As the childfree know, we often get asked some amazing questions or comments from others. It’s been awhile, but I got one the other day–related to the one about “meaning in life.”
She said she didn’t really find what meaning in life meant to her until she had a kid–she then asks me… “Hasn’t this been hard for you?” Oy.
Blogger BritGirl recently listed some popular “bingoes” that the childfree can get:
“When are you going to have kids?
Who will look after you when you’re old?
You’re not really a woman until you’ve given birth.
It’s different when they’re yours…
Why don’t you have kids?
You’ll grow up once you have a child. (for the guys)
You’ll settle down once you have kids. (another for the guys)
Why bother getting married if you’re not going to have children?
Isn’t that a bit selfish? (There are many variations of this one)
But what will you do with your days/life/time/ if you don’t have kids?”
Indeed many, if not all of these kinds of questions and comments are very personal, and can be downright insulting. But somehow many people don’t see it this way.
What would the corollary be like? How would parents feel if people asked them questions like:
Why is it you want kids?
Why did you have kids?
Why did you have your second kid? Third? Fourth?
Isn’t it selfish that you had another kid because you didn’t get the sex you wanted with the last one?
What needs of yours are your kids filling for you?
Did you really consider whether you were emotionally and financially ready to have a child? Or another child?
Aren’t your days filled with boring activities, from changing diapers to carting your kids to this class or this practice?
Don’t you ever regret that you had kids?
How are you getting to live your life through your kids?
Isn’t it selfish that you expect your children to make you a grandparent one day?
I wonder what parents would say about how they feel if they got these kinds of questions. Maybe then they would better understand the childfree experience in this regard.
Why don’t parents get these kind of questions? And what’s behind the kind of questions the childfree are asked? The answer for both is similar–it’s the assumptions that everyone should want kids, and that parenthood is “the” path to true fulfillment in life.
These assumptions are inherently challenged as they number of childfree grows, but they do need to be challenged even more. The reality is that not all people want the experience of parenthood in life, and find many ways to experience purpose and meaning. If everyone would realize and accept this, maybe these kinds of questions would be seen for what they are–personal and inappropriate!
Childfree, what other kinds of questions have you gotten in this regard?