As I sit here in my gear room (a remake of an old garden room in my house in Denver, where I am blissfully surrounded gear for every imaginable sport), I nearly fell off my chair laughing at a comment below about “advancing years” from someone in her thirties, or thereabout. Holy shit Batman. At 65, one of the reasons I can do what I do- including climbing Mt Kenya this November and riding horses in BC next year and sail in Indonesia for a month- is because I never had kids. Like you, I never ever wanted them. I believed then and still do no in zero pop for all the obvious reasons. My uterus -at least when I still had one-did not belong to the State for the purpose of punching out units. The reasoning for having/not having kids does not belong to the State. It belongs to US. We owe no one a reason. When it costs- on average- $32k just to have a kid, for Christ’s sake, it’s not just a financial decision. It’s the weight we carry forever, and the concomitant permanent limitations. At some point each of us has to decide if we’re mommy or daddy material. I’m not. Never was. And boy was I clear from the time I was a toddler. I am an animal person through and through. None of us owes the world a kid, none of us owes the world a reason for not having one or having ten for that matter. It’s nobody’s fucking goddamned business, to put it plainly.
As the “aging” (please hear my smile here) statyris410 puts below, she can have a superb retirement. Lemme tell ya, you sure as hell can. I’m not retired- as a writer, journalist, adventure traveler, and professional speaker, I have carved out a life that a great many people would like to live. It comes at a price. I have no family. However, by virtue of that, I also don’t have to worry about twenty -somethings still living in the house, kids on crack or opiates, grandkids being dumped off at my doorstep so that the kids can go travel. I can work and play and head off into the hinterlands as I damned well please. The rooms that would otherwise house family members are a gym, an office, and this vast gear room. So what, the family lineage ends with me? Why on earth is that such an emergency? Like satryrius410, I have a partner who doesn’t and never did want kids. At 49, he and I are much more engaged with sports and each other. That’s what works. There is such a pervasive, invasive inquiry into how we choose to use our bodies that is part and parcel of a patriarchal -and religious- way of thinking that it makes the hair on my neck rise every time someone asks me why I’m childless. MY BODY DOES NOT BELONG TO ANYONE ELSE BUT ME. As with all of us women, just because we have the equipment doesn’t mean we owe some man an heir or the community one more kid.
This is a great discussion. I wrote a piece on this too (https://medium.com/@jhubbel/dont-tell-me-why-i-chose-not-to-have-kids-fc9ac77a4c90) My generation had vastly more pressure on us to do the same. I joined the Army instead. And grew a pair. That doesn’t make me any less feminine, any less a woman, any less a human being. What it did do is ensure that I am much happier. I don’t like children, don’t care to be around them much. That doesn’t make me evil. It’s a preference. A lifestyle choice. Gimme a horse, a dog, a cat, an elephant, a camel, pretty much anything and I am ever so much more comfortable. Society has no right to label you or me evil, awkward, unfulfilled or unwomanly because of these choices. Or any other choice, as long as you and I ar not doing damage to people or property.
I am just as virulently supportive of those who want kids, have kids, and do a great job of raising them. Bravo. And thank heaven. That’s just not me, nor is it a great many more of us.
When this society of ours has created an environment were we honor mothers, honor teachers (by paying them fairly among other things), creates an excellent and affordable educational system, offer reasonable medical care, a decent cost of living that doesn’t bankrupt us early on, advanced education that doesn’t place us in stunning debt for most of our early decades, and a host of other issues that have huge impacts on women in particular, then folks, get off our backs. That’s just my take. Now I’m going to go run in preparation for climbing Mt. Kenya in November.