September 26, 2019

I’m Childfree by Choice—& I Couldn’t be Happier.

You’re at an event, at work, or having lunch with a dear friend or family member who chose to have children.

You’re in a committed relationship filled with love and joy. Or, you’re happily single forever!

Everything is going well until you hear, “Hey! You’re not getting any younger! When are you going to have kids?”

That question makes the childfree-by-choice cringe. It’s not about their choice as it relates to happiness, because they’re usually happy—just as happy as many parents purport to be when they ask that question. It’s not about the demand for an answer, although it truly should be a personal choice and not an expected biological destiny.

Truth be told, many who don’t have children can’t have them or know they shouldn’t due to many physical or mental challenges. If they wanted children, adoption is not the easiest way. It can take a long time and cost a lot of money. IVF costs are also very high and take quite a toll on women’s bodies.

Then, there are some, like myself, who simply never saw the lifestyle as wonder-filled. Others don’t enjoy children, although they would never want to harm them. But people can never say they don’t enjoy children, because they’re seen as lower than snails on the bottom the ocean.

It’s about what happens next. Too many will badger, question, or malign you if you dare to tell your truths. Indeed, at work, you may be seen as less than those who parent. Some may expect you to take over jobs, without extra pay, when parents must attend to needs of their children. If the childfree ask for time off for a sick pet or a needy parent, it’s not given the same consideration as the needs of children.

There seems to be a right to suggest we’re selfish, immature, or doomed to regret that choice. Yet we, the childfree by choice, can never ask why anyone chose to parent. It’s considered rude to question any parent as if the mere words of mother and father are revered.

In my opinion, as a passionate 76-year-old pioneer in the childfree lifestyle, with not one regret, it’s time to be courteous and take pride in our choice, simply saying, “Because I prefer the childfree lifestyle.” However, usually, that won’t stop the questioning.

I suggest you stop defending. Stop trying to change minds. Stop feeling embarrassed.

The childfree-by-choice have a right to their personal choice. Many of us give to other humans, animals, this planet, and non-sentient things. Many are committed aunts or uncles or providers for children in their professions.

And, many simply live their lives with quiet dignity and joy in their own choices.

The next time you’re asked that question of why not, simply state, “Because it’s my choice.” If there’s more drama or implications that you are less than those who chose to parent or threats about future regrets, simply say, “You may be right!” You’re not saying they are right. You’re simply giving them permission to be right because they will never be wrong.

Then, live your lifestyle with the beauty of what it offers as much as parents may feel raising children offers to them.

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