I posted this at the end of last year but after the latest poll I took on childfree acceptance, it’s still so relevant:
The numbers of childfree may be growing, but awareness and understanding of having no children by choice still has a ways to go. But there are tangible things we can do.
As the new year begins, here are three resolutions that can help get us further down the road to full acceptance of this choice.
- Don’t lie about not wanting to have kids. Don’t even sugar coat.
On Ms. blog, Meloday Moezzi talks about how much pressure she gets from family and loved ones about having kids, that she almost decided to lie and say she was infertile just to get them to shut up. I say, never lie!
When we lie about not wanting kids, we just to continue to perpetuate the notion that there is something wrong with not wanting kids, and reinforce pronatalistic values. Be willing to say clearly say why you don’t want kids without qualification if it is not true for you, e.g., don’t start with–“I think kids are great, but…”
- Take the opportunity to be a role model.
Many childfree women in particular speak to how they have had a childfree role model or at least someone they were acquainted with in some way that chose not to have kids. These childfree women not only showed them not having kids was an option in life, but that you could have an awesome life that didn’t include parenthood.
I say if you see the opportunity to make a younger person aware of the idea that parenthood is optional, do it. If you see an opportunity to be a role model for a younger person, do it. Don’t shy away from a chance to contribute to the next generation, and who knows what great things you will get back in the process.
- Be bolder in your communications.
Often childfree talk about how they find themselves having to continue to explain this choice to family and loved ones. As a resolution, try this on: Explain less, question more. Be willing to ask those who are querying, or pressuring why they are asking you what they are asking you, why they are pressuring you. Assert more in the direction of getting them explaining themselves.
Being bolder can also mean just speaking out instead of staying silent when you hear something you know is wrong about being childfree. At my talk at the 2010 No Kidding! convention, a woman in the audience talked about a time when she heard a professor inaccurately speaking to the childless by choice issue.
Instead of not saying anything, she spoke out and clarified what she knew from studies and how she saw it as a childfree person. She didn’t shy away from taking an opportunity to increase awareness about this choice and using herself as an example.
I encourage you to try out these resolutions. If we put ourselves out there in productive ways, we will all be a part of chipping away at pronatalistic values being such a dominant force in our society.
Can you think of other childfree resolutions to do this?