on childlessness. I’ve about had it with Slate. They’ve been awful in their Katrina coverage, and they seem to get off on bucking the traditional liberal points, even though Kinsley founded it as a progressive mag.
My issue with Yoffee is that she could’ve told her questioner, “Say that right now you’re not planning on having kids at all.”
We made the decision for the procedure because we wanted to explicitly be intentional about our decision, not just put it off til it was too late. And it’s been the best thing for us. For us. Love the nieces and godkids, but we’re doing just fine. The smugness of people with kids is really tiresome. Fortunately for all of us, human nature (and dissonance reduction responses) lead us to justify our decisions and be happy with them. But it goes both ways. Chances are, E and I are going to think about all the great things about not having kids, and people with them will focus on all the great things about them. I know they’re there. I know it’s different when it’s your own; I don’t doubt that for a minute. But to have a kid, you should earnestly want to, and we don’t.