Childfree Reflections

With Marcia Drut-Davis
July 29th, 2017 by Marcia Davis

First Guest Post

Guest Blog Post:

Why Do People Question the Childfree Lifestyle?

BY LAUREN MANNING
We live in the year 2017. Ideally, we should be more open-minded and accepting of diverse lifestyle choices.  I have one question to ask… “If you’re someone who questioned an individual about why they chose the childfree lifestyle, why did you do it?” Keep that question in mind and kindly hear me out.

Ever since I was a kid, I never wanted my own children.  It never appealed to me. Yet almost everyone I knew had them. I thought it was something everyone did. I feared growing up because I thought parenting was inevitable for me. The thought terrified me.

I had to do volunteer hours in order to graduate high school. These volunteer hours included day care working with young children. I found myself extremely withdrawn, and frankly, very irritable because I didn’t want to be there. I expressed these feelings and was told, “It’s different if it’s your own kids. You’ll change your mind”. Or, my favorite one: “You’re young. What do you know?” The idea of kids was always presented as such a beautiful thing.

Fast-forwarding a couple years. I found myself away from home and living in shelters due to unfortunate circumstances. During this time, I endured a fair amount of emotional trauma. One particularly ugly event was being sexually assaulted. I was able to defend myself and get away with no physical harm done. However, psychologically, deep, emotional scars formed.

There were many sleepless nights with “what ifs”. One of these “what ifs” included the thought of, “what if he succeeded in assaulting me and got me pregnant?” I had a rude awakening in the sense that I learned not all pregnancy happens under ideal circumstances and needless to say it scared the hell out of me.

During my time in the shelters, I met a lot of women who had or were expecting kids. Some were very good mothers; others are very disengaged. Some of their kids were terribly neglected or not given proper care. I wondered if they chose parenting because it was something everyone did.

Reflecting on my childhood, I didn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s suffering. I wasn’t parent material! At least by choosing a childfree lifestyle, only I’m affected. If I had a child and still found myself withdrawn, I’m not only impacting myself, but another life too.

I got myself out of that life on the streets and into a job and good environment. Of course I had problems adjusting and feeling like I belonged with the rest of society.  Eventually, I overcame those things. However, the memories of what I saw in the shelters never left me. Some are positive. Others are negative. Positive, in the sense of what I learned. Negative in the way that some of them are really unpleasant.

I met a guy and we were together for 5 years. We had a pretty good relationship where we could goof off and laugh with each other. It was comfortable. Three years in and the topic of children came up. He really wanted them and I didn’t. We spent 2 years debating with each other over the subject. Others around me continually told me the same clichés of, “you’ll change your mind if you love him”.

Though you may think you’re being helpful or insightful by explaining your take on why I should breed, you’re actually doing quite the opposite. To a person like myself, who chooses a childfree lifestyle, it sounds like you’re bullying me. Every time you do that, I feel as though I’m backed into a corner. Trust me, it’s not a nice feeling.

He and I decided to split since neither of us was going to change our minds. It sucked saying goodbye. However it was also freeing for me.  Letting go of that relationship was one less thing backing me into that corner.

I still get those clichés thrown at me. You know….the selfish, irresponsible, unloving, uncaring meaningless life I’m facing choosing the childfree lifestyle. My favorite cliché is still, “You’re young. What do you know?”. Answer: a lot more then you’re giving me credit for.

So? What can you do?

Before you go ahead and question a person’s choice, I urge you to think about the can of worms you’re potentially opening up. For those who still choose ignorance feeling everyone’s destiny is to procreate, there’s already enough ignorance in the world. You don’t need to add to it. If you’re unwilling to listen to what someone else has to say, then don’t ask!

I’m proud to be childfree by choice. I look forward to helping others on this planet and enjoying my life to the best of my ability. I’m not better or worse than you. I’m me. Please leave my personal choices alone as I’ll leave yours alone too.

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