Sunday, February 04, 2007

Another Article About How We're Not Selfish

Author's Note: I have half a dozen posts in the draft - there's been a rush of relevant articles recently. I'm knee-deep in Foreign Relations Law and Administrative Law, so I can't get too all of them today, but stay tuned over the next week for new posts. Also, the Childfree Issues blog dual-identity as a podcast is now realized.

Couples reject 'selfish' label as they choose to be childfree
In this family oriented country, Steeper and the growing number of childless-by-choice couples sometimes are criticized for their decision. Many people call them cold-hearted or selfish, but Steeper often wonders whether those people are the selfish ones for having children simply because they get married.

"I can honestly say I have spent more time than a lot of people considering the choice," Steeper said. "Selfish is the person who envisions a cute, smiling, toothless baby -- all joy and light -- and proceeds to reproduce on this image alone without considering the next 18 years. That is the ultimate irresponsible act in life."

The latest Census Bureau figures show about 18 percent of women aged 40 to 44 say they have never conceived a child. The percentage has grown steadily since 1976, when 10 percent of U.S. women reported never conceiving a child.

People choose to be child-free for many reasons.

Many just do not feel the desire to be parents. Others worry about the stress that the burgeoning population puts on the environment or their limited financial means or the loss of freedom they think will happen if they get tied down with a baby.

The choice of whether to start a family wasn't widely accepted in previous generations. Having children was just something married women did. But today's women, such as Steeper, aren't just considering motherhood in terms of when, but if.
. . .
Most married couples start families. In fact, propagating is among the important reasons for marrying, particularly in the Catholic faith.
No, all married couples start a family. The day they marry, if not before.
Father Edward Malesic, the judicial vicar for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, said Catholic couples are required to be open to having and rearing children during their marriage.

If these couples never intended to have and raise children after getting married, their unions would be considered invalid by the church, Malesic said.
A heavenly fact that removed all pressure from my husband and myself from having a church wedding.
But a growing number of people feel there are more reasons to get married other than to have children. At the end of the day, author Jennifer L. Shawne said the decision boils down to a single question: Will I be happier with children or without them?

It's a question that's led to the misperception that deliberately childless women are selfish, said Shawne, who wrote "Baby NOT on Board."
So anyone who opts for happiness has to constantly prove they are not selfish?" I'll have to start shopping for real estate in the country, and go to medical school I suppose.
"To recognize that you are not parenting material is an incredibly mature decision. It is one of the most important decisions a person will make in their life."

Although the numbers of these couples are growing, Steeper said it can be hard to connect. That's why she joined the Harrisburg chapter of No Kidding!, an international social networking club for child-free singles and couples.

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