Is it Taboo to be Childless? - boards.ie
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27-04-2012, 09:17   #1
Ayla
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Is it Taboo to be Childless?

Just came upon this article & thought it interesting:

http://www.slate.com/articles/double..._a_taboo_.html

Quote:
...do many of us secretly feel sorry for or condescend to or fail to understand women who don’t have children? Do we assume they are bravely harboring some deep disappointment, do we think they can’t possibly be happy with things as they are, that there is some brittleness, some emptiness at the center?...
And what about men? Do we look at men who have somehow not procreated as missing out? Probably not, or at least not on the same level. Thinking of men I know who have decided not to have children, there is often a belief that they are immature, Peter Pan-ish, and somehow clinging unnaturally to a freer state, an unseemly perpetual adolescence. The criticism of them is not that they are failures, as is the implicit judgment of women, or somehow unfulfilled or empty, but that they are not growing up....
I think on this as hear people asking couples "so, any kids yet?" or when when it's assumed that within 2 years of marriage kids will soon follow. Also, when a woman wants to get her tubes tied (or a man get a vasectomy), how many times does she have to fight against the assumption that everyone else has that she may not want kids now, but "just wait - you'll change your mind and you'll regret your decision." Like having kids is the natural and obvious choice, and not wanting kids is wrong.

I wonder if it will ever become socially acceptable to be childless by choice (or at least not automatically assumed that everyone would want kids)?

Last edited by Ayla; 27-04-2012 at 09:27.
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27-04-2012, 11:44   #2
ash23
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I'm slightly envious of childless couples in the same way that I am slightly envious of older couples who have grown up children. Just the freedom of it all. I don't assume that every childless couple I know wanted children.
I do know some couples who did and yes, I'm sad for them but only because I know it to be true.

I also know many childless men who are single and again the only ones I feel sorry for are the ones who I know would love to get married and have kids.

I try not to make assumptions but I guess people do assume everyone wants to procreate as the majority of people do.
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27-04-2012, 12:07   #3
Daffodil.d
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ash23 View Post
I'm slightly envious of childless couples in the same way that I am slightly envious of older couples who have grown up children. Just the freedom of it all. I don't assume that every childless couple I know wanted children.
I do know some couples who did and yes, I'm sad for them but only because I know it to be true.

I also know many childless men who are single and again the only ones I feel sorry for are the ones who I know would love to get married and have kids.

I try not to make assumptions but I guess people do assume everyone wants to procreate as the majority of people do.
I am slightly envious of childless couples too. However before I had my 2 kids I had trouble conceiving and felt sorry for anyone who didn't have kids and even went as far as not believing female friends who insisted they simply didn't have the mammy gene. I believe them now.
Now I look at the romance and freedom that childless couples have even older ones seem to have a deeper bond, maybe because they just have each other. Maybe that's not always the way either. I try not to judge. society has a rule book. You must get married at 30ish, you must have your 1st baby soon after and then a 2nd one and if you have 2 kids the same sex people insist you try for the boy/girl. When you don't follow what people expect of you they just can't get their heads around it. It's annoying really.
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27-04-2012, 21:29   #4
Daisy M
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I have never been envious of childless couples nor do I feel pity for people who by choice do not have any children. If you choose not to have children and are happy with that decision then you probably enjoy a really nice lifestyle with extra free time and more cash. However if you want children and cant have them I doubt for many people that anything can make up for it.

There is also the fact that a lot of people do change their mind and want children as they get older, it would be a terrible situation to be in if your partner wasnt in agreement or you had left it to late.
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27-04-2012, 21:30   #5
Tom Cruise
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Kids are hard work.But worth it.
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28-04-2012, 11:23   #6
Rosy Posy
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tbh what surprises me more is that the majority of people do have children. Especially people who don't seem to like them very much. Its such a lot of work and effort that I don't know how you could do it if you didn't already love babies and kids.
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28-04-2012, 21:56   #7
gabsdot40
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Speaking as a person who was not able to have children and went on to adopt I always just assume that everyone wants to have children. It was such a desperate desire for us and we were so unhappy without children. It's hard for me to understand people who don't want children.
Life is so much better now with kids.
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29-04-2012, 18:00   #8
ash23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosy Posy View Post
tbh what surprises me more is that the majority of people do have children. Especially people who don't seem to like them very much. Its such a lot of work and effort that I don't know how you could do it if you didn't already love babies and kids.

I'm not crazy about other peoples kids or babies in general. I like them and all but I wouldn't say that I love kids.
However I absolutely and utterly adore my own child.
To look at me with other peoples kids it couldn't be said I was a child friendly person. But my own child is my world.
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29-04-2012, 19:58   #9
CathyMoran
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I can understand people not wanting children just like I have always wanted children. Having said that I thought that I had given up my chance of having children over 5 years ago when I needed urgent chemo and am incredibly greatful for my son (2 and daughter 10 months).
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29-04-2012, 22:37   #10
Tim Robbins
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Taboo - ????

No way. Some people don't want kids and that's fair enough.

When I was young free and single, I thought people who were in relationships were boring. People who lived with their partners even more boring, people who were married more boring again and those with kids - mega boring.

Now that I am in the most boring category, I have no problem admitting this and I stan by it. It was a decision I wanted for me and am happy with. Each to his own.
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30-04-2012, 10:17   #11
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No taboo here. I have friends who are happy to stay childless, that is their right and I respect it. I can see why they feel that way, they can see why I wanted a family but know its not for them. And thats fine. I would hate to think of someone who knows they are not cut out for it being pressured into having a baby.
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30-04-2012, 11:47   #12
cynder
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I have 2 sister in laws who will never have kids, they are both in their 40s. One is married to a fella who has children her age and the other is in a long term relationship but will never have kids, she has been with the guy for 12 years and they dont even live together she has her place, he has his, she enjoys the single life of no responsibility.

I always wonder what its like for old people say 60+ who never had kids, if they find it lonesome.
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30-04-2012, 13:36   #13
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I dont know if it is actually taboo, but certainly myself and other couples I know have been openly judged with regard to our reproductive choices. Its a given that couples should want kids apparently and it seems to be ok for every auld biddy that knows you remotely to lecture you on what you should do with your uterus.

I found it insulting and aggravating because I was actually trying for pregnancy and all the "well, you'd better get a move on" or "you are not getting any younger" comments from virtual strangers really pissed me off. Similarly, another couple, married a few years now are getting plagued by that kind of crap. It's their business if, how or when they decide to have a family, or not at all. They are simply very content with their lives and have no plans to have children at this point in time. Yet they are looked at like they are somehow weirdos for not wanting children. :confused:Then there are others who have to sit through judgemental crap having suffered loss after loss.

When we initally encountered difficulties, I knew that it was possible we would never be parents. I knew that certain circumstances would probably rule out adoption for us. But I also knew that my partner and I are a family already, and if we never had children we would still be a little family of two.

I dont judge people or tell them how to live their lives, unless they ask me - I expect the same in return. And after my experience, I have no patience with people who thrust their opinion of what you should or should not do with your reproductive organs on anyone.

I have friends who are utterly content in their choice to never parent, and I fully respect and support them, some have reasons for that choice, some dont have reasons, they just are perfectly happy the way they are. Just like I fully respect and support the friends who are trying desperatly to start their family.

I know as soon as I have this one, I'll hear the old "when are you going to give him/her a sibling, it'd be selfish not to.." etc. Well, they will get short shrift with me.
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01-05-2012, 15:56   #14
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I don't think it's a taboo subject. Everyone is entitled to their choices regardless of what other's think. I hate the way some people talk about couples who have been married a few years....and they say I heard they're having trouble conceiving....and when asked if they actually know this or not, the reply is, oh well I just assumed as they haven't had any yet that they must be having trouble.

I find a lot of this comes from the older generation. When I got together with my OH people told me that I was stupid because he was much older and didn't want children. I found this very hurt as actually I knew he would be happy to have children with me....now we are expecting our first

My mum is mad for me to get pregnant as soon as I have this one. She doesn't seem to understand that I want to get settled with the first baby and my OH!!!
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02-05-2012, 21:14   #15
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Gah - I hate the attitude some people have sometimes.

When my friend got married a few years ago, I knew she and her husband never wanted kids and TBH, I didn't care, it never occurred to me that it was any of my business. She brought it up with me, I never asked.

She openly told me that from the day she got married she was plagued with people pretty much demanding she started trying for a baby - a friend of hers even handed her her baby and announced "oh, look at your husbands face - how could you do that to him, he wants to be a daddy!"

This was a girl in her early 30's - I'd nearly understand an elderly person doing it - disgusting behaviour.

My friend warned me when I got engaged that it would happen to me too - and I didn't believe her that it was as bad as she said. I just assumed the other girl who tried to guilt her was a once off lunatic!

Now, We actually do want kids - but we can't afford to at the moment. So we made the decision to hold off until (or if) we were a bit more stable financially.

I have to say FROM THE VERY DAY we came back from our honeymoon we have been plagued by random people, grandparents and neighbours about when are we starting. It's gotten ridiculous.

1) People have announced to others that we are pregnant and sent over gifts.

2) A friend of ours not only demanded we start trying and were foolish to hold off - she demanded that we were selfish to plan on having only the one child!

3) Our neighbour actually gave out to us - I mean like we were bold kiddies - that we need to get a move on and that we were selfish - SELFISH - for leaving it so late! (I'm 30 - very old )

4) My mother drags me into mother care every chance she gets.

5) My mother in law has a wardrobe full of stuff ready for our babys arrival and shows it to us every time we visit.

6) Another friend actually sits sadly rubbing her big pregnant belly and says how sad it is that her baby won't have a friend to play with...then she sighs.

7) I can't say I'm feeling sick or tired without someone in my family producing a pregnancy test and telling me to just check, just in case!

It's unbelievable how insensitive people are when it comes to people and their demands on others reproductive cycles! It's insane pressure to be putting on anyone - for all my friends and family know I could be trying and having losses or problems. They don't know what we are or aren't going through.

I wish they'd just leave me alone.
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