Review by Lyz Rudolph-Michaels
A short and sweet little book, Aubrea Ashe’s 83 Reasons I Do Not Want a Baby: Deal with it. aims to answer the inevitable questions childfree women like the author get when asserting their decision not to have children. As Ashe writes:
“I’m SO tired of explaining why I don’t ever want to have a baby that I wrote this book. Since so many people don’t seem to comprehend why some people truly don’t ever want ‘At least one!’, now everyone can just read all about it.”
Straightforward & Pulls No Punches
I am tempted to use this book as intended and keep copies on hand to give out when the inevitable questions arise, though at 55 pages it could get bulky to carry several around. Ashe divides the 83 reasons into 18 sections (plus introduction and conclusion) with humorous illustrations in each section making for a quick and simple read. Overall, I agree with all of Ashe’s reasons, though we diverge slightly on some of our personal interests. Childfree people can put importance and value on social life as a reason (myself and Ashe included) to live childfree but my own social life includes little to none in the way of parties, drinking, and the like. While Ashe mentions these things in passing, they don’t comprise the crux of her arguments, so we agree for the most part.
Straightforward in her reasons and pulling no punches, Ashe uses casual, conversational rather than technical or formal language with the occasional swear word in the mix. This kind of language emphasizes her points rather than detracts from the impact of her conviction. She explains clearly and firmly without falling too far into the trap of justifying or apologizing for her positions, and does a good job of representing middle ground and her stance without dwelling on it. For example, she unapologetically states:
“While I do find the occasional baby to be moderately cute and amusing…Babies just don’t appeal to me.”
Refreshing Without Buffering
It feels refreshing to read a woman expressing her disinterest in children without buffering the statement with apologetics or crossing into child hating territory. Many people who choose not to have children don’t feel drawn to or repelled by them. I welcome this representation of our demographic. This excerpt sums it up very nicely for me:
“I hope I haven’t given you the wrong idea. I don’t hate children, I actually care about them quite a lot, which is why I don’t want one of my own. It takes a village to raise a child, but if everyone in the village already has a baby, where does that leave us?…I want to be part of the village in the world that is helping children by advocating for better education systems, social justice, clean drinking water and equal opportunities for them as they learn and grow and become a part of society.”
I really like how this little book does not read like just a rebuttal of an imaginary conversation. Many childfree people get common sentiments expressed when their childfree status comes into conversation. We hear things like, “You’ll regret it,” “Who will take care of you when you are old?” and my personal favorite, “You’re too selfish.” Ashe addresses these common issues throughout the book, but she does it in the context of asserting her personal reasons for not having children rather than as head-on rebuttals. This gives the book more solid ground as a statement of personal choice, rather than a defense against an attack. An easily digestible presentation of a childfree point of view, 83 Reasons I Do Not Want a Baby: Deal with it. can help childfree people’s loved ones understand their perspective.
Thank you, Lyz!
Lyz Rudolph-Michaels is a lifelong bibliophile from British Columbia. When not immersed in a book under a pile of cats, she can be found working with horses, in the garden, or on the water in her kayak.