Grilling the Childfree: What If the Tables Were Turned?
The childfree often get asked some amazing questions or comments from others. Blogger BritGirl recently lists some popular ones:
“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?
Many, if not all of these kinds of questions and comments can be galling, insulting and very personal questions. But somehow people think they are ok to ask anyway.
What would the corollary be like? How would parents feel if people asked them questions like:
Why do you want kids?
Why did you have kids?
Why did you have another kid?
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?
When you have your kid do , aren’t you trying to live your own unfulfilled life through him?
Isn’t it selfish that you expect your children to make you a grandparent one day?
What’s behind the kind of questions the childfree are asked? An assumption that everyone should want kids, and that parenthood is “the” path to true fulfillment in life. These assumptions need to be challenged. 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 rightly be seen for both sides as – in a word—inappropriate!