Monday, September 10, 2007

Childfree: A Male Perspective

We're Here, We're Childless: Deal With It

Frequent readers will remember this book, which was published a few months ago in France, and has received a considerable amount of attention there. Written by a mother of two, No Kid: Forty Reasons For Not Having Children is a bestseller in France that takes "a dig at the myth that having a child is wonderful."

Since then, the book has received considerable media attention that I have covered in the past, and will continue to include. In the above article, the journalist takes the male perspective, arguing that the author's observations are not just limited to the female plight.
. . . I would venture that it's not just childless women who are brave. To tell people you're a married man and childless also invites varying degrees of suspicion regarding your male virility or your wife's worth. When I first began talking to a new young lady at work, I told her I've been married for eight years. Her eyes lit up. "Oh," she crooned. "How nice." Then, without wasting a breath: "Any children?" No, I told her, matter of factly. Her smile disappeared and she looked at me as if I'd suddenly grown wings and horns. "Oh dear. Couldn't you ...?" No, nothing like that, I assured her, before she could even say that filthy c-word: conceive. We just didn't want any. "Oh," she said quizzically, still regarding me like a rare specimen — which, to be fair, I probably am. "Well, children are lovely."

Yes, I thought, rolling my eyes. They're so lovely that there's no length I won't go to avoid them.

If you're prepared to sacrifice, if you've got the patience of a saint, if you're prepared for your life to change beyond your wildest imagination, if you're prepared to fork over a cumulative $100,000 dollars over 18 years to bring a child into the world and raise, nurture, and discipline it to the age where it becomes a polite, responsible, hard-working adult, then go for it.
The journalist recounts at length his own reasons for being childfree (well worth the read)
I think the breeders — the "children are so lovely and you're nuts for not wanting some" crowd — have some growing up to do themselves. Nothing is more selfish than pushing children on people who just have no longing for them, for making any man or woman feel guilty or worthless for simply trying to life a happy life. For the fact is, some people are perfectly happy to not have children. There are more of us than you would like to believe. And when we see you with your kids — whether you're playing merrily with them or trying to control one of their zillions of temper tantrums — we do not envy you. We do not look wistfully at you. We do not think, "Aww, how sweet." It doesn't even register. It does not make our day that your path crossed ours. We're happy with our own lives, unencumbered by children as we are. We do not even think twice about you.

Deal with it. Start learning to respect people's choices in a free society. We are not endangering the human race by not breeding because you're doing plenty of it for us. . . .
Well said, Mr. Manning.

Technorati Tag:

No comments: