Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rebecca E.

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.?

I had made the decision to never have children long before I met my husband. I have never been open to having children. My husband made the conscious decision to not have children when we decided to marry. I have so many reasons for not wanting children. It definnitely was an easy choice.

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?

I guess the biggest reason for my decision is that I think our world is truly not a habitable place for anyone. I am very pro zero popultion growth and feel that humans have ruined the earth. Another factor is that I did not have good parenting role models, and I have a very deep fear of doing to someone else what was done to me. I also don't care to take care of another human being the way that I would have to take care of a child.

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?

Most people are not accepting. I have been told that my life is a waste, that I will go to hell, and other things along that vein. My husband's family has pestered me for years about this issue and particularly his mother have really been unforgiving on this subject. We have been discriminated against in certain workplaces. For example, my husband has been given fewer choices for time off because certain times of the year were reserved for couples with children.

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?

Every day I am thankful that I am childfree. I won't change my mind. I do worry a little about when we get elderly, but we are saving money so will be able to provide for ourselves.

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


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?

This is a thesis in and of itself! I mostly think the advantages are in the eye of the beholder. Each person has to live their life as they see fit. I know what I think of as advantages, others would definitely see as disadvantages.

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

Well, the obvious one is that it is better to have children and a "family". That somehow childless people are selfish.

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

Inaccurate. I have never been able to understand how choosing not to have a child is selfish. I am not keeping something from someone else!

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 never heard a parent wish they had never had children, although the things they talk about sound awful! Haha! Usually negative comments with a "I love my kids but. . ." I tend to think most people with children aren't happy, eventhough they love their children.

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