I am childfree. I have no children for many reasons, some frivolous and some quite serious. The fact is, I think I've spent more time thinking about my reproductive choices than people who just decide it's time to have babies based on some mythical biological clock, societal pressures, peer pressure, or just plain not realizing that not having children is, in fact, a real option.
I do not hate children. Hating them would require a depth of emotion toward them I simply do not have. Children have also never done anything to me so hideous as to invoke my hatred, either. I merely dislike them. I actually like the occasional individual child, but as a whole, I find children distasteful. Their high-pitched voices grate on my nerves. I don't know what they are talking about when they babble, and I do not know how to respond to them when they do. They smell odd, like a combination of apple juice, maple syrup, and urine, because apparently, their parents refuse to bathe them. They have creepy little piranha teeth, although I am aware that they would look even more terrifying if they had adult-sized teeth. Their giggles always sound slightly demonic. When they throw tantrums, I wish the parents had decided to have oral sex.
I also do not have the lifestyle that would be conducive to raising children. Parents who are reading this are probably already becoming quite gleeful, perhaps even with some white foam collecting at the corners of their mouths. Let me burst that bubble right here. My husband and I live in a small, one-bedroom apartment. We pay our bills, put food on the table, and maybe have enough for some extras here and there. Both my husband and I work. We do not have the money to afford daycare, nor do we make enough money individually to support the household. Sometimes, we eat Ramen out of necessity instead of fun.
This may be surprising to parents, because they tend to think we childfree people have the whole world on a string. Parents accuse the childfree of being selfish, immature, drunken partiers who think no further than the next hedonistic night of debauchery. Where do they get these ideas? Perhaps this is how they lived before they got knocked up by a one night stand and saw the light? Perhaps that is what they would like their lives to be like now? I don't know, and I resent the hell out of it.
At one time, I actually thought I'd be having a child. One. Single. Child. I never wanted more than one. Of course, I never really thought much about it. I was just going with the flow. People grow up, move out, get married, have kid(s). I did not realize, and how stupid is that, that I was not required to breed. It isn't written anywhere that we must breed. It's more insidious than that. Movies and novels with a romantic bent usually end with the couple either having or planning to have babies. We are inundated with images of famous people and their children.
We rarely are exposed to healthy images of childfree people. The portrayals of childfree people tend toward the eccentric, grumpy, old man and the elderly woman with as many cats as she has years to her age. We see movies in which those without children are the drunken party-animals parents think are the norm in the childfree community. We read books in which the aunt with no kids is flaky and self-centered. Women without children are seen as sub-human, heartless, frigid, and unfeeling. They are seen as selfish bitches and control-freaks. Men without children are more accepted in society, but they, too, get a bad rap.
Now, I know I will never have any children. No. Children. Ever. That is an incredibly freeing revelation. I did not realize how trapped I felt by the strange notion that I should have children. I am just not made to have them. I am not infertile, although that isn't really anyone's business. I just do not want kids.