I've gone to read the Brat-free board before. It's not always a pleasant place. Some of these child-free by choice people brag of their ability to go on vacations and do everything their hearts desire but I wonder how many choose to be child-free due to the sheer lack of money. That's one thing if a millennial is never going to be able to afford his own apartment or make money that actually feeds himself, the idea of having children is going to be put on the back shelf. Time magazine makes being child-free look like a choice of wealthy couples who want to lay on the beach, but for many people it is a "choice" coming from economic pressures and poverty.
I was mostly infertile--never had periods unless forced by drugs like birth control or Provera for twenty years. Though oddly when I went on insulin I suddenly started getting periods all the time and the doctors warned me for the first time in twenty years I am fertile, but I am way too sick to get pregnant. Some of them seemed confused why insulin brought all the periods back. They never told me why. When you are over 45 the chances for a healthy woman to get pregnant are less then 5 percent, but it's something I didn't need looming over my head. Being this old, I am glad I did not pass down being 700lbs and having severe Lipedema/PCOS and other problems to a child. I hit a wall on my adoption search, but my Lipedema had to come from some where. Rare genetic diseases don't pop up out of nowhere. Even in this woman's case, I believe there is definitely going to be one child with a severe weight problem.
Years ago, I was not in any place to have children. Since meeting old classmates, it has boggled my mind how they got their lives so together so quickly having children in most cases in their early 20s. Well they had normal bodies, were allowed to date and did not have insane parents. As I starved and ate ramen noodles and lived out of milk-crates, they were having babies and beginning careers with actual futures. Now they are having grandchildren. I ask myself, "How did they have the money?" I never would have. Most were married and there were secure jobs in the mix even by that age but I went to an upper middle class high school in a traditional mid-sized town. Facebook can suck, they are even planning the 30 year old reunion, but I don't plan to go. I'm definitely the poorest one by far, I weigh 500lbs. There's a classmate in prison for attempted murder so maybe I'm not the absolute lowest on the totem pole but even that one had children and one day will have grandchildren.
The Child-free movement board talk about the "entitled moos" Mothers and obstinate "duhs" or Dads, parenthood seems to be trophy time among many today. Children have become trophies. I saw this among my relatives to the max. Instead of any punks or goths, obedient Eagle scouts and band nerds have predominated in my family. The child-free are sick of the bragging, and the "special rights". I don't blame them. Watching so many people treat children like trophies and like they became something special just because they had sex and bred like millions of others, has gotten especially cloying over these last ten years.
Parenting for some has become about bragging rights. You see this on Facebook where the endless achievements of everyone's children are touted. They are always winning sports awards, getting good grades or doing sell-out plays. I saw one narcissistic ex-wife of a cousin, even post her entire kid's report card. Many of these narcissists deserved drugged out sneering pot-head teens and got kids that look like they came out of a catalog. Children to many are like items on a life resume, get good ones who get good jobs, and good-looking grandchildren: Instant bragging rights! Life for child-free ACONs like myself can be especially hell on earth as new babies are cooed over and parents congratulated and seen as full adults while you never are.
I can't figure this guy out, is he being sarcastic, for real? Tongue in cheek?
Many child-free people including myself, know what it is like to be told, that you matter less because you did not have children. Some parents directly say this. I was told that I mattered less to my face because I never had breeded, infertility, health problems and others not withstanding. My brother even admitted I mattered less because I never had children. How was I supposed to pop out babies when I was dying of sepsis and weighed near 700lbs and hadn't had a period since I was 19 years old? Most women with severe PCOS with far better health then me have to dish out tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments. Our too short 9 years of working class stability still would have made having children near impossible as we were buried in medical bills and I couldn't even breath. Churches back this up too, they bring the already overly congratulated mothers to the front of the room on Mother's day and give them presents. They hold special dinners for them. They tell you "be fruitful and multiply" and that your main worth as a woman is to have children. Non-mothers in this equation don't matter. The child-free including me are kind of sick of it all. You can see the pain underneath the angry stances on the Child-free boards.
Families themselves have become idolized, the Duggars with their 19 children are a fertility cult held up as examples to emulate. Otherwise what is special about them beyond the ability to breed so much? Not much. All their grown children seem to be following in the parents footsteps. There's a reason that even after the scandals they kept them on TV.
It seems a lot of people get into parenthood now knowing what it is all about. I had no such illusions. I worked in day care centers, was a teacher, and was even basically an " in loco parentist" being a group home "family teacher" and residential counselor for several years. I knew babies meant hours and hours of no sleep, puking, clean-ups, constant diaper changing and scary illness. Teens [well I had the most crazed versions of them] meant arguments, confrontations, lack of impulse control and other insanity. Motherhood because of the work I did, didn't have this filmy haze over it of Kodak Moments. I knew parenthood took cash and stamina, I simply never had. Even being infertile all those years, I was doubling up on birth control to hedge my bets. I was on a drug that caused severe birth defects too for over 15 years so that made the vigilance even more important.
In the back of mind too, since I was basically raised by a sociopath with the feelings of a rock, I also knew that parenthood would be more problematic for me. My husband says he thinks I would have been a good mother and marvels still at watching me teach some little kids art once which I did at a volunteer gig. One odd thing about life now is I spent my 20s surrounded literally by children and teens and now I'm one of those old curmudgeons who definitely doesn't understand the "young" world anymore.
Many of the posts on child-free boards, talk about how people find parenthood to be very hard. They talk about how some parents post on the internet that they didn't know what they were getting into. They are in shock and traumatized about how everything is so complicated. I believe some stances about parenting today have made it more difficult. All the helicopter parenting where one must hover over their child ever second, seems exhausting beyond belief. The constant working and lack of time and ability to have a decent home life, makes having children even harder. The child-free board are right about the weird worship of "natural child birth" where in reality in the old days many women died of it, and about the hidden physical effects of giving birth. There is a strain of martyrship in "mommyhood" that seems toxic to the max and it's not about taking care of the kids but about showing off. They rant about the bad parents who don't teach children right from wrong, or in respecting others and enable behavior. In a growing narcissistic society, having calm children who are taught to respect others, is growing far more rare.
Some people have children today for the wrong reasons. It seems some have children so they won't be alone and if you get into it, expecting the kid to meet your needs then it is a recipe for disaster. Some say have children so you are not alone and old! Even that isn't always a guarantee since the kids can move away or die before you or even go no contact if you are a rotten parent. I often wondered thought my own narcissistic parents had children because they "were supposed to" but actually did not enjoy children or their demands. We bothered them. They probably would have been happier people child-free. Maybe not. They needed their trophies. Hopefully now with birth control so common, more people who should not have children won't. A lot of the narcissists out there get disappointed because it seems many believe they will have little Mini-Mes. DNA doesn't work that way. Perhaps some of us ACONs who remained child-free missed a bullet, in giving birth to someone who may have matched the rest of the family or had their tendencies. My DNA connection to my own family is dubious, but I had the thought, "What if I had a kid, and it got the personality of my mother?"
So while I am not technically child-free by choice, one can see the themes out there. Many young people are choosing not to have children because this society is not set up properly anymore for the nurturing of children. They are too broke and poor and can barely take care of themselves. Or if rich enough, they are made to work long hours with everything dedicated to the career. They know having children is very hard today. The money, time and stamina are short in supply even for the healthy and able. The relationships and marriages don't last long enough and in the land of throw-away people, things aren't as stable. Our world and society are growing harder, more cold and difficult to survive in. Having children is not as easy at it used to be and the narcissism is making for children to be treated like trophies, badly educated with negative character training where many people who are without children in society simply don't want to deal with them.
I even think of a bible verse when I think of today's child-free movement:
Luke 21:23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
The times have come now where people don't want children. Even as the churches idolize families and judge those without children, this is the reality. The growing narcissism of society has made having children much more difficult as well. So wonder there is even such a thing as the child-free movement.