Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Muon, Age 33

Is the idea of having children something that you are open to, or were open to at some point in the past? Is the fact that you don’t have children the result of a deliberate decision or just the way your life happened to work out? If it was a deliberate decision, can you tell me something about how you made this choice, the circumstances, your reasons, whether it was easy, hard, etc.?

Since I was about 6 years old I knew I didn't want children. Everything regarding the idea of having children disgusted me. I felt that I would be dehumanized by having a parasite inhabit my body and having to kowtow to its all needs. Even when I was young I felt I would rather die than have children. It was not really a "decision" not to have children, it was a natural instinct, I guess you could say.

What are the three most important factors that influenced your decision to be childfree? Do you enjoy being childfree? If so, why? If not, why not? Are there any bad things about being childfree? If so, what are they?

Three most important factors - my natural childfree instinct described in question 2; my requirement to lead a peaceful, quiet life; my certainty that I would be a hellish mother. Yes, I enjoy being childfree and consider it the ultimate form of freedom. The worst thing about being childfree is how society treats you -- refer to numerous childfree sites for rants to see what I mean.

Please describe the kinds of reactions you have received from others in response to your not having children. How supportive and accepting have your friends and family been? How accepting do you feel society as whole is of the voluntarily childless ("childfree") lifestyle? Do you feel childfree individuals suffer from unfairness, prejudice or discrimination in society? Do you feel there are common misconceptions about childfree individuals or the childfree lifestyle?

Reactions - I've received a fair amount of shock that someone would not want children for various reasons -- lack of natural maternal instinct, loneliness in old age, disbelief with a certainty I would change my mind. Luckily my friends and family have been very supportive and none have been condescending to my decision (I guess they know me well enough). I do not feel that society as a whole is accepting of the childfree lifestyle, it seems to me as though it is viewed as a threat to traditional and accepted roles. Yes, I feel childfree individuals suffer from unfairness, prejudice, and discrimintation in society -- please see numerous childfree sites on rants about these. Some of the common misconceptions about childfree individuals is that they hate and abuse children (most just want to stay away from children at all costs) and that they are selfish -- of course the reasons for having children are never seen as selfish.

In retrospect, how do you feel about your decision to be childfree? Do you still feel the same way as always on this issue? To date have you had any regrets? Do you think you may have regrets later in life? Is there any possibility you may change your mind about having children at some point?

I am extremely happy with my decision to remain childfree. I have always felt this way on this issue. I have never had any regrets with my childfree status. I do not think I will have regrets later in life. I see no possibility of my changing my mind about having children at some point.

Have you had any childfree role models during your life? Please explain.

A close relative did not have children but I never viewed her as a role model, I feel it was my decision entirely.

When you compare your life to the lives of women you know who have children (family, friends, co-workers), how would you evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, and overall life satisfaction associated with each kind of lifestyle?

I sometimes wish I could be the sort of person who could enjoy a family because it seems "nice" at times. But then I realize that there are so many things I have that they don't have. I also see that they are often tired and seem to want to "escape" their family life a lot of the time. Perhaps this is normal, we all get bored with our lives sometimes. Although they seem happy, they also don't hide that they love when their kids go away to summer camp for weeks on end and they don't even miss them. Makes me think that it's not always as nice as it seems.

Do you perceive that there are any dominant messages expressed in our culture about having children? If so, what are they?

The dominant message is that it is normal to have several children and that by not having children you are a freak. Parenthood is glorified.

Do you feel these messages are for the most part accurate, inaccurate, misleading or something else? Please explain.

I guess I would say that these messages are misleading. Parenthood is ok for those who feel it is for them. But the same level of respect should be given to those who feel parenthood is NOT for them and are responsible enough to realize that.

Have any parents ever spoken to you about the "downside" of having children or told you if they had to go back and do it all over again, they wouldn't have kids? Have any parents expressed that they are jealous of you for being childfree? If so, please describe the conversation(s).

I have had people talk to me about the downside of having children and that if they had to do it again, they wouldn't. But they also said that they did not REGRET having their children. There is a subtle difference -- they are glad they are over it and glad to have their children now, but wouldn't want to do it all over again. It is how I feel about having gotten my education -- I'm glad it's over and glad I did it, but if I had to go through it twice in my life I probably wouldn't do it.

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