Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Happily childfree"

Conservatives and Catholics enjoy rebutting the Overpopulation Myth. I devoured the argument when I was fourteenish from a fifteenish-year old magazine my Dad showed me, so I figure it's pretty historical. After all, everybody knows we could all live in Texas, right?

Texas area= 267339 X (5280)2 = 7,452,732,672,000 sq.ft.
Population of world = 7,000,000,000.
7.45 × 1012
1 × 109
= 1064.676096 square feet per person
(Space for my
family of 9
= 9500 square feet; tres nice.)

There's enough room on the planet a fortiori. So isn't this obvious to everybody?

Apparently not. I read a sad set of comments today written by women who may have wanted to conceive but chose not to. Their motivations were twofold: overpopulation, and appreciating freedom and time/closeness with their spouse. One woman summarized her feelings:
[B]ased on the affects [sic] of poverty, and later of an over-populated world[,] I never wanted children...[and my husband] has never wanted children; because of the enviromental [sic] impact as well as the responsibility of how the child's life could turn out. (Face it, we do blame our parents for pretty much everything! ha ha)
...Every now and then, there is a twang. For instance, I'll never know what it's like to feel a baby grow inside me. Or have that special bond I see my siblings have with their kids. On the other hand, we have time to dedicate to each other, and our marriage is deeper than most. We really enjoy the freedom of being able to do what we want, when we want.
Sad to think she won't raise a child because she fears responsibility! Another woman defended herself against objections:
It seems like 99% of parents have some reason to lay on us for why we *must* join their club; from the refusal to acknowledge that we ARE a family already, to allusions that we are doing something unnatural and wrong by not having children, to the "you just couldn't understand since you don't have kids," to the INFURIATING accusation of selfishness. It is truly shocking the number of people who accuse you of being selfish simply because you have chosen to live a life wherein you are following your heart and living the life you envision.
I recognize that a) I am not married, so my only experience of marriage is my family of origin, b) the vocation puts God before spouse and spouse before children, so relationship with the spouse shouldn't expire at the expense of children, and c) people need recreation and relaxation to function. But as I see this, selfishness is exclusive concern for your own interests, and the concern of these couples for their own vision excludes part of their state of life! Vocations are paths of joy with sacrifice.

Admittedly, there are many variables here (some married women's own childhood/psychological difficulties may make them choose rightly not to have children, others' biology or legimate poverty might prevent them from conceiving). But if a couples' three reasons not to conceive are a mythological problem, a fear of personal failure, and desires for intimacy and freedom, I think they are in error.

I long for the conversion of our cachexic Culture of Death to a wholesome, healthy Culture of Life! Better for women, better for men, better for families, better for medicine, better for government....

Edit 1/13/12 9:45pm: I just realized this post was analyzed by Laura Carroll of La Vie Childfree. I commented on her analysis to alert her readers that I am a young woman and open to discussion below with anyone reading this. I placed this clarification on my original post as well.

Update 1/15/12 4:20pm: Laura Carroll and I are continuing to discourse on her site in the comments on her post. Please join us.


  1. Doctor, you make me ill.

  2. Hello, Anonymous. I realized that you may have come from La Vie Childfree. If you're interested in dialogue (as I am), I'm happy to continue it in the comments.

  3. Knew from a very young age that I would never reproduce.
    Therefore I should?

  4. Dear critter,
    My predominant reaction to the comments that fueled this post was deep sadness (as I said truly above, "a sad set of comments..."). I know my own feminine nature...I'm charmed by children, attracted by masculinity, I love life and beauty! It crushes me to read this (from the original comment):

    I never wanted children.

    That is, until I met my husband. And for the first time, I considered, "hmm, what would it be like?". He has never wanted children; because of the enviromental impact as well as the responsibility of how the child's life could turn out. ...

    I set myself a cut-off point to have children. That happened 6 years ago. Every now and then, there is a twang....

    This really isn't about religion. My blog has a stained-glass window in the background, but this post is mostly my nature talking. Women are made to bring beauty and richness to life! I hate to think that some women prohibit themselves from doing so against their desires.

  5. as a woman, you can bring beauty and richness to life in many ways, it's not primarily done by having kids. Men AND women make wonderous things, paintings, music, um... the lovely stain glass windows that are in the background of your blog. You can create beauty with gardening if you want to literally create with "life."

    I respect your viewpoint, but I just wanted to say there are many other ways to live ones life and they can be fufilling and beautiful too.

  6. (Sorry if the stained-glass window comment was confusing. I meant it to imply: "This blog and I are religious, but not my arguments.")

    People do bring beauty into life in many ways. But I cannot equate children with painting and gardening. Can you?

  7. "La Vie Childfree" is a euphemism for sterility. It's really "The Sterile Life."

  8. my paintings are my children

  9. There are also many parents who should not have had children. Our system is overwhelmed with severely abused kids, mistreatreated & neglected by their own parents. I wish such "parents" would not have children.