Behind Hannah’s Reasons to Have No Children

Laura Carroll, LiveTrue Books

More and more is out there these days on reasons why people are choosing to have no children.  Check out this post is by Hannah, on feministing.  Whether she knows it or not, she does some back door demystifying with her reasons. Check it out.

Hannah’s reason #1: It’s not just about my job, though I love what I do.

Her job is not all life consuming. As she says, “Many people seem to think that the only reason a woman wouldn’t want babies is because it would interfere with her career. This is false, and just one of many good reasons.” Indeed. In fact, from talking with thousands of childfree, I have not found devotion to career as a top reason people don’t want to raise children.

Reason #2: Having kids is expensive.

Even is she wanted children, Hannah says that, “We simply do not have the money to raise a child, and we aren’t likely to anytime soon.”  There is the myth that those who have no children have lots of disposable cash and spend it on expensive “extras” in life, from trips, to boats, fine cars, etc.  It is just not true.  Childfree men, childfree women, and childfree couples run the gamut of the socioeconomic spectrum.

#3: There are plenty of unwanted children in the world already.

Hannah entertains the notion that “Let’s say that baby itch does finally hit me (and I decide that I want to buy the $200,000 ointment to treat the itch).” Even then, she says she has “absolutely no incentive” to have a child of her own. She continues…”If the maternal instinct overwhelms me, I’ll adopt, or I’ll become a foster parent. The urge to propagate your own genetic material just does not make sense to me, and I feel no need to do so.”

This 27 year old’s attitude gives me hope that I might see the demise of pronatalist myth professing “biological is best” when it comes to having children. As I talk about in the Normality and Offspring Assumption chapters in The Baby Matrix, may more in Hannah’s generation and those following see that there are many reasons to put a higher value and priority on the role of adoptive parent over biological parent in today’s world.

#4: I like my life.

Thank you Hannah, for being yet another example of someone demystifying the pronatalist notion that one must have children to truly have a happy life – that somehow we don’t find true fulfillment until we have children.  Like other pronatalist assumptions, this is just a myth.

#5. I had a fantastic childhood.

Hannah ” had an amazing childhood.” Of her mother, she says, “I respect her choice so much.”

Myth buster #1 here: The myth has been that the childfree somehow have negative opinions of parents, or “breeders.”  The vast majority would agree with Hannah, don’t view parents with disdain just because they have had children, and they don’t use  the term “breeder.”

Myth buster #2 on this one:  So often the childfree as seen to have come from troubled backgrounds. If they had had a “good” childhood, they would have grown up to want children, right? Wrong. Those who had good and bad childhoods grow up to have kids and not have kids.

Thanks, Hannah for a great post. You are one wise 27 year old. May all the explaining lead one day to a time when those who have no children by choice don’t have to do just that – because their choice will be seen as equally acceptable as the choice to parent. Hannah makes me believe we are getting there.

What reasons do you have for not having children that debunk myths out there about the childfree?

8 thoughts on “Behind Hannah’s Reasons to Have No Children

  1. I would probably add this one:

    Just because I enjoy being around children doesn’t mean that I must have some of my own.

    I think that the childfree are often painted as crotchety “Get off my lawn!” type of people — but this isn’t the case for me or the vast majority of my CF friends, both male and female. In fact, I can’t think of a single CF person in my life who doesn’t like children. But they — like I — realize that we can fulfill our child “fix” by being a super auntie or cool uncle. My reasons for being CF — dedication to career and lack of funds to properly raise a child — ultimately means that any child I had would grow up at a disadvantage. People who really do love kids want them to have the very best parents possible, and some of us are willing to admit that it’s not us. 🙂

    1. I agree with you Lisa Marie–I can’t think of any CF person in my life who would say they don’t like children. Me–it’s like with any person — like with adults, some kids I connect with than others….but my those I am god mother to, ages 12-27-do I love ’em!

  2. Lisa Marie, another popular way we childfree get our children “fix” is through volunteer work. I have been involved with that for the last 11 years. I send them home to their parents happier than when they left for school. Then I go home, happier, to my peaceful and quiet apartment. Everybody wins! 🙂

  3. That because I am a women I need something (young and innocent) to nurture. This idea came from my husband’s sister. We had to put our 21 year old cat to sleep a few months ago and she told my husband that he should get me a kitten because although I did not want children, I still needed something to nurture. I’m assuming she meant something baby like to nurture since I already nurture my marriage, relationships, hobbies, and career.

  4. Speaking of Pro Natalism, the following thread on the SF Chron is just a classic, especially the obvious bimodal distribution of comment types between the Pro Natalists and everyone else:

    In fact, beyond the several factors I’ve previously mentioned, another factor helping guide own own child-free-by-choice decision is the strange mix of entitlement and parent-ego (this no doubt adjunct to DNA-ego) that has led parents into the “must take baby EVERYWHERE” meme. That simply did not exist even as recently as my own leading-edge-Gen X childhood. When I was a toddler, air travel was completely out of the question even if my parents could afford it. If an aging ailing relative was not a drivable distance away then too bad, that’s how people lived back in the “Stone Age.” And somehow it worked. Ideal? No, but it worked. I can’t stand many (most?) parents these days. So full of themselves, their kids and their families. I could not be one of the current crop of main stream parents, I would be utterly disgusted with what I had allowed myself to become.

    1. Whoa-Where to change the baby’s diaper on a plane? How about Before you get on the plane?? OK I understand that it needs to happen on a plane, but in the bathroom please!

  5. I am CF for many of the reasons above, but I have another reason that I haven’t seen mentioned yet – SLEEP!
    I need the requisite 8 hours of sleep each night. When I get it, I am happy, healthy, friendly, patient, a good partner, flexible, etc. If I don’t get a good night sleep for more than about 2 days in a row, I start to become irritable, snappy, selfish, and rigid. People always say, “but you are so wonderful with kids. You would be a great mom.” I haven’t met a parent yet of children between birth and about 5 who get a good solid uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep on any kind of regular basis. Without that sleep, I would be a grouchy mom who has no patience and yells at my kids

    1. Hi Khutala, I have received lots of emails from people who say that after they babysat a baby that cried, and cried and Cried, they thought to themselves, how would I get the sleep I need if I had to deal with that – now it is likely short-lived but Sleep is very important to many people and know that it would affect how they dealt with their kids…

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