My husband and I are child free by choice. We strongly believe that we made the right decision in not having children. Here are my reasons...
I grew up in suburban New York State. My family, like most others, subscribed to pink and blue. For children there were me and my older brother. I was trained quite young that boys and girls were fundamentally different and, more subtly, that it was better to be a boy. My brother was the pride of my family. I was treated more like an afterthought. He got toys for Christmas and birthday presents from the extended family; I got clothes.
This wasn't just in my own family. As a child and teenager, I was bookish. In books for children, boys did. Girls were more likely to live in awe and jealousy of boys's brilliance. Children's books were full of boys who were stifled all their lives but overcame the problems and gained their manhood and freedom. Girls were happy with their freedom until you put a baby in their arms. Then they turned to dependent, vain, babbling idiots.
I was also rather religious but Christianity is full of stories of men who did great things and women who had their babies. In the Bible, women are admonished that their salvation is contingent on their having babies. Even when I was a Christian, I ceased being positive about the religion.
On top of all that, I was brought up under the assumption I would be a housewife and a mother but the images I saw of such a path was one of disrespect and slavery. I was given many household chores; my brother was given next to none. I saw my mother give 200% to her husband and family. She cooked meals, kept the house clean, listened to my dad drone on about his day at work over the dinner table without uttering more than a peep about her own day. Her thanks was an assumption that she would continue waiting on her family and catty rebukes from my dad about how if it weren't for the guidance of the man in the family, the woman would be foolish enough to let her children run her life completely. That she put up with all of us should qualify my mother for canonization at the very least—maybe demigodhood. This sort of thing was supposed to train me for my future life as a woman. It only disgusted me, depressed me and caused me to run away from it for dear life and sanity. When I started to show signs of physically growing into womanhood, my dad turned his cattiness towards me and began berating verbally any dreams outside of housework I had. In a way I watched the fire die in my mother's eyes and was starting to see it die in mine. I wanted nothing of husbands and babies and children. They seemed to destroy a woman's life.
Luckily, there was a happy ending for me. I found and married a wonderful man who loves me for who I am and who does not want children either. I am learning from example that a baby is not necessarily the end of a woman's life but I still don't want one of my own and still don't really care for them. I had a hysterectomy in the summer due to a large benign tumor which was eating away at my womb and was on its way to strangling other organs. I still believe this happened because the vehemence against children I have is so strong but the lack of worry about pregnancy is a boon to my husband's and my relationship. My husband and I pack up and go places on a whim as our only child is the four-legged variety adopted from the Humane Society. We live in a beautiful mountain home that many would call a dream home even though we don't really make a whole lot of money. One of our house rules is that it is a baby-free zone which alienates our friends with children but this is my sacred space and a baby is an invader of my sacred space.
I will tell more of my story in context of common myths:
Children are so sweet and innocent. I can still remember the afternoon when I stood crying between two parked busses. I was ten years old and some people's sweet and innocent darlings came after me unprovoked, jeering and slammed my face against the side of a bus. This was fun to them. This was not an unusual occurrence for me at school. My parents wondered why I was so bright but my school work suffered so. I lived in terror of school, the same terror which causes depression and suicide in some teenagers, the same terror that twists the hearts of other people like Klebold and Harris. This terror drove me inside of myself so deep that I still am surprised when I am treated kindly. Children sweet and innocent? Tell it to Ripley.
Having a child is the most empowering thing to happen to women. Once upon a time, maybe but now it seems to take up a woman's time. If a father pursues a dream, he is noble; if a mother pursues a dream, she is abandoning her family. As often as not, a baby is a boat anchor.
Children are the future of mankind. We don't have the heart to take care of the children we have, too many of us. Why do we want more? Many of the problems of our society are pointed truthfully or falsely at overpopulation. Species that overpopulate tend to go extinct.
Everyone adores a baby. “Babysitter” is turning into a dirty word in a time when establishments are sounding more and more like day care centers. Part of the reason I don't patronize expensive restaurants more often is because I don't want to pay a lot of money to listen to someone's screaming kid. A real telling situation was when my husband took me to see Titanic, a three hour movie. A pair of women sat right in front of us with a three-year-old who ran around the theater during the movie and talked over the dialog. My husband leaned forward at the end and told them, “Next time, get a babysitter,” and they acted like we were the problem. Go figure.
You'll change your mind. This one is generally said sagely by a mother as if I don't know what I want. Like a woman is nothing but a bunch of hormones dedicated to getting her pregnant. I was told this many times. No, people, I'm not fibbing. Babies, really, honestly, aren't for me. Hormones do not dictate a woman's will. Grow up and take responsibility for your actions. You'll feel much more empowered and much less like a poor put down woman.