Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why Having Kids Won’t Fulfill You | TIME

Why Having Kids Won’t Fulfill You | TIME:
"Had we continued having infertility issues and not been able to conceive, I am certain that I would have felt that there was something “missing” from my life. But only because I believed the narrative my mother sold – that children bring fulfillment. Since I’ve become a mother and seen that the essence of what makes me who I am has not changed, I’ve learned that nothing outside of you can fulfill you. Fulfillment is all about how you perceive the fullness or emptiness of your life. But how can a woman feel fulfilled if she’s constantly being told her life is empty without children? How can she ever feel certain she’s made the right decision if society is second-guessing her constantly?
. . .
It took me decades to realize that the maternal drive I carried with me my entire adult life, the one that led me to try for five years to have children, may not have been a biological imperative at all. It may just have been a program that was placed into my psyche by the repeated mantras of a woman who was let down by a man and comforted by her children."
Thank you to the Childless by Choice Project for bringing this article to my attention; she blogged about it as well.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

America's declining fertility rate: It is not up to the female reproductive system to save America.

"To save America, women, especially those aforementioned pesky middle-class, white women, are going to have to start having more babies at a younger age, the argument goes. That this demand means that women will end up curtailing their ambitions and moving into the support-staff role is simply a coincidence, of course. Nothing to see here.
. . .
What really galls me about Last's piece (and most like it) is the underlying assumption that human beings exist to serve society and not the other way around... The reader is left with the feeling that the only solution to save capitalism is to clip the wings of half of the population so they can spend more time laying eggs.

I'd argue instead that if the system is set up so that it fails if women don't start popping out more kids, then it's a broken system and should be reworked to account for the reality of America today. If women don't want to have more children, then instead of abandoning women's equality as a goal, we should rework our economic system so it doesn't rely on a steadily growing population to function. After all, the point of society is to serve the people in it, not to reduce us to cogs in a machine that serves no one at all."
I've heard this argument lobbed against the childfree a lot, and this is a particularly good response. I don't think it necessarily a liberal/conservative thing: some conservatives who worship a non-existent version of the 1950s do indeed want us to go back to the kitchen and have babies, but by no means all. And plenty of liberals worry about a coming demographic winter, even if they tend to think of different solutions for it.

I think childfree people and our allies of any political persuasion can get behind this conclusion, though. Don't insist we pop out babies to fix a broken system. Fix the system. It won't be easy, but it can be and must be done, especially since many of our financial structures rely not on replacement rates but growth. If we insist on continuing the pyramid scheme, that only fobs off the problem on the next generation, then the next, and eventually something has to give.

The liberals may propose fixes that stem from immigration, and conservatives may want to end government programs. But if we work together and agree that whatever the solution is, it isn't in my uterus, I think we'll all be better off. A generation of children raised by parents who didn't want a(nother) child is less likely to be an economic boon than it is a set of problems even bigger than the ones we're trying to fix.
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Being child-free is no reason to keep mum

Sydney Morning Herald

"If I regret one thing about not having children, it's the fact that, apparently, it precludes me from having an opinion on parenting. Any thoughts I might have about raising children are inadmissible. I am not a mother ergo I do not get to have an opinion on motherhood. Which is curious because I get a lot of opinions about my standup from people who have never done standup. Professional athletes endure endless opinions on where they went wrong from faddarsed fans who have never played sport in their lives. And people who have never owned a dog are always first in line with advice on how to stop your dog barking. 
My point is, unless parents are willing to shut up about everything they've never done, then I think it's time childless people were allowed to offer an opinion on modern-day parenting. Cos I have got a lot of opinions. First up, there is wayyyy too much talking. I really miss that classic 1970s, one answer fits all, parental shutdown: "Because I said so." Let's bring it back. Why? Because I said so."

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